Stefano Pioli has talked ahead of tomorrow’s game with Liverpool, saying ‘we will need a game of sacrifice’.
Milan tomorrow reach a crossroads in their season as by the end of the night they will learn whether they are in the Champions League Round of 16, in the Europa League, or out of Europe.
The Diavolo host Liverpool (21:00 CET kickoff) at San Siro for a crucial game that they have to win in order to qualify. Ahead of the game, Coach Stefano Pioli held a press conference at training center Milanello:
Does tomorrow’s match resemble the game in May in Bergamo?
“In terms of the specific weight and mental preparation, we are close to it. But we’ve also played other important matches and I’m convinced that we’ll play many more. We’ve prepared well, we’ve prepared everything down to the smallest detail.”
Leão is also injured. Milan must also be stronger than bad luck…
“Milan must be strong because we’ll play against a team that can win the Champions League. Up front there won’t be only Zlatan, but the more unpredictable we are, the more dangers we can create for Liverpool. We will have to be good at moving between the lines. We learned a lot from the first leg, we know what level we have to play at to compete with them. We are ready, the fans will be there to push us, there as all the conditions to do well.”
There have been muscular injuries. Have you given yourself an explanation?
“We are working hard on it. The fact that we play so much can be a motivation. We are trying to do everything to try to preserve the players, to protect them, that’s why I’m doing more rotations than last year. Now we have to grit our teeth, until December 22nd, we have to collect the maximum we can, then I’m sure the situation will improve.”
What will you have to do tomorrow to put Liverpool in trouble?
“In the first leg we suffered from their pressure, we also moved very little without the ball. They will press us intensely, but by now we know each other well, if we overcome their first pressure then we can create important opportunities.”
Krunić did well as a False 9. Is it a solution that can be useful?
“Yes, I think so. We must have many attacking players, we must not try to not give points of reference. Krunić, Brahim and Messias have the ability to work between the lines and attack in behind. Try to imagine the defensive line having two defenders without knowing who to mark. We can exploit this type of situation.”
What kind of awareness has participation in the Champions League given you?
“That we are a strong team and that they are very strong, but we want to play these games, we need to play these games. We want to win tomorrow, we will need a game of sacrifice, concentration and of tactical and technical clarity.”
Would the Europa League be a problem?
“Last year Inter had a great second round in Serie A and many thought it was because they no longer had European competitions. Maybe they would have had the same second round with European competitions as well… Milan need to get back to being competitive in Italy and in Europe. If we were to go to the Europa League we would face it in the best way. But now what matters is tomorrow’s match. We want to face a team that is among the best in the world and understand where we have arrived.”
With Tomori you have not conceded a goal in the last two games. What do you think about it?
“Fik is very strong, he has excellent characteristics for the way we play. He wasn’t there in Madrid and we won 1-0. This means that the most important thing is the quality of the team.”