Pioli: “Tomorrow’s points weigh more than in other matches, Rebić will not be available against Fiorentina, Messias is showing me very interesting things”

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Stefano Pioli during a press conference at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

Stefano Pioli has spoken ahead of tomorrow’s match, confirming the absences of Davide Calabria and Ante Rebić, and underlining the importance of the win against Fiorentina.

After the international break, Milan, looking to conquer the 1st place in the standings, are set to the return to the pitch tomorrow night against Fiorentina at Artemio Franchi (20:45 CET kickoff).

Today, coach Pioli held a press conference at Milanello, where he answered the various questions of the journalists, from Mauro Suma, through Sky and Milannews.it, and even questions from Twitch:

How is the team doing?
“The team is doing well. It’s a shame about Calabria [who got a calf injury on international duty and will be out for 2 weeks]: it’s certainly something we didn’t need given this final run-in to end the year 2021. Rebić was in good shape, but in today’s training he felt a twinge following a backheel and he’ll not be in the match tomorrow.”

The squad during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

Will Fiorentina be even more careful in every department to make up for their absences?
“Absolutely yes. I’m always wary of teams that seem to be in trouble due to the absences of some players. It happened to us as well and we always found more energy and wanted to show that we are a strong group. It will also happen tomorrow at Fiorentina. Moreover, we are talking about a team that is already strong. They have a precise identity and it’s a difficult opponent.”

Is Vlahović the strongest striker of all?
“He has grown a lot. I coached him when he was a young guy but you could already see great qualities. Now he’s gotten really strong.”

Fikayo Tomori during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

When the team is first in the standings and there is an international break – do you prefer to stop or to continue?
“I do not have these thoughts: the break is there and we’ve tried to interpret it in the best possible way with those who stayed at home. All the internationals, apart from Calabria, are back physically and mentally well. My guys are really strong, mature and knowledgeable professionals. Yesterday I already saw a lot of attention and concentration at the first session all together, despite the commitments. The team is preparing well for an important match like tomorrow. 2021 has been really positive for us and we have to approach this final run-in with the right determination, with courage and we want to start off well with tomorrow’s game.”

The home record is the same as the away record: five wins and one draw. What does this mean? How is Leão?
“It’s clear that it’s very important to play in the same way and interpret games in the same way both at home and away. If we have a similar record it means that we are on the right path. We have an identity and a way of playing and giving us a lot of satisfaction. We have to continue like this: tomorrow is the same, we will play to win. As for Leão, he has not played much in the national team, he only played half an hour: he had the chance to recharge his batteries. I have seen him very well. I think he’s ready to give his contribution.”

Rafael Leão during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

Is Italiano the successor of Pioli at Fiorentina?
“He is an excellent coach. He has done well and everywhere and is continuing to grow, like Fiorentina. He is young but has clear ideas: in a short time he has managed to give a strong identity to his team.”

What comes to mind when you think of Pioli at Firenze?
“I think of a younger coach with less experience, who has taken advantage to grow. At Firenze, I enjoyed it both as a player and as a coach. This will never be normal match for me because I was at Fiorentina and in Firenze for so long and for the memories of Davide Astori, which are even stronger when I come to Firenze.”

Alessandro Florenzi and Tiémoué Bakayoko during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

Kessié has not been sharp lately: is there a particular reason?
“I’ve seen him well. He did well in the Derby and his performance was judged only for the incident of the penalty in which he could certainly have done better, but afterwards he played well. After the break I’ve found him in a good condition, like Krunić, Tonali and Bennacer. I’ll decide who to play.”

Is the alteration between Giroud and Ibrahimović continuous or does it depend on characteristics?
“The first evaluation regards the conditions: whoever is better, plays. Then, based on the characteristics. This is true for Zlatan, for Olivier and for everyone. Yesterday in training I had two players per position, I could close my eyes and choose, but then Rebić got injured. All my players are strong, with different characteristics: they are chosen based on the opponent and also based on the conditions. In defense now Kalulu and Florenzi are playing for the same place.”

