Stefano Pioli reveals Ismael Bennacer will be available for tomorrow’s match against Juventus, which he considers to be important but not decisive.
Milan currently sit second in the Serie A table, two points behind league leaders Inter, and they cannot afford to drop points to the Bianconeri if they want to keep up the pressure on the Nerazzurri, who also have a game in hand.
Speaking to gathered reporters in a press conference, Pioli first discussed how Milan are heading into tomorrow’s game as the higher team in the league table.
“It’s a testament to the work we’re doing as it’s evident that Juventus are now in a great moment of form compared to the start of the season. We will have to put in a great performance.”
Whilst the Italian coach noted the game’s importance, he did not think that it was decisive.
“It’s an important game, it won’t be decisive but it will be important. Juventus are showing their strength, being able to win tomorrow would be important for our spot in the table.”
He spoke about the condition of his squad and which players are finally returning to action.
“Calabria, Bennacer and Romagnoli have made three important returns. Ismael only trained with the team this morning but he’s doing well. We’re all ready, as is Ibrahimovic, for tomorrow’s game.”
Pioli commented on Theo Hernandez’s positive words about him recently.
“I think it’s part of the coach’s job to make young players grow and they need to be followed and advised.
“One of my responsibilities is to make my players express themselves to the maximum. It’s a relationship of give and take, giving everything for the team and getting great results.”
He isn’t planning on deploying Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the trequartista role.
“No, not now and not at the start of the game, we have our balance. Then as the game progresses it could be an idea.”
The Rossoneri coach discussed the current form of Brahim Diaz.
“He had a drop in condition before the break, now he has regained his brilliance and has fresh, peppy legs like at the start of the season.
“He hasn’t been decisive with the ball in recent games but he has been decisive with his movements off the ball. It’s clear that you always expect a lot from players with offensive quality.”
He commented on what qualities Milan have that they can use to overcome Juventus and Inter.
“We have a lot of quality, especially on a technical and mental level, we play with great energy and vitality. Then there are difficulties, but they can be overcome if we play as a team.”
Pioli noted that the Rossoneri weren’t planning any particular moves on the transfer market following the painful 2-1 defeat to Spezia.
“Ours is a medium-to-long term project. One match doesn’t make us change our judgement on the players. If there’s a chance to improve the squad we’ll do it, what matters is tomorrow’s game.”
He discussed the project in the Lombardy capital.
“The moment that clubs are experiencing due to the pandemic at the financial level can be seen from the games with Spezia and those tomorrow, without fans and which have allowed the club to earn less money.
“We are developing a project of mixing young players of great potential with winning champions with the aim of getting back to winning ways. We’re back to being competitive but we’re missing the final step. These are the ideas, they’re very clear and right for the moment we’re living.”
The Italian coach commented on the fact that Ibrahimovic has not scored at the San Siro since September.
“As far as Zlatan is concerned he’s had his chances but he hasn’t taken advantage of them. With Juventus we won’t have 10 goals but there will be situations where he can be decisive.”
Pioli does not want tomorrow’s referee Marco Di Bello to go into the match unsettled.
“No, that must not happen. Tomorrow is another game and we start from 0-0. The referee will have to try to referee in the best possible way, with great seriousness, skill and serenity.”
He touched on the team’s reaction following their painful defeat to Spezia.
“It was a week of intense work, on the pitch and with videos. We have to be more careful, precise and decisive.
“We need great attention and participation, if we want to achieve excellence, normality doesn’t get you to excellence. You need technique, physique, mentality, tactics.”
The Milan coach reacted to the fact that he hasn’t beaten Allegri in 18 previous meetings.
“I shouldn’t look back too much. The past doesn’t count, only tomorrow’s game. It’s a negative fact to try to change immediately.”
He highlighted how midfielder Sandro Tonali is missed.
“Yes, that he is growing so much yes, despite being young. His maturation is not finished, he’s working hard to grow. Captain of the present or the future? I have a lot of players who are committed to what we do, it’s not important who wears the armband.”
Pioli suggested that he won’t be starting Rafael Leao and Ante Rebic together tomorrow.
“For now either one or the other plays, but in the course of the game there can be other solutions.”
He spoke about the differences in tomorrow’s game compared to the first meeting with Juventus this season.
“Juve have grown and are in positive form, but we are also doing well. We’ll have to fight ball by ball and inch by inch.”
The Milan coach commented on the team’s reaction to the Spezia defeat.
“I saw players who are attentive and determined. I expect an attentive and determined game. The parallels between last year and this one are hard to draw but last year’s game against Spezia was the worst, this year’s is not.”
He spoke about the growth of Leao and the return of Bennacer.
“Leao has grown in the availability that the team has given. When you have talent and availability you get important results. He’s a strong player but he mustn’t be satisfied because he can still grow. Bennacer is back from the African Cup of Nations but he’s fine and available.”
Finally, Pioli discussed whether Junior Messias can play as a trequartista.
“Messias can be a trequartista but the position in which he feels best is as a right winger or right inside forward.”
LIVE MN – Pioli: "Bennacer è a disposizione per domani. Con la Juventus non sarà una partita decisiva ma molto importante" https://t.co/OgDoMIdGon
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