Following the win against Rio Ave, which secured their spot in the Europa League group stage, Milan are gearing up to face Spezia at San Siro. As usual, Stefano Pioli spoke to the media at the press conference.
The Rossoneri got lucky on Thursday evening, equalising in the last seconds of extra-time to take the game to penalties. What followed was a stunning shootout as a whopping 24 penalties were needed to decide the outcome of the game.
Pioli was, of course, asked about the game and what he believes Milan can do better moving forward. It’s clear that the players are tired, due to the tight schedule, and this was something that the manager addressed, among other things.
What did you think about Thursday?
“It was a very important goal for us, we were controlling the race then it became difficult, we think about the present and inside the present, we try to build a positive future. It is from these situations that we come out more mature, we came out stronger and more ready,” he began (via MilanNews.it).
Is the team tired?
“We don’t stop if we are tired, our path is long, we will have to get used to it. I asked some players for an important effort, I will evaluate well today, from a mental and physical point of view it was a very expensive match. We have to get used to the rotations.”
Hauge on the pitch tomorrow?
“He could, we met him yesterday. Physically he is fine, he is probably better than us, it is equally true that he will have to understand some situations. He will be called up, then we will see.”
Tonali and Kessie?
“Sandro is not just a young prospect but a starter of Milan. I’ll see Franck today, he had a slight injury, he is one of those who pulled the cart a lot, we will see.”
Dalot will come…
“If he arrives we will talk about it. The centre-back position? We are doing a united job both on and off the pitch, there are still a few days left, then we will see.”
Why the choice of Maldini against Rio Ave?
“I thought I would not give points of reference to the two Rio Ave centre-backs, sometimes we did it well, others less so. For tomorrow we will see which features we need.”
Can Hauge also play right?
“I talked to him yesterday. He played mostly on the left, he did some games on the right, we will evaluate where to deploy him.”
What kind of player is he?
“He is a young man with good qualities, he gives us more solutions, he comes from a different league, there will be time to fit in, let’s give him time but he can give us some satisfaction.”
Castillejo appeared a little bit in trouble…
“He knows he has to recover in the best possible condition. When he does he will be able to give us an important contribution.”
Brahim Diaz has already been implemented…
“He gives us more solutions, he can improve in positioning himself between the lines and attacking the area.”
What pitfalls will Milan face tomorrow?
“All matches bring pitfalls, all must be faced with conviction. Spezia had a good first half with Sassuolo, they are a team that has changed 15/16 players compared to last year, they have kept their game ideas, they won on an important field, we will have to be more determined than them.”
Hopefully, the Rossoneri will bounce back (even though they win) with a good performance tomorrow evening. The game against Spezia will kick off at 18:00 and you can read about the expected starting lineup here.