Pioli discusses injury problems, aims for 2023 and returning after a long break

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has revealed that Mike Maignan will not be back in the short term as he discussed the club’s injury issues.

Milan get their Serie A campaign back up and running tomorrow as they face off against Salernitana at the Stadio Arechi at 12:30 CET, hoping to begin 2023 with a win and begin the mission to catch Napoli up.

The break for the World Cup stopped the season almost halfway through, but now it will get back underway with the Rossoneri still battling an injury crisis of sorts given that Mike Maignan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alessandro Florenzi have been joined by Ante Rebic, Divock Origi, Rade Krunic and Fode Ballo-Toure in the treatment room.

Nonetheless, three points is the target and Pioli spoke to the reporters who gathered at Milanello for the pre-match press conference, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.

The second part of this season begins…

“Starting tomorrow we’ll touch it first hand. We’re all in an anomalous situation because the break was long. We only played a bit of the first part, there are many games to go. We have to start tomorrow in the best possible way, we have to start again with the same desire and determination. Many points will be needed to be competitive.”

How’s the team doing?

“There’s a great desire to play tomorrow, I saw it in my players. We’ve recovered important players, unfortunately we’ve had some injuries. Next week we’ll recover some. Finally we’re back to playing. In these friendlies we focused on tactical things and We want to continue our journey on these.”

How are Theo and Giroud?

“I found them well mentally and physically. There is disappointment after losing the final, but they came back well. They are available.”

How is the team physically?

“The team is doing well physically and mentally. We will play many games, but that goes for everyone. We are doing well physically and mentally. I know the physical key is pressing a lot, but it’s the quality and the mental attitude that makes the difference and that’s where we we want to make a difference.”

How hungry is the team?

“To try and win the title, we need many points, probably more than 85. We must win many games. We must not go too far with our thoughts, let’s just think about tomorrow’s match. We will find facing a tough opponent, but we want to restart our journey well.”

What did you say to Theo and Giroud after the defeat in the final?

“We spoke after the final and also in the days after. I congratulated them. They are happy to be back here, this is important.”

When will Maignan return?

“At the moment we don’t know. The evaluations tell us that it is not yet possible to push. So I don’t know the timing, certainly not in the short term.”

How hungry are you?

“We have four competitions, we want to win something. I repeat it to the team, even though I know there’s no need. We want to stay in Milan’s history and to do that we have to keep winning. If we want to be a winning team, we have to try to win even this year. We are very hungry. We have to win more titles.” 

Why have there been all these injuries?

“I’m responsible because I’m in charge of everything that happens here at Milanello. We’re working to reduce the number of injured players.”

What is Adli missing?

“He raised his level, this was also the goal of the friendlies. He did good things, others were less good, he has to grow, but I rely heavily on him. There is great competition in his role, in every match I will make the my choices.”

What went wrong with Maignan’s recovery?

“I don’t care what they say in France. The seam is not in place yet and therefore we can’t risk it.”

Have the hierarchies in the goalkeeping department changed?

“In friendlies I gave more minutes to those who had played less. Tatarusanu will play tomorrow and he has all my confidence.”

What are the forward alternatives to Giroud?

“Oli is fine. Then we have alternatives like Lazetic and De Ketelaere”. 

Will there be a reinforcement in attack?

“It shouldn’t be long injuries. If there are opportunities to strengthen the squad, the club won’t be caught unprepared.”

Is Inter-Napoli decisive?

“I don’t think it will be decisive, there are still too many games left. We mustn’t think about the other games, let’s focus only on ourselves.” 

What kind of a game will it be tomorrow?

“We will face the match decisively. They are a team that has put all the teams in difficulty, they have 9 points more than last year. But I trust my players and I think we will play a good game.”

Do you have more stimuli or unknowns for tomorrow?

“We have great incentives for tomorrow. There are pitfalls in all matches, but we prepared well.”

What are you hoping for in 2023?

“We have to raise our level more and more. I’m sure we still have ample room for growth. We’re working well, we must have the will to win every day. If we give our best every day we can raise our level.” 

What will the post-World Cup recovery look like?

“All the teams haven’t played for 50 days. There have been friendlies, but the official matches are something else. I’m looking at the leagues that have already resumed. There are pitfalls for everyone. We’re finally back to playing too.”

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli
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