AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has explained his decision to start Olivier Giroud up front against Atletico Madrid, which he believes provides a ‘great opportunity’ for his side.
Tonight Milan must beat Atletico Madrid if they want to keep alive their very slim hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League, but it is a win that would serve a double purpose for Pioli’s men.
Not only would it keep the team in the competition provided Liverpool perform a favour against Porto, but it would also help to avenge the defeat in the first meeting at San Siro against the Spaniards, which came after some controversial refereeing decisions.
Pioli spoke to Amazon Prime Video before the game at the Wanda Metropolitano, with his comments relayed by MilanNews, and he insisted that his side must see the game as a chance to show what they can do and how much they have learned.
“It is a great opportunity to demonstrate our growth and that the experiences, even if not positive, made up to now have made us grow. enough to match a very strong rival,” he said.
Why is Giroud playing and not Ibrahimovic?
“Olivier plays because he is very well, in Florence he didn’t play that much. Zlatan will be able to give us a hand during the match: he is an important player, but he must be managed.”
How will Milan make up for the absences in defence?
“We go further with work and team play. The defenders are facilitated by the work without the ball of the other departments: if we work with the right attention our defenders will have fewer balls to manage.”