Milan director Ricky Massara wants a ‘high-profile performance’ against Atalanta, while discussing transfer strategy regrets, patience for Charles De Ketelaere and the Rafael Leao contract talks.

It kicks off at San Siro at 19.45 GMT.

You can follow all the build-up and action as it happens on the LIVEBLOG.

The Rossoneri have a big opportunity on their hands, as Inter were beaten 1-0 by Bologna earlier today, so a win would see them catch their city rivals in joint second place.

On the other hand, an Atalanta victory would put them level on points with Milan.

“It’s a very difficult match, Atalanta are a very complicated side to take on. It is a head-to-head for the Champions League and we know that we need a high-profile performance to get the result,” Massara told DAZN.

Stefano Pioli shifted Milan to a three-man defence and it was a struggle at first, but they seem to have settled into it now.

“I think the period of difficulty we had in January was not due to the system, we just lost confidence. By rediscovering this defensive solidity, hopefully we will also be able to release the attacking potential at our disposal. It was a moment the squad had to overcome, also with a tactical adjustment.”

There is a big change this evening, as Mike Maignan returns to the starting XI after 161 days, a gap of five months since his last appearance and that serious calf strain.

Former targets Enzo Fernandez and Sven Botman have impressed at other clubs, so Massara was asked if there are any regrets over Milan’s transfer strategy?

“Of course you can always look at things differently with hindsight, but we are satisfied with the work we have done on the transfer market and the support we received from the owners. We tried to consolidate a young squad and build for the future as well as the present.

“We were well aware that some of the much younger players needed a period of adjustment, some have already overcome it and others are still going through it. Above all, we are absolutely convinced of the strength of this squad and the coach’s ability to get the best out of them.”

When there is discussion of transfer regrets, the thoughts inevitably go to Charles De Ketelaere, who cost €32m plus bonuses to sign from Club Brugge and is still waiting for his first goal.

“He is a very talented player, we see him in training every day, we see his belief growing every day that he can express that talent for Milan. Compared to two or three years ago, he arrived at a Milan side that is the reigning champion of Italy, so that adds even more pressure. It takes a while for young players to flourish.”

Finally, Massara was asked if there were any developments on the Rafael Leao contract extension talks.

“Nothing has changed, but we are ready to write new chapters in this story. We want to find a solution to extend both Leao and Giroud’s contracts, just as we have already agreed deals with Tonali, Bennacer, Kalulu and others. We are working on it and hope to find a solution soon.”

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