Pioli says ‘tight schedule doesn’t help’ with injuries and Chelsea will be ‘a very difficult match’

By Euan Burns -

AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli has hit out at the tight schedule that his team are following and the way that affects the build-up of injuries ahead of the Champions League match against Chelsea.

Speaking during his press conference the night before the game at Stamford Bridge (via Milan News), the coach lamented the sheer number of games that Milan and other teams have to play in such a short period of time and how that can bring injuries.

“Injuries can happen, the tight schedule doesn’t help. I am accompanied by capable professionals who will help us find solutions,” Pioli said.

“I ask the team to play with our qualities and to give our best. I’m sure the team will try.”

Speaking more specifically about the match against Chelsea, he feels that it could be a very attacking game given the nature of the two sides. Chelsea are under new management in Graham Potter but he is certainly set to make them an attacking side.

“There will be two teams that prefer offensive football and try to command the game. A difficult match, the quality of the opponents is high,” Pioli said.

A player that Pioli was asked about was Ismael Bennacer who is rumoured to be the captain for the Champions League clash. Pioli praised his leadership skills without confirming for sure that he is captain.

“There are different types of leaders, Isma is a technical leader and he is a leader because of the example he has set: he trains and participates 100% every day. He is definitely a leader of this team.”

Speaking specifically about Potter and his move to Chelsea, Pioliadmitted that he followed his time at Brighton and Hove Albion closely and he is intrigued by the two shapes he has already used.

“I know Potter because last year Brighton played well and I followed him. He makes the team play well and plays offensive football.

“In the two games with Chelsea he changed formations, going from a three-man defence to a four-man defence. This is a bit strange for an incoming coach, but he is like that. We know Chelsea well, that allowed us to work a lot more on ourselves, but we also prepared something on them.”

On Chelsea and their momentum

“Besides the current table, we have a very difficult game ahead of us. They will have a strong approach, with all the qualities they have. We have to be prepared, I think my team has the qualities to put such a strong opponent in trouble.”

Is this a test of maturity?

“I believe that by now this group has shown that it is mature and aware, but every match and especially a big challenge like this one allows you to understand where you have got to and to grow.”

On the gap with English football

“The pitch determines performances and results. Chelsea won the Champions League not long ago, they strengthened their team by spending a lot: the level is very high. We want to try to play at their level and put them in difficulty.”

How far away are you from Milan becoming Champions League winners again

“I think the team is growing a lot and we have to use this experience to continue growing. Step by step we have to grow to reach the level of those 5-6 top European clubs.”

On Milan relying heavily on young players

“I believe that the club has made very specific choices, to build a team with a lot of youngsters and mix it with more mature, and experienced players. I think it’s the best mix. With young people you need patience and time to grow. Having teammates like Olivier [Giroud], [Simon] Kjaer, Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] is a great support: we are talking about young people who are already ready for these important challenges.”



Tags AC Milan Champions League Chelsea Graham Potter Ismaël Bennacer Stefano Pioli


    1. Oh shut up please. Yes, they did not sign him, but only because he plays the same position as Leao which is arguably the position we would need to strengthen the least. Can we stop being so sentimental about everything?

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