Pioli expects ‘excellent’ season finale and confirms Ibrahimovic will start vs. Fiorentina

By Isak Möller -

On the eve of the clash between Fiorentina and Milan, Stefano Pioli spoke to the media at the usual press conference. It’s clear that the Rossoneri need a win to re-energise themselves and regain some form in the top-four race. 

The Milan players are understandably upset with the elimination from Europa League, having come so close to beating Man Utd. They squandered their chances and made a fatal mistake at the back, which can’t happen again.

Pioli was asked about the defeat and tomorrow’s encounter with Fiorentina, as cited by MilanNews. which will be very important for the team. A win would help them a lot, not just in terms of the standings, but also confidence-wise.

Milan against United displayed an evolved game, without excuses, is it the real asset of this season?

“It was a strong disappointment but we came out of this elimination even more aware of our qualities and that at certain levels the details make the difference. In the penalty area, we were a little less qualitative than we could have been.”

Fiorentina tomorrow…

“In Florence, I lived a lot as a player and coach, then what happened with Davide’s tragedy, these are things that leave their mark on you, it will never be a normal game. Florence and Fiorentina are more than an opponent. Last year I received a welcome that filled me with joy. Tomorrow it will be a difficult game but we have the qualities to do well.”

Will Ibra start tomorrow?

“Zlatan took advantage of Thursday’s minutes, tomorrow he will start. We don’t know if he will have 90 minutes but his presence is important, he will give us a lot.”

How do you rate Zlatan’s post-match words on Thursday…

“I liked Zlatan’s words very much. He could not say anything else. We have to aim for the maximum, there are 11 games to go, we are there in full battle and we must try to win them all, playing to the maximum every race. Probably tomorrow will be the most complicated race, both due to the skill of the opponents and because we have come from an expensive period but we don’t care. After the break, I’m sure we’ll be strong.”

What happened to Calhanoglu?

“COVID and the injuries prevent you from being brilliant, Calha is an important player, he is trying to find the best psychophysical situation, he will do it soon and will be decisive again.”

Where would Milan be without injuries?

“These are the seasons, we knew it would be a busy season. Up to now, we were the team that had played the most. I feel that the team has overcome the delicate moment, the last performances have been from a strong team. I expect an excellent season finale from my team.”

What explanation do you have for the physical problems?

“There have been too man. In some cases, something has escaped us and it will not happen again. The history of a player is also important, we are working on it because we are not satisfied with these numbers. We have to work better and hope that the situation can improve. We have recovered Zlatan and Bennacer, I hope that the break will give us some more players.”

How’s Bennacer doing?

“Bennacer is better, it is the first week in which he has worked at a high pace, I don’t think he will play tomorrow from start but he can be useful. Attacking midfielder? He can do it too, the important thing is that he is well because he has important characteristics.”

Vlahovic is improving a lot…

“He has grown very well, I have always appreciated his will, he is an incredible worker, when you train like this you are destined to improve. He is an excellent centre-forward but he is young and I would be careful with comparisons. I hope he continues to do well, from the next round.”

How do you rate the Dalot season?

“He has characteristics similar to Theo, he has also grown in the defensive phase, he will become a complete player. Us managers really like to have flexible players, then at a certain moment it would be useful to give him a definitive position to make him more aware of the situations on the pitch.”

Do you expect a reaction after elimination?

“We are sorry to have gone out but I saw the players attentive and tomorrow we will have to react like a great team.”

Are you worried about the call-ups to the national teams?

“We are proud when our players are called up for the national team. We also have confidence in the various staff, I hope they play well.”

Were you surprised by United’s carefree attitude?

“These clubs are not carefree, they have faith in their playing principles. It is a necessary step to become a winning team. You have to believe in quality and in the way of doing football.”

How far away to get the best Calhanoglu?

“I hope little, the problems he had made him lose a bit of pace. Thursday’s game was more lively, I hope he can show his qualities by tomorrow.”

The game is scheduled for 18:00 CET and given that it’s away from home, Milan might have a better chance as they have done very well on the road this season. A good performance would be nice, but three points is all that matters.

READ MORE: Pioli could field Hauge to switch things up for Fiorentina vs. Milan

Tags AC Milan Fiorentina Stefano Pioli