Pioli discusses San Siro pitch and reiterates mercato strategy: “We will be ready”

By Isak Möller -

On the eve of the clash between AC Milan and Spezia, Stefano Pioli spoke to the media at the usual press conference. With a 100% record in 2022. the Rossoneri will be looking to continue on that path. 

Milan faced Genoa earlier this week in the Coppa Italia and although they won 3-1 in the end, the game was forced to extra-time. There are some things to improve, therefore, but also a lot of positives to highlight.

Speaking at the usual press conference this afternoon, as cited by MilanNews, Pioli shared his thoughts on the game tomorrow. He also spoke about the San Siro pitch, which has been heavily criticised lately amid many games played there.

Tomorrow the team will have to help the central pair Kalulu-Gabbia…

“Absolutely yes. We will have to play as a team. We face an opponent who has not conceded a goal in recent away matches, winning both against Napoli and Genoa. We will have to have clear ideas. Then the performances of the individuals are important, but the team enhances them in a certain way.”

Will the difficulties of the first half of Milan-Genoa be able to ‘wake up’ the team?

“It has to be like that. We have always shown that we are intelligent and responsible. We come from an approach that wasn’t suitable for a match and we know how important it will be to start with clarity and determination tomorrow.”

How soon will we see Rebic at his high levels?

“He has had quite important problems, it will take some time, especially for someone with his characteristics who goes through tears and strength. Ante has to exploit every single moment. I don’t think it will take long, but a little patience is needed.”

What is meant by ‘fair profile’ regarding a defensive signing?

“Ours is a shared strategy: we don’t want to change so much to change, but to have players who improve the squad in terms of quality, presence and depth. We don’t want to take a player just to say that we have bought a player.

“Kalulu-Gabbia are showing that they also are ready for important matches. If the right opportunity emerges the club will be ready, otherwise we will remain like this. Tomori got hurt, but I hope he will miss only 3-4 games.”

Is the left-hand side of Milan, Theo-Leao, the best in Europe?

“These are difficult comparisons. Let’s not forget Rebic, we are always very strong. Now the opponents know us better, so we always have to vary our positions. Theo is becoming more complete because he goes more inside the field and alternates with Leao and Rebic. They are still growing rapidly and can improve a lot: they are already at high levels, but they can still grow.”

The conditions of the San Siro pitch…

“In this period, for the climate, the pitch cannot be the best. I don’t think Fik’s injury is attributable to the pitch. There are so many games there is no time for an intervention. After the break, we hope to play on a cleaner pitch, to be faster. On the squad: we recovered two players and we lost two others.”

On injuries…

“I have great confidence. We will have some difficulties in terms of substitutions. The team has worked well and is doing well, both mentally and physically. Spezia are in great condition. We know our skills and qualities and we have to play with confidence.”

On Pellegri…

“He is certainly better, but I think he will be back after the break. He has quality, but he has had too little continuity in his work to show that.”

On Brahim…

“Milan can do without any player. It’s up to the players to maintain the hierarchy. If the performances drop, there is another player ready to take over. If you want to play for Milan and make it as a starter, you must be ready.”

On Tomori’s recovery…

“If it were up to him he would play tomorrow. The surgery usually takes four weeks, the times are those, we’ll see. The surgery went well, it’s the first time that he has had an injury like this. If it will be four weeks or more, or less, is too premature to tell.”

On Florenzi…

“It took some time because he had an injury. At first, I used him a little higher, but he feels better in the full-back role. He is very intelligent, from a technical point of view he is of high level. He is a very, very flexible player, applied and useful in both phases of the team’s game.”

Four of the last five goals conceded came from set-pieces…

“We are working on it, we need to improve with attention and communication.”

On Spezia game again…

“If we play our football well, we will win the game. They have some weaknesses and we must be good at exploiting this situation.”

Repairing a match in the locker room at half-time.

“The management of the interval is quite similar for me. I take advantage of the walk from the sidelines to the locker rooms to have clear ideas in mind. Then I give two minutes to the team and, then, after the confrontation with the video analysts, I give some tactical indications to improve the game.”

As if it wasn’t unusual enough that it’s on a Monday, tomorrow’s clash will kick off at 18.30 CET. Getting yet another three points and extending their winning run in the league would be a huge boost.

READ MORE: Ibrahimovic could leapfrog Ronaldo tomorrow – the record in sight

Tags AC Milan Spezia Stefano Pioli
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