Pioli refuses to rule out Ibrahimovic from start; expects Atalanta healing to start tomorrow

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli spoke at the usual press conference at Milanello this afternoon (via MilanNews.it). As you would expect, there were a lot of questions about Zlatan Ibrahimovic. 

Milan will be looking to put memories of the 5-0 thrashing they received against Atalanta in Bergamo firmly in the background and build on the good signs that were seen prior to that game.

If results go the Rossoneri’s way they could find themselves in eighth place at the end of the round ahead of what is a very important second half of the season.

Pioli will of course have Zlatan Ibrahimovic at his disposal, with the media speculating at the moment that he will get the nod over Krzysztof Piatek to start against Samp.

Meanwhile, there were three exclusions from the squad for Monday’s game as Ante Rebic, Ricardo Rodriguez and Fabio Borini were all left out – with all three interestingly linked with exits this month.

Pioli spoke to reporters at Casa Milan ahead of the game – for which over 60,000 fans are expected – and his words were transcribed by MilanNews.it.

“It’s time to change our direction, we need to claim more points. We have 21 games to change our situation and we have to start in the best way tomorrow.

“I expect a lot of determination, a great desire to overturn the last performance. It has been the only absolutely negative performance since I arrived. It’s a wound that continues to bleed, we can start to heal by winning tomorrow.

“Zlatan? He has presented himself well in the first days of work with the team. He’s very attentive and curious. He must understand the dynamics, his new teammates and his new manager.

“His arrival has changed the environment, it’s evident. You can feel it here at Milanello as well as outside of it. Ibra isn’t just any player, he isn’t just a personality, I’m really enjoying it.

“I knew him as an opponent, he’s a fantastic professional, even today he was the last player to leave Milanello. From start tomorrow? If he’s called up, it means he’s available and will have the opportunity to play.

“Tactical changes with Ibra? It’s all under development, we have to move well on the pitch, understand situations. We have the characteristics, qualities and roles that can change. I have never been fixated on a game system.

“The market? We have clear ideas about situations that can improve the team, the club has made its availability clear if there is a chance to improve the squad,” he concluded.

READ MORE: Pioli names 23-man squad for Sampdoria – Three players left out amid exit links

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