On the eve of the clash between AC Milan and Hellas Verona, Stefano Pioli spoke to the media at his usual press conference. Among other things, he spoke about the important role of Rafael Leao in the team.
The Rossoneri will be looking to get back to winning ways after the draw against Newcastle, hoping to be a lot more clinical in front of goal. And given the hectic schedule, some rotation is expected in the starting XI.
Speaking at the press conference, as cited by MilanNews, Pioli shared his thoughts on the upcoming game and the signs from the recent clashes. He was also asked about Leao, who has received some criticism in recent days.
Could winning tomorrow be the turning point?
“Winning is always important, especially for us who are coming from a defeat in the league. There are no easy games, there is only the desire to interpret them well with quality.”
Could there be any changes tomorrow?
“I’m thinking about making the right choices to win the match. All the players are fighting for it. There will be the starting 11, then there will be the substitutions. Maximum availability of the players is important, there will be room for everyone.”
How is the team now?
“We’re fine, we’re convinced of what we’re doing and we’re convinced we’ll play the right game tomorrow.”
An opportunity to seize tomorrow?
“Absolutely yes. For us there is only Verona: they are an intense, aggressive team and we are prepared for this. It is important to get three points again.”
How is Giroud?
“He’s very well, but obviously he needs to be managed. He doesn’t have any physical problems, he’s in excellent condition, then we’ll see what choices I’ll make.”
How are the signings doing?
“The opinion is positive. They are quality guys and very helpful. The settling-in period is over because we are playing a lot. Obviously, it will still take some time, but they are settling in well. They are already ready to make their contribution.”
What does the match against Newcastle leave you with?
“We played five official matches, there were positive things, in others we need to grow and improve.”
Thoughts on Jovic?
“Luka had a difficult summer, he played little, he lacks a bit of rhythm, but he’s fine. He can’t get a lot of playing time, but he will grow. He knows how to play football, he can give us some satisfaction.”
There has been a lot of talk about Leao in the last few days…
“Leao is making an important journey and is doing everything to transform himself into a champion. He needs to manage some game situations better. It’s clear that his responsibilities are increasing, but he is becoming more mature. We shouldn’t give too much responsibility to a single player.”
Do you have an idea of the rotation for the next matches?
“There’s certainly an idea of spreading the energy, then it’s clear that it’s the matches and the conditions of the players that tell you what to do. We move forward with a strategy, but after each match, the strategy may change.”
What should Leao do to grow?
“Leao must continue like this. To become a champion he must know how to manage situations. He is making important steps.”
Can Reijnders replace Krunic in front of the defence?
“He could play in that position, as could Adli. We’ll see when it’s necessary. We’re not dependent on a single player, but on team play.”
Can Florenzi play tomorrow?
“He’s a starter for Milan. He can play on the right or left, he’s important for us.”
How is Maignan?
“Maignan is better, he didn’t have any injuries, just some fatigue. Playing so much, being out for a week you can miss three games. We’ll see for how long he’s out, but it shouldn’t be long.”
Thoughts on Chukwueze?
“We want him to be very open, he needs time to find the right mechanisms. I’m satisfied with his performance.”
How is Kalulu?
“He had a small injury, so he won’t be there for the next three games.”
What do you expect from Verona?
“We don’t know if Verona will stay defensive. We have to be very careful. Up until now, Verona have been aggressive, but we also expected other opponents to be aggressive, but then they played a different game. We have to have the intelligence to understand what solutions to adopt.”
Will there be something missing in the build-up with Sportiello?
“He knows our positions and game principles very well, he is ready to help us even in the build-up phase. As with Torino, the goalkeeper will probably have more time to set up tomorrow too.”
Tomorrow’s game is scheduled for 15:00 CEST and as said, there will be some changes to the XI as the schedule is very hectic. Hopefully, Milan will claim all three points in front of 70k fans at San Siro.