Matteo Gabbia, Olivier Giroud, Tiémoué Bakayoko, Andrea Conti and Alessandro Florenzi during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

Milan is the team that shoots and transforms 52% of their attempts into goals. What do you think has changed?
“A more convinced player tries more and is more lucid. And if you have confidence in your chances, you’re more likely to succeed.”

How is Florenzi doing?
“I never put him as a fullback because Calabria and Kalulu were doing well and we only had Saelemaekers up front. Florenzi is a very intelligent player who can play in many positions, he’s very important for us. His physical condition is getting better and I think he’s close to getting back into his best possible, but he is still not ready to start or play the whole game.”

Brahim Díaz and Pierre Kalulu during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

What kind of Fiorentina do you expect tomorrow? How is Messias?
“Fiorentina has a similar mentality to ours, they don’t want to sit back and wait, but attack with intensity and unanimity. We will have to be good at breaking through and good technically in order to beat their pressure and exploit space. Messias is a lot better, I’m really happy to have him back available because he is showing me very interesting things. He’s a little bit behind Florenzi in terms of condition but he’s close to being fully fit. He’s a quality player who can give us a great hand.”

Contract renewal is imminent: what will be the impact on the team?
“I don’t think it’s the right time to talk about the contract. You’ll be notified when this happens. There is no rush. We are just focused on the next games.”

Ismaël Bennacer during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

Do you want another quantum leap in concentration?
“Yes, but there is no need. My players are well-aware of the moment we are going through in the league. It’s a very important part of the season. Although each win is worth 3 points, there are some games which have a bigger significance, tomorrow’s points weigh more than the others and we know it. Tomorrow’s game is very important, we’ve prepared for it really well, to try to interpret the game in the right way. The players are motivated, focused and determined to give their all.”

What kind of match will it be tomorrow?
“We always want to command and control games. Then there are the opponents. Tomorrow we will have to be good at freeing ourselves and taking advantage of opportunities.”

Stefano Pioli and Ante Rebić during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

How heavy is the absence of Calabria?
“Each player has his own characteristics that are useful to the team. With Kalulu and Florenzi we have the right alternatives.”

Can Messias give you new solutions?
“He has different characteristics from Saelemaekers and from Brahim Díaz. He is left-footed and we have few of those: for that reason he can be an extra man and someone who can give us other solutions. He needs to play, he has the qualities to give us something new.”

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Nesta1

Rebic injuries are getting regular, hope nothing happens to leao and he stays fit.

Philldadon1899

How about Griezmann winning his appeal? UEFA is really upset at us for Super League I think.

Rossi

I other news Torino is pushing hard to alter the deal with Pobega. They want to sing him permanently. For me this will be a realy bad deal for Milan. Pobega has imppresed in every club he has been loaned at in the past 3 years. I think he is the most talented mid from Milan youth academy in recent times. Looking how Locatteli is one of the best players in Juve now, i think this will be a bigger mistake. Pobega is showing a lot more than Locateli at his age. Milan only needs to find a position for… Read more »

Gbenga AJOSE

Torino should offer 50 Million….
When we wanted to buy Belloti years back , they slashed an astonishing price tag on him. One good turn deserves another

Baresis Dream

Neither Locatelli nor Pobega can currently break into our starting 11 when everyone is fit

Lando

I feel bad for Leao, kid needs rest
Maybe pioli should try for 442, i don’t know man the squad feel very thin now with all the injuries

Milan10

TOPSCORING BRAZILIANS IN EUROPE’S TOP LEAGUES IN 2021

  1. joao pedro (cagliari): 15 goals
  2. lucas paquelme (AC MILAN): 13
  3. m. pereira (wba): 10
  4. gabriel jesus (man city): 9
  5. neymar (oil crap): 9

BRAZILIAN MOST INVOLVED IN GOALS IN EUROPE’S TOP LEAGUES IN 2021

  1. lucas paquelme (ACM): 18 (13 goals, 5 assists)

man, between andriy “the giant” silva (4th in europe’s golden boots and paquelme, milan players are really KILLING IT. oh wait