Pioli ‘sure’ Milan will sign defender; addresses formation change, Kessie and Paqueta rumours

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has spoken out about a possible system change as well as a number of transfer rumours ahead of Saturday’s game.

The Rossoneri face the trip this weekend to a historically happy hunting ground to face Cagliari this weekend, who are currently sat in the final European spot, seven points ahead at present.

Milan have lost just once in their last 31 competitive games against Cagliari, and will be looking to put the frustrations of Monday’s goalless draw against Sampdoria behind them.

Pioli has called up 22 players for the game at the Sardegna Arena with no shock absentees, while a number of outlets are predicting that he will use a 4-4-2 formation with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Rafael Leao up front.

Pioli faced the media at Casa Milan ahead of the game, and his comments were transcribed by MilanNews.it.

“It has been an important week. We have to turn the game volume into quality. Ibra has been working all week, he’s fine, he’s loaded,” he said.

“I don’t think he has a full game in his legs, then it’s up to me to decide whether to start him from the beginning or not. I have seen him well this week, but he hasn’t played for a while so it’s normal that he doesn’t have 90 minutes in his legs.”

Earlier in the week Ibra was described by Leao as a big brother, and Pioli believes their relationship can flourish.

“From the great champions he can learn many things. Leao is not yet a complete player and having someone like Ibra by his side will help him grow more.

“Two strikers? We tried several things. The two strikers is a possibility. If I change the plan for tomorrow it is to be more efficient.

“We are testing our new solutions based on our players, we have the characteristics to implement many formations. We must return to winning ways and we must improve our position in the league.

“A new formation doesn’t mean that players will be left out: they have to adapt to the new formation.”

On opponent Cagliari: “They are having a great season. We know their characteristics well, we will have to be careful. We will have to be proactive.”

“Cagliari are doing very well, despite the last defeats. We must think only of ourselves and go back to winning.”

Pioli was asked about mercato rumours, including speculation that midfield duo Franck Kessie and Lucas Paqueta could leave.

“We have to live with the transfer market but given our current position everyone has to be fully focused on games. Piatek is called up and will be available for tomorrow.

“Kessie? I know what you trying to get out of me but a coach has to make decisions. If a player doesn’t play in one game that doesn’t mean he won’t be part of the project. Paqueta? I am making other decisions at the moment.

“As far as what I’ve seen the players are fully focused and dedicated. We cannot afford be distracted by any rumours.

I have always believed when things aren’t going your way you need to find a solution.

“We have three central defenders with Gabbia who has great potential and I am sure a new defender will arrive.”

Tags AC Milan Franck Kessie Lucas Paqueta Stefano Pioli Zlatan Ibrahimovic
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