Wednesday August 23 2017
Montella: 'Milan test tactics on Shkendija'

Vincenzo Montella hinted Milan will use a three-man defence in the Europa League play-off with Shkendija. “We’re still getting to know each other.”

It kicks off in Skopje on Thursday at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT) after a 6-0 victory at San Siro.

“We care about both Serie A and the Europa League equally. Tomorrow is the Europa League, so all our energy is focused on the next game,” said the Coach in his Press conference.

“It will be a different line-up for many reasons, first of all I have a very big squad and after next Sunday’s Serie A match with Cagliari many will go out on international duty. When they return, we’ll be playing every three days, so squad rotation will be normal.

“I think we should expect a very different type of game tomorrow. Shkendija play better at home, they were perhaps intimidated by the atmosphere at San Siro and we were very fired up for that night. I expect a different match.

“Tomorrow we must set ourselves targets, realise there are no easy games, and this will be another test to prove our continual and hopefully quick improvement.

“I expect tactical changes too and Shkendija will no doubt be more confident on home turf. I see many reasons not to underestimate this match. First of all, we are in Europe, and we’ve always said Europe is where Milan belong and thus deserves respect.”

Montella dropped several hints that the Rossoneri will unveil their new three-man defence.

“Tomorrow should be the right opportunity to test out playing in a different style, we need to improve our mentality and I’d like to evaluate some players. I’d like to win, to win without conceding and to put in a strong performance.

“I am really proud to see that despite the first leg result, many players told me they wanted to be here and that shows a good mentality.

“Alessio Romagnoli is considered absolutely not for sale, both for the old and new owners, as we believe he can grow a great deal. He’s proved that he can do really well both in three and four-man defences.

“We’ll see if we play with three at the back or four, we might alternate, but I don’t see a lot of difference. I don’t think a side can get fossilised into a specific system, especially when we’re all still getting to know each other.

“Despite the arrival of Nikola Kalinic, I still think we’re a little short in attack. There will be room for everyone this season, no matter how we play.”

Montella was asked if Shkendija had been crushed by one of the contenders for the Scudetto.

“Thank you for the vote of confidence! There are teams in Serie A that are further ahead and more well-drilled, but we are a strong side and time will tell what our real dimension is.

“We do not feel that we are in a race with Juventus. We are challenging above all ourselves and time will tell what level of team we are or what we could become. It’s been only 60 days since we started training and the team is still under construction, as another player just arrived, so we’ll give our best to grow and improve.”

Montella’s final word was for the people of Ischia, hit by an earthquake this week.

“I spend my holidays there, I have a home there, many friends and was made an honorary citizen. I spoke to my friends there, they have sustained damages and I am close to them.”

See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with