Pioli reveals Milan could be without four star players for game against ‘problematic’ Sassuolo

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has revealed that four key players must be assessed tomorrow morning and could miss the game against Sassuolo.

The Rossoneri managed to stop their run of games at home without a win at four on Sunday as they emerged 2-1 victors against Genoa at San Siro, however the battle for a top four spot rages on and they must follow it up with a good performance and a win against the Neroverdi on Wednesday evening.

Pioli spoke at his pre-match press conference at Milanello this afternoon and discussed a wide range of topics, with his comments transcribed by MilanNews and translated below.

After dispelling the San Siro taboo, will you be able to play more relaxed at home?

“Tranquillity is not a term that must belong to us. We have to stay focused, we come from a win, but tomorrow we face an opponent other than Genoa. Sassuolo prepares well for these matches, we will have to be ready to field a performance that is up to par.”

What do you think of the Super League?

“The club asked me to think only about work and our target. Then we will evaluate what will happen in the future, this is not the time to think about anything else.”

How are Ibra and Bennacer?

“For tomorrow we have some problems, tomorrow morning we will understand better. Ibra, Theo, Calhanoglu and Bennacer have had some difficulties in training, but we will evaluate them better tomorrow morning.”

There have been some criticisms about the physical condition of his team. Is there this problem?

“No. We were wrong from a technical point of view, when you don’t close games then risk. Tomorrow it will be a different game, between two teams who like to attack. There will be more space. Sassuolo have been problematic for everyone.”

What kind of a game will it be tomorrow?

“In Italian football no one gives you anything. Sassuolo will have prepared themselves in the best possible way, they also had an extra day of rest, but this is the calendar.”

How did you feel about Mandzukic’s performance on Sunday? 

“He did well when he came in, he made his presence felt. He doesn’t have a full game yet, but I really believe in him. He will give us an important contribution.”

Can Romagnoli play starter tomorrow?

“He has done a lot in our path, he has had a physiological decline. He is not yet at 100%, but soon he will be.”

Is Donnarumma’s mistake against Genoa a product of the renewal issue?

“I see him calm and focused. There is a small mistake from time to time, but let’s not forget all the good things he did this season. Here we only think about tomorrow’s game and reaching our goal.

“To date we have the same points as at the end of last year, we played many games in Europe too, so the team’s growth is evident. We just have to think about doing our best from now to the end.”

Are you working on goals conceded a little too easily?

“Genoa did not put us under pressure until the end. We control the game, but every now and then we give the idea of ​​being able to lose it. On this we must grow, we must not give our opponents to return to the game.”

What will Hauge’s future be?

“This is not the time to talk about the future. I am happy with Jens, we are a great club and therefore there is great competition.”

Are you satisfied with Tonali?

“He is doing well, but he can do more. The jump he made was important, he needed time to adapt to a new module. But he is doing well, he could play tomorrow.” 

What problems did the injured players sustain?

“Bennacer and Calha got bruises on their ankles in the last game, Ibra and Theo instead have muscle fatigue. Let’s see if they will recover.”

How do you explain the different performance at home and away?

“At home there was no lack of performances, there was a lack of quality in the last few games. In the last few home games we went ahead too few times, this was a weak point.”

What do you mean by improving match control?

“We have to better control the games and manage the moments better. We are a team that likes to play with intensity, but on some occasions we have to learn to better manage the rhythm of the games. We have to grow on this.” 

Did you like the double save of Kjaer and Tomori?

“These are important situations for reaching a result. You must always defend the goal as much as possible.”  

Do you have better management of the races?

“We need to be more clinical. Against Genoa we missed some chances in the final third.”

Ibra and Mandzukic together?

“Anything is possible, we are preparing to try to exploit the opponents’ weak points. The most important thing is that the boys are well, the more choice I have, the better.”

Are you satisfied that you already have 66 points in the standings?

“It is a good result to have 66 points at the moment, but then the balance is at the end. We have to stay focused on the next matches, starting with tomorrow’s match.” 

READ MORE: Start date outlined, over €7.7bn of debt and threats of withdrawal – latest on the Super League

Tags AC Milan Milan-Sassuolo Stefano Pioli
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