Pioli previews Bologna clash, discusses midfield options and drops De Ketelaere hint
Pioli previews Bologna clash, discusses midfield options and drops De Ketelaere hint

On the eve of the clash between AC Milan and Bologna at San Siro, Stefano Pioli spoke to the media at his usual pre-match press conference. After the Atalanta draw, the Rossoneri want to get back to winning ways. 

Despite the draw last time out, it has been a positive start for Milan as there clearly is a lot of quality. The final touch will be needed tomorrow, though, and Pioli is expected to make a few changes to the starting XI (read here).

Speaking at the press conference, as cited by MilanNews, Pioli shared his thoughts on the upcoming clash, the Champions League group as well as several other matters.

The feeling is that Milan suffer less this year?

“Honestly, I don’t know if it’s the right way to remember last season’s games. I’m interested in the performance of the team. I liked the performance, but I missed the little extra. Tomorrow will be a difficult match against an opponent who will put us in the difficulty. We must combine victory with playing well.”

On Bennacer…

“We are at the beginning of the season. We have only played two games and these are attitudes that we must carry over the long term. He has great qualities and I have no doubts. He has put his performances on the field and must continue like this. He has the qualities to be a complete midfielder.”

On Milan-Chelsea and Leao…

“I have no other thoughts than preparing for the next matches. Leao must continue to think about improving. He is always motivated and willing.”

On De Ketelaere starting…

“I trust him because he has great potential. He can be ready and play from the beginning, his time has perhaps come. He needs time. He has intelligence, and curiosity in understanding the movements and working methods. In that role, I have many choices. Let’s see from game to game.”

On the Champions League group…

“It’s a completely different group compared to last season. We need to start from a concrete basis: the Champions League requires high-level performances. In terms of quality and pace, you have to be at the top. We have our cards to play and we mustn’t underestimate anyone. One match at a time as always, we have to show that last year’s experience has helped us.”

On the team’s attitude…

“What I see in my players is precisely the attitude. We did not face Atalanta with superficiality, but with determination and courage. We entered history with the Scudetto, but we want to build more pages.”

On the midfield…

“It’s not true that we were outnumbered in midfield. We forced Pasalic to chase after Tonali. For Kessie, I remember that last year you asked me why he was always playing and now that we miss him. But now we want to win again.”

On double marking and that foul on Leao?

“It is normal for him to have double marking. He must be good at managing these situations. For the fouls, there was a sensational foul, not a yellow one, where the VAR had to intervene.”

On Adli…

“I’m happy for the birth of his daughter. He’s available for tomorrow, I like him a lot but I have to make some choices because I have so many strong players. But the time will come when he will find space. It’s difficult to imagine him in the tandem, maybe as a mezz’ala in a midfield of three.”

On 4-3-3…

“Anything is possible. I like the players to find solutions, it is they who direct me. We are a team that has three attacking midfielders and removing them all becomes complicated. We have to be fluid and move. Pobega is more of an insertion player.”

On Giroud and Origi…

“Tomorrow one of them will be the starter up front. From tomorrow we will play 7 games in 21 days. This year there are no starters, I train a team of starters. We need all the players.”

On Theo…

“He is a top player and he must continue like this. For the strength and potential he has, he must only think about growing. Defensively he is now a difficult player to pass.”

On Kjaer…

“Simon is fine, he gave me positive feelings. Fik and Pierre’s performances are high-level, his recovery is a positive aspect.”

On the backbone of the team…

“We also have other strong players. Playing every three days with intense matches it becomes difficult for anyone to maintain a certain level. There will be targeted rotations.”

A defender or a midfielder from the transfer market?

“It is a matter of names and not of numbers. If there is the possibility of introducing players to improve the squad, the club is ready to do so.”

On programming and improving in Europe…

“This is what we want to do. The English teams are throwing money that for us (Italians) is not conceivable. In these three years, we have shown that with compactness and determination you can do important things. It is clear that the Champions League demands a level very high.”

On Bologna…

“Moving the ball well and quickly is always an excellent solution. We are working well to play with depth but we have to be more lucid. The positions on the pitch that we will see tomorrow will be different from Atalanta and Sassuolo.”

The game between Milan and Bologna is scheduled for 20:45 CEST tomorrow and it will be a sold-out San Siro. Hopefully, Pioli’s men will claim their second win of the season with a strong performance.



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