AC Milan's head coach, Stefano Pioli, spoke to the media in a press conference ahead of tomorrow's Serie A fixture against Hellas Verona at the San Siro, valid for matchday 5. Here are his statements:
"Winning is always important, especially for us coming off a loss in the league. There are no easy matches, there is only the desire to interpret it well with quality."
Could there be any changes tomorrow? Pioli said:
"I'm thinking of making the right choices to win the match. All the players are eager. There will be the starting 11, and then there are the substitutions. The maximum availability of the players is important, there will be room for everyone."
How did you see the team?
"We're doing well, we believe in what we're doing, and we're confident we'll play the right game tomorrow."
How is Olivier Giroud?
"He's doing very well, but of course, he needs to be managed. He doesn't have any physical problems, he's in excellent condition, then we'll see what choices I'll make."
On the new players, Pioli commented the following:
"The feedback is positive. They are quality players and very willing. The adaptation period is over because we are playing a lot. Of course, it will still take a bit of time, but they are integrating well. They are already ready to contribute."
What did the race with Newcastle leave you with?
"We played 5 official matches, there were positive aspects, while in others we need to grow and improve."
How do you see Luka Jovic? Pioli said:
"Luka had a tough summer, he played very little, he lacks a bit of rhythm, but he's doing well. He can't have a lot of playing time, but he will improve. He knows how to play football, he can give us satisfaction."
There has been much talk about Rafael Leao recently:
"Leao is undergoing an important process and is doing everything to become a champion. But, he needs to manage some game situations better. It's clear that his responsibilities are increasing, but he is becoming more mature. We shouldn't place too many responsibilities on a single player. We believe that a mistake is a mistake for everyone."
Do you have a turnover plan for the upcoming matches? Pioli said:
"There is definitely an idea of scheduling to distribute the energies, but of course, it's the matches and the players' conditions that tell you what needs more rest. We proceed with a strategy, but after every match, the strategy can change
Did you forget about the derby?
"Newcastle neither opened nor closed anything. We wanted to win, but we hold onto many positive things, just as we need to keep in mind the mistakes from the derby not to repeat. We need to be more careful in certain situations."
What does Leao need to do to grow? Pioli declared:
"Leao needs to keep going like this. To become a champion, he needs to know how to handle situations. He is making important steps."
Can Tijjani Reijnders give Rade Krunic a rest in front of the defense?
"He could play in that position, as well as Adli. We will see when it's necessary. We are not dependent on a single player, but on teamwork."
Can Alessandro Florenzi play tomorrow?
"He is a starter for Milan. He can play on the right or on the left, he is important for us."
How is Maignan doing? Pioli said:
"Maignan is better, he didn't have any injuries, just fatigue. Playing so much, sitting out for a week can mean missing three games. We will see when he will be out, but it shouldn't be a long-term thing."
How did you see Samuel Chukwueze?
"We want him to be very open, he needs time to find the right mechanisms. I am satisfied with his performance."
How is Pierre Kalulu?
"He had a minor injury, so he won't be available for the next three games."
What does Hellas Verona expect?
"We don't know if Verona will play defensively. We have to be very careful. So far Verona has been aggressive, but we expected other opponents to be aggressive as well, and then they played a different game. We need to have the intelligence to understand which solutions to adopt."
Pioli, Will something be missing in midfield without Sportiello?
"He knows our positions and the principles of play very well, and he's ready to help us with the build-up phase. Like against Torino, tomorrow the goalkeeper will probably have more time to build up play."