Pioli previews Sassuolo clash, confirms Maignan ‘is back’ and rules out Tomori

By Isak Möller -

On the eve of the clash between AC Milan and Sassuolo, Stefano Pioli answered the questions of the media. The manager signed his new contract yesterday so it will be a special game tomorrow, that’s for sure. 

Milan will have several key players back tomorrow, such as Mike Maignan and Fikayo Tomori, but also Rafael Leao who was rested mid-week. It will be an important game, not just for this, but also to bounce back from the defeat to Fiorentina.

The Rossoneri certainly have the confidence to succeed as they managed to beat Atletico Madrid away from home on Wednesday. Speaking at the usual press conference, as cited by MilanNews, Pioli shared his thoughts on the situation.

On Messias…

“Messias has shown you his qualities in one sequence, but he’s showing it to me in all the training sessions, that he has quality. It’s a good story but not a fairy tale, he’s here because he has the qualities to stay here, he will give us satisfaction. Today I have had the team review the goal because it’s important to manage the balls well and then fill the area, he did it very well.”

On Maignan…

“He’s fine, he started working with the team on Saturday. He’s ready, he accelerated a lot because he has a great mentality. He’ll play tomorrow. Tatarusanu did well and I’m happy with him but Mike is back from tomorrow. Tomori is getting better but he’s not ready for tomorrow, he should be called up for next Wednesday.”

On Leao…

“Leao is fine, he had not yet recovered from the cramps in Florence but tomorrow he’s ready to play.”

After the match in Madrid…

“The mid-table teams, after a great match, are satisfied. They face the next match with superficiality. The big teams, on the other hand, take advantage of the positive moment to do even better.”

Which is better, CR7 or Calhanoglu against Italy?

“I cheer for Italy, they have all the qualities to get to the World Cup. We all have to cheer on Italy. Italy will play to win because they have the right values, we will cheer for them.”

The goals of the club…

“We have the same goals, the same ambitions. We want to bring Milan back to the competitions the club deserves, to compete for the Scudetto and return to the top in Europe. It’s a growth process that will continue with good prospective players.”

On the mistakes…

“The team has always shown great balance, we know that we made mistakes in Florence. In my opinion, on Wednesday, we did one thing well: we played simple and we didn’t miss easy passes. Tomorrow will be another match in which the easy passes will have to be done with simplicity and continuity. We will have to put in a high-level performance to win.”

On Pellegri…

“He’ll be ready, physically he’s fine and he has always trained. He had a few ailments but got over it. He’s an intelligent guy, when the time comes he’ll be ready.”

On Bakayoko…

“He is definitely better, he had difficulties at the beginning because he arrived with a less than optimal condition. He has verticality, physicality, he’s strong. It’s clear that in the midfield I can choose easily, I have great players. From here to January there are still many matches left, then we will also be ready to face the emergency in January.”

On Rebic…

“As the tests progress, we will have a more precise timing. Ante is important, but it’s important to have balance, clear ideas and know how to exploit the different characteristics of the players.”

On the future…

“I think what we have done so far has been to lay the foundations. Now we have to try to raise the level and become even more competitive. What I like is the harmony with the club, managers, players and the environment. It allows us to always give our best.”

On new young colleagues like Dionisi…

“They are proving to have clear ideas, they have already won in the minor leagues: if you win you have values. Young people are always there pushing and we must remain attached to the desire to improve and have curiosity, there is always a way to improve.”

On Saelemaekers as a left-winger…

“Having very flexible players gives us many solutions. Five subs have changed things. Now you don’t only need a plan A but also a plan B and a plan C. Now you can change characteristics, positions to put opponents in difficulty.”

Will duels be fundamental tomorrow?

“Whoever wins the most duels, in the end, has the best chance of winning the game. Attention and intensity make the difference.”

How do you beat a Dionysian team?

“Trying to be a compact, fast and precise team from a technical point of view.”

The game tomorrow is scheduled for 15:00 CET and as said, it should be a great game to watch. The San Siro will be sold out and a win would really do Milan well in the Scudetto race.

READ MORE: Sassuolo handed boost for Milan clash as key player’s ban has been overturned

Tags AC Milan Sassuolo Stefano Pioli
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