Vincenzo Montella has said he would’ve preferred an easier opponent for tomorrow’s Coppa Italia and discussed the idea of playing with two strikers.
Milan will be playing the first of two consecutive encounters with Torino tomorrow at Stadio San Siro as they host the Granata for a Coppa Italia Round of 16 match at 21:00 CET / Italian time.
“We care about the Coppa Italia, it’s one of our objectives this season and we’re only thinking of this match. It’s just one leg so we have to play it like it’s a final,” Montella said in today’s press conference and MilanTV interview. “As a player, I never won the Coppa Italia… I was in the final with Fiorentina and then the following year we were knocked out in the semi-finals.
“Torino? I would’ve preferred a more affordable match because moving forward in competitions is always nice. We want to do well also because we have to remember that making into the final of this competition, last campaign, gave us the opportunity to play and win the Supercoppa in Doha.
“It will be a difficult match against a well-coached side that has great potential. Their midfield is very technical and up front they are very mobile. They’re a difficult opponent and we’ll give 100% in order to prevail. Facing them twice in just a few days means there won’t be any alibis on Monday’s match.
“The first league match against Torino? The penalty save of Donnarumma against Belotti may have given us certainty. Since that game, we have grown a lot. We care about this match and the Coppa Italia. Torino are well-trained and tomorrow we will have to play at 100% to win. They have a fine attack with a lot of depth especially with Belotti, but we will be good at closing down their lines.
“The Milan squad? Since the first day I saw a team with a great desire for redemption. From the first day, I was optimistic, I saw how the team trained and therefore I’m not surprised by the performance of the players, who can do even more. The formation? I usually always play with the same one. It also depends on what you want to do and the players that you have available. The team is doing well.
“The starting XI against Torino? There will be some changes, but no huge turnover. There will not be more than one change per position, I do not think that we are a team of only 12 regulars as some would say. I try to play as many people as possible. Playing with two strikers? On Sunday, we played higher up the pitch, played shorter and were more compact, and we had 29 shots on goal.
“Cagliari did not create almost any chance. I think we played a great game, which was then decided by our two forwards [Lapadula and Bacca]. We can always decide to change the game plan, but it’s a stretch because we only have 2 strikers in the squad, since Luiz Adriano is about to leave.
“Patrick Cutrone [the Primavera striker is called-up for the match – see the full list here]? He trained with us today, as did [Primavera forward] Zakaria Hamadi… There are lots of good attackers in our Youth Sector, so we have different solutions. The team creates a lot because there’s an extra player in midfield and maybe with two strikers up front less balls would come forward.
“There is a healthy competition between Bacca and Lapadula. Carlos’ goal on Sunday was important and he demonstrated his value. It wasn’t easy to score, he was lucid. Bertolacci? He’s player important games against big opponents and has proven to be able to do different roles in midfield.
“Bertolacci shouldn’t have to prove anything. He’s our all-rounder since he has played as playmaker as defensive midfielder and in a more offensive position. The injured players? Antonelli didn’t train yesterday due to slight fatigue while Romagnoli has a fever. Kucka is definitely recovered.
“The team? These boys are on the rebound, and I hope to convince them that there’s still room for improvement. It’s hard to point at just one player that surprised, many have grown a lot… If I have to choose a name, then I would say Abate who is the current captain and is doing very well.
“The transfer market? I always discuss the market with Galliani, it falls to me to say what we need technically but I must always take into account the financial aspect. If there is chance we will improve the squad, but I would be happy if the group remained as it is.
“Marco Storari [Milan’s first signing]? I’ve known him a long time, our choice was primarily to send Gabriel to play and then we learned of this possibility. Marco knows the environment and despite his age he has great desire to play. He can be important both on and off the field and give us a hand.”
Probable XI: Gianluigi Donnarumma; Davide Calabria, Gabriel Paletta, Gustavo Gomez, Mattia De Sciglio; Juraj Kucka, Andrea Bertolacci, Jose Sosa; Suso, Gianluca Lapadula, Giacomo Bonaventura.