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press-conference24 September 2021

PIOLI: "I EXPECT A HIGH-INTENSITY MATCH"

The Coach's thoughts on the eve of Spezia v AC Milan

From Venezia to Spezia in the space of just a few days. Matches are coming thick and fast for the Rossoneri, who aren’t about to stop. It’s already the eve of Spezia v AC Milan, which will kick off at 15:00 CEST on Saturday 25 September at the Stadio Picco in La Spezia. Ahead of the matchday six showdown in Serie A, Stefano Pioli held a press conference from Milanello. Here is what he had to say, with his words being broadcast live on the App, YouTube and Milan TV:

SPEZIA V AC MILAN
"We won’t be heading to La Spezia thinking about the game last season. In that match, everything was missing. This time around, we need to play in a professional manner and also as a team from beginning to end. An intense game on a small pitch awaits, and we’ll need to occupy the spaces as best we can. We’ll have to show composure tactically and speed in our play."

HOME AND AWAY
"Together with our fans, we have more energy and enthusiasm. Matches can become complicated, but, with the right positivity, you can turn things around. We’re doing well at home but it’s still just the beginning. Now, a difficult away match awaits against a team that needs to very much be respected. They did well against Juve and could have scored to make it 3-1. We’ll be aiming to not give any points of reference and win the ball as high up the pitch as possible."

THE TEAM
"We’ve got a lot of matches in quick succession coming up. I’ll assess the condition of my players so I can field the best possible team, also bearing in mind that starters and substitutes will be important. Against Venezia, everyone who played performed well. We made some changes, but everyone was ready. For me, being able to make five substitutions is very important, especially when the calendar is as busy as ours at this current time. The team is young but has grown a lot: we’re mature and convinced that we can do well right until the end. In Italy, the level of competition is high, and we’ll always need to give 100% on the pitch. We’re not a team that sits back and we’re doing well with our pressing. I like the fact that we’re not picking up any cards for dissent."

ATTACKERS
"Having attackers with different characteristics is very stimulating for me and a source of motivation for the team. It’s my objective to create the optimum conditions for the players to perform at their best. Giroud is available; he’s trained with the group in the past few days and displayed his usual enthusiasm. I just need to decide whether he’ll start or come on during the match. Pellegri did well against Venezia. He’s a player that attacks well in behind and, in general, possesses great characteristics."

THE CHAMPIONSHIP
"I expected Napoli to do as well as they have, they’ve changed very little and are among the best in the league. They have a deep squad and a great coach. They’ll fight for the Scudetto and for the top positions, like many other opponents. The battle for the top spots will be fierce. I would propose to introduce a system where there are time-outs and time in play is considered. Furthermore, for a more offensive style of football, I wouldn’t allow teams to turn back with the ball once they’ve crossed the halfway line."

INJURIES
"Since the beginning of the season, we’ve only had two muscle injuries: the ones that have affected Kessie and Krunić, who got injured on international duty with Bosnia. The others were problems that could be overcome quickly, but it's more difficult when there are so many games in such a short space of time. We haven't been able to work with the full team yet, which is a shame, but the squad is strong and has depth. We must continue to work with this desire."

INDIVIDUALS
"Calabria has recovered. Florenzi has suffered a bruising to his knee and he won’t be available, but I hope to have him back for the Champions League because he’s an intelligent player on whom I rely heavily. Leão is a completely different and improved player in-game this season compared to last. Now, he just needs to be more clinical with the final ball, but he knows this. Díaz is doing fine. We discovered Maignan from playing against us in the Europa League, his way of speaking and leading the defence was what impressed me. The club had been keeping an eye on him from before; he’s doing very well, it’s a pleasure to work with him. We have no intention of buying another goalkeeper to replace the injured Plizzari."


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