Pioli explains Rebic’s importance and previews Crotone clash: “We are a united team with an identity”

By Isak Möller -

On the eve of the clash between Milan and Crotone, which will kick off at 18:00 tomorrow, Stefano Pioli spoke to the media at the usual press conference this afternoon. Of course, the Rossoneri are eager to continue their good form. 

Pioli’s men secured an important win against Bologna in the league opener and followed that up with the 3-2 win against Bodo/Glimt. Although they conceded two goals in the latter game, the start has been promising as a whole.

The defensive situation, which is the result of a few injuries, must be improved and Pioli will have to rely on the directors for this. In the meantime, all he can do is work with the players that already are at his disposal.

Speaking at the press conference, as cited by MilanNews.it, the manager shared his thoughts on the current form and tomorrow’s game. He also commented on the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, to which he responded they are a united team.

Colombo was launched with serenity…

“It’s the right approach, you have to go out on the pitch with the awareness of being ready and with the right serenity.”

Calhanoglu made a difference …

“They are technical moves of the highest level, the assist was a very high-level action.”

What are the risks against Crotone?

“Crotone know how to play football, Stroppa is doing an excellent job, new players have arrived this week, they have good characteristics and must be respected. They know they will have to fight, we must prepare well.”

Will Colombo play again?

“He is a very mature guy, fits well into our work and our group. I try to field the best team.”

Can Rebic have a future as a No.9?

“Ante is a striker, for the balance we have found having him as a left-winger does more, cutting inside. I think he can do very well even as a striker, he is a strong player who gives us physicality and quantity, he can play both roles without taking away his potential.”

Who does Tonali best match with?

“Our four midfielders all work well together, I don’t see priorities, we need to have midfielders who know how to link the two phases of the game well. Sandro is young but intelligent and mature. He recently arrived, our mechanisms are different to those of Brescia, you have to give them time.

A very important week with three games ahead…

“I am very satisfied with what we are doing but 7 very important days await us, difficult games await us and we must play for Milan and register points. The qualifiers are very important. These are days to be lived with concentration and intensity. They are three very important games.”

Milan overcame the difficulty of Ibra’s absence …

“Difficulties are part of both the matches and the moments of the season, we must not be afraid of absences, we are a united team with an identity.”

Will Leao be there tomorrow?

“There is the possibility, he has only done 3/4 training sessions but he needs to be with us, even mentally. He will be with us, he is a young boy with great potential. He is available to play, let’s see if he can do it.”

Can Kessie also be a defender?

“I spoke with Franck, he gave me the availability. He is the only one in the squad who can fill that role there, I hope there is no urgency, but if there is he is ready.”

Calabria reacted to the criticism …

“Overcoming some difficulties is part of the growth path, we must be good at maintaining balance, being ready, Davide is doing it.”

Does the armband help Gigio?

“The captain’s armband makes him proud and it’s obvious, I think Gigio is growing in all situations, he’s mature, positive. Seeing him play for so many years makes some forget his age, but he’s growing further.”

Can Diaz be Calhanoglu’s deputy?

“It can be a good position for him, I think he can play in all three roles, he has good qualities, he’s an intelligent guy, ready, I think he’ll be useful in several positions.”

What are the things to improve?

“On Thursday we had to work more compactly without the ball, when we are short we have to be more organized and ready, these are situations that need to be improved. We work on the game played to grow.”

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Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli