Pioli explains selection choices and asks his side for ‘confidence, positivity and energy’

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has admitted that the changes he has made to his starting line-up to face Inter are tactical and physical choices.

Pioli has chosen to make three alterations to his side compared to the starting XI that drew with Lecce at the weekend as Simon Kjaer has come into the defence to partner Fikayo Tomori at Pierre Kalulu’s expense, Sandro Tonali returns to the midfield after serving a suspension and Junior Messias starts over Alexis Saelemaekers on the right.

Milan could do with a win to boost their spirits after a difficult start to 2023 in which they have won just one of their opening four games, including league draws against Roma and Lecce and a Coppa Italia exit to Torino.

Pioli spoke to SportMediaset before the game to explain his selection choices, with his comments relayed by MilanNews and translated below.

“We got there with concentration, attention and enthusiasm. It’s nice to be here. These are special matches: it’s already a derby and what’s more, it’s a final. The approach is very important, then what matters is playing 95 minutes with continuity, with confidence, positivity and energy,” he said.

Can it be a crossroads for the season?

“It’s a trophy, it will start soon and it will end soon. It’s not a crossroads, because then there’s the league and the Champions League that we want to experience as protagonists. The season will continue.”

Why Kjaer and Messias? Tactical or physical choice?

“Both things.”

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli


  1. Going on again mister… Milan must have playmaker like they did 15 years ago. Like pirlo or seedorf, already have charisma and skill. In the midfield, milan like fear to play the ball, fight for the ball. They always give to full back and kick the ball forward for 170cm diaz. Hehe…

    Milan must have 2 midfielder like bennacer, good keeping ball. Tonali ?? He only have good long pass and spirit. Luckyly hes italian like calabria. Brahim diaz not good enough for milan.

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