Pioli hints at rotation against Red Star as he proclaims: “A very demanding period is starting”

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has seemingly confirmed that he will rotate some players for tomorrow night’s Europa League Round of 32 first leg against Red Star.

The Rossoneri will travel to Belgrade looking to put Saturday’s defeat behind them as they were unceremoniously beaten by Spezia, failing to register even a single shot on target as they fell to a 2-0 defeat.

The team need to regain some confidence ahead of Sunday’s crucial derby against Inter, and the first leg against Red Star promises to be a great test in that sense given how dominant the home side have been domestically.

Pioli spoke to Sky Italia in view of tomorrow’s trip to the Serbian capital, with his words transcribed by MilanNews and translated below.

On the Europa League: “Let’s go back to an area where AC Milan have often excelled. It was a long way to get here, we want to be a surprise in this competition too.”

On rotation: “A very demanding period is starting. In the next 18 days we will certainly play six matches. It will be important to dose our energies well, luckily I have almost the whole group available. I will choose a competitive team for tomorrow evening, then we will think about the derby.”

On Mandzukic: “Mario is very well. I think he can start from the beginning tomorrow night.”

On who could rest: “Ours is a particular and demanding season. We played the preliminaries and also many injuries, so some players had to play often. Now I will make my assessments. It is a tie that will last 180 minutes but it would be a good important start.”

On Spezia: “We have to start again. We didn’t play like Milan and this can be a positive aspect because if we lost playing like Milan we would be here to make different assessments. We have to go back to playing like Milan. It doesn’t matter what we have done so far, but that what we will do from now on.”

Tuttosport this morning have predicted the line-up with which Milan will face the Red Star, and confirmed the 4-2-3-1 therefore dismissing any chance of a possible two-striker formation.


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Tags AC Milan Mario Mandzukic Red Star Milan Stefano Pioli