Stefano Pioli says ‘the best team will play’ against Fiorentina regardless of the next Champions League match against Tottenham, but Brahim Diaz isn’t available against the Tuscans.

The Rossoneri welcomed back both Mike Maignan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic during last weekend’s important 2-0 win over Atalanta.  

Ismael Bennacer, Davide Calabria and Alessandro Florenzi also took part in full training with the rest of the squad at Milanello this week, providing Pioli with a wider selection of options available. 

However, Brahim Diaz has picked up a minor issue in training, meaning he will miss out on Saturday’s game against la Viola. Charles De Ketelaere is likely to start in his place. 

Pioli explained: “Tomorrow Diaz will not be there due to a slight knee sprain, so tomorrow it will be Charles’ turn. He [Diaz] had a slight sprain, we will do everything to recover him for Tottenham.

“We must continue to play matches with focus and determination. We have important players back in contention, tomorrow Florenzi and Calabria will be among the squad”.

Asked whether Bennacer is in contention for game time on Saturday, Pioli confirmed: “Yes he will be involved.”

Rafael Leao and Rade Krunic will miss the game in Florence serving a one-match ban. Questions were also asked about whether Ibrahimovic is ready to play the full 90 minutes. 

“At this moment, not for the whole game, but he will soon be able to do it. He has great desire, his return is very important to us. Training with or without Zlatan is different,” said Pioli.

The return of the influential talisman does not necessarily mean that Olivier Giroud will be afforded a rest. “Rotation doesn’t exist. The best team will play,” Pioli noted. 

On why it took so long for Malick Thiaw to break into the starting line-up, the boss said: “I have to make choices. If I didn’t choose him before, it was because I thought somebody else was more ready than him”.

The Rossoneri have turned their form around in recent weeks, picking up wins in all three of their most recent games in Serie A, having gone five matches without a win in the games prior. 

As competition for the top four spots in the division becomes even tighter, Pioli has his eyes firmly set on three points at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. 

“Tomorrow’s match is very important, then we’ll think about the Champions League. Milan and Fiorentina are two similar teams, we want to keep winning. In every game, every player must think about being decisive.” 

Pioli was however keen to play down the pressure of securing a spot in next year’s Champions League, adding: “We don’t look at the standings, every game is important.”

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