AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli shed some light on the status of some of the new additions, while also touching on the idea of rotating players and changing squads.
Milan started the season well in the league after winning three games and drawing two of their opening five games, the last result of course being the thrilling 3-2 derby win over Inter that came last Saturday.
However, the campaign so far has been contradictory in some respects to the Scudetto winning season in 2021-22, with Milan actually failing to win any of their three away matches (Atalanta, Sassuolo and RB Salzburg in the Champions League), while winning three of their Champions League matches. Three at home.
Milan will seek to make things right against a Sampdoria side who are once again looking for an identity under Marco Giampaolo, with only two points to show from their first five matches, although those came from draws with Lazio and Juventus.
Pioli spoke to reporters gathered in Milanello at his pre-match press conference, with Milan News conveys his comments.
In Genoa, games were not easy at all. Sampdoria arrives after two draws at home against Juventus and Lazio ..
“We will find a strong opponent. They came from two draws against important teams and also from a defeat and we know they want revenge.”
Do your opponents face you differently?
“It’s still too early to compare the home and away matches. For me, it always depends on our quality. In Bergamo we played a great game, while with Sassuolo and Salzburg we could have done better.”
Will Origi be the start tomorrow?
“This could be his moment. He played, put minutes in his legs. He needs to play.”
Can Dest also be played on the left?
“We followed him last season as well. I found him more attentive to defense than I thought. At Salzburg he was very alert. He has to do more with the ball, with the quality that he can do a lot going forward. He also likes to play on the left, but we also have other solutions. For new players, it is important to get to know his teammates better. The destination is a ready player.”
How is the De Ketelaere insertion process going? How is Ibrahim Diaz?
There is also Adly, and we have different solutions. Charles does whatever I ask of him, he’s getting himself into more and more, better and better, I’m happy with his performance. Then he should have time to get acquainted, but I see a calm player. Abraham has certain characteristics that give us numerical superiority. It’s inevitable that you always ask me who’s not playing, but I always choose based on the game.”
Is rotation necessary?
“I don’t like the term rotation. Because all my players are strong, everyone is doing their best. I always play the best squad. I have a lot of confidence in the players. It’s not that if I take turns, I make them biased… I try players to win matches.”
Why was Diaz lost after Udinese? Does he pay the price for strong competition?
“If you play for Milan, you have to accept the competition. If we want to win something we can’t expect to only have 11 rookies. If Diaz has competition, but I don’t think so, it’s not good. There is a lot of competition but also a lot of pressure. Always.” So. Every coach starts with a squad, but then things change during the year. You have to work and think about convincing the coach to let him play.”
How is Rebek?
“I don’t like some of the allegations. He has back pain, unfortunately the pain has not gone away yet and therefore he cannot train in a group.”
Will Adly have more opportunities?
“He will have to pretend. I expect a lot from him, too.”
Several times Milan were late in matches…
“As an approach we only made a mistake with Udinese, but it is clearly a fact that we want to reverse. Then, however, the great awareness of the team was confirmed which, despite the flaws, he still believes in to change the game.”
Could there be a change in the three-man midfield formation?
“Not at this moment. I have never tried Adli as a Mezala.”
How do you see Pobega?
“I loved how he got into Salzburg. He’s getting older, we bet a lot on him.”
Will the Saelemakers still start tomorrow?
“You know I don’t say the lineup. He played well in Salzburg, he wasn’t forced to play when he wasn’t supposed to play. Salzburg’s performance wasn’t excellent, but it’s decent. Tomorrow we have to do better.”
What do you expect from De Ketelaere?
“We have to look for him a little more, he can also receive the ball with his back to goal because he can deal with interferences physically. He has to learn to go deeper.”
Does De Ketelaere need to play more?
“I don’t play players to give him minutes. If he plays tomorrow, it’s because I think he can help us. I have to think about the whole team.”
Why leave more goals?
“We conceded some goals too much. The whole team needs to improve and not just defend. On Tuesday we had to do better on goal. We need to improve the defensive phase.”
Can Pobega be used as an attacking midfielder?
“Anything is possible. You can look for new paths or new solutions. It’s hard for everything we achieved last year to work again this year. We’ve conceded quite a few goals, but sometimes it’s the quality of the opponent that can make the difference.” As for Liao: Not that every time he was decisive there was a defensive mistake, but because of his quality. This year we have a more attacking midfielder.”
It’s your third year at Milan. What is the biggest difference between this year and the others?
“We know each other very well and so we can devote more to those details that can make a difference. We have done the bulk.”
On the dead balls you fight…
“We have to do better. The team knows that too. We’re working on it, and I hope to see improvements soon. This is one of those details we’re working on the most. We need to be more realistic in these situations.”
What has changed between de Kettleri and Diaz in the role of attacking midfielder?
“The position is the same and they know what they have to do. They have different characteristics, but the position they have to fill is the same.”
With all these games, do players also have to manage it?
“We are not able to manage matches. We have to play hard in all matches. We have to give everything, we cannot afford to finish matches with some energy left.”
How is the introduction of new contracts going?
“They are working and growing. They know their teammates better. They are very available guys. They arrived a few days ago. I don’t know if anyone will be ready for tomorrow, but what is important is that they are strong players. Then some of them will go to the national team, and I will be Glad they’re here with us.”