Paolo Maldini assures Milan must not ‘seek excuses’ in their injury crisis in this Champions League showdown with Porto. ‘Stefano Pioli has given this squad some clear ideas.’
It kicks off at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT), you can follow all the build-up and action as it happens from that game and Inter vs. Sheriff on the LIVEBLOG.
The Rossoneri have lost both Champions League fixtures so far, albeit amid some bad luck and a great deal of controversy against Atletico Madrid.
“Clearly, the three points will matter more this evening, but it’s still not a knockout fixture. We need nine points to have a chance of going through and it’s still in our hands,” Maldini told Sport Mediaset.
The injury crisis is extraordinary, as Ante Rebic was also added to the absentee list, while Franck Kessie is suspended this evening.
“We mustn’t change our nature, no matter how many absences or the opponents we are facing. It’s not easy, but coach Pioli has given this squad some codes of conduct, some clear ideas. We mustn’t give alibis to those who do run onto the pitch, because they are all great players.
“Seeking excuses before a game is practically preparing yourself for defeat and that is not the way we view football.”
Ballo-Toure retains his place at left-back, leaving Davide Calabria on the right, during Theo Hernandez’s absence due to COVID-19.
“He needs to play, as at times you must make mistakes in order to learn,” explained Maldini.
“Ballo-Toure has great physical capabilities, the language and communication might be a problem at first, but this is his first experience at this level.
“Everyone felt a shiver down their spines against Liverpool at Anfield and that is what you get from a lack of experience. These are games that must teach us we belong and can compete at this level.”
— AC Milan (@acmilan) October 19, 2021