AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has admitted that he will be forced into a few changes for Tuesday’s Coppa Italia quarter-final against Torino.
The Rossoneri will be looking to make the semi-finals of the cup for the fourth time in five years when they take on Walter Mazzarri’s side at San Siro.
Tuttosport reported earlier on Monday that the Milan boss could make a number of alterations to the XI which won in Brescia on Friday night, including starting Ante Rebic and Krzysztof Piatek – heavily linked with an exit – starting up front together.
In addition, the paper claimed that Mateo Musacchio will come in for Simon Kjaer, while Hakan Calhanoglu should be benched in favour of Giacomo Bonaventura.
Pioli spoke to Milan TV about the game in place of the usual press conference in front of the media, and his words were transcribed by MilanNews.it.
“The team is doing well mentally following the victories, which help to find trust in our means. And they are also well physically, despite having had short rests. I have to evaluate well who has fully recovered to pick the best team possible,” he said.
“The turning point of the season must always be the next game. We must absolutely think like that, because the next game is always the most important. We must not lose energy on things that we cannot decide and determine.
“The team, in difficult moments, has been able to maintain attention and availability. We know and we want to continue improving. It is the work of a group. The results are positive, but we can be more masters of the game and effective in both phases of the game. There are still chances that the second phase of the season will be positive.”
Torino arrive on the back of a 7-0 defeat at home to Atalanta over the weekend, but that doesn’t influence Pioli’s thinking.
“A wounded Turin will arrive and will want to prove that they are the very good team they are. They had a heavy fall, but a misstep can happen to anyone. But we too must have the same determination to keep our positive period going.
“Donnarumma? The two phases of the game include all eleven players on the field. You cannot do the defensive phase with players who are watching and who are not working.
“Gigio is giving us a great hand, but we must make sure that he is not always made to work. I stand by becoming even more solid at the back because, in the last few races, we have given away too much.
“Rebic? He has returned from the Christmas break more motivated and determined. He was very good at being ready. Everyone must work to show their qualities when they are called into question.”
Over 30,000 fans are expected at San Siro, and a tribute will be made to Kobe Bryant after his tragic death on Sunday.
“Ours are fantastic fans. They never lacked their support and passion,” Pioli continued.
“It’s nice to play in front of them and we hope to get some good satisfactions together, also because they supported us in a not particularly simple moment.
“Kobe was one of the greatest basketball players in history, but he was also an icon. He always transmitted the happiness of doing his own sport accompanied by the utmost determination. He contained an impressive philosophy of life and sport. I am passionate about basketball and it was a shock. It is a pity that he left so early.”