Stefano Pioli believes Milan are starting to find the right spirit, but give the ball away too cheaply as he returns to face hometown club Parma.
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“Over the course of a campaign, there are games that are worth more than the usual three points. We must break down the door and take our opportunities,” said the coach in his press conference.
“Obviously, Parma is my hometown, so this is a special one for me. I have great memories there as a player, less so a coach, as the club was going through a difficult time. But now I am 100 per cent Milanista.
“It won’t be an easy match, so we need to maintain the spirit of our last few games, but improve the technique and quality. We must stop giving the ball away so cheaply.”
Leo Duarte has been ruled out for three to four months with a heel injury, while Lucas Paqueta has not yet fully recovered from a muscular problem.
“I want to thank Leo Duarte publicly, because since I arrived he has always been a great professional, playing through the pain of a pretty clear issue.
“Mattia Caldara is not ready yet, but will play with the Primavera youth team to get some minutes under his belt. Ricardo Rodriguez isn’t in great shape either, but he is another alternative for centre-back.”
Pioli took the entire team out to dinner on Wednesday evening, where they watched Inter beat Slavia Prague 3-1 in the Champions League.
“Europe is Milan’s wheelhouse, so our objective must be getting back into those competitions. I see some things that I like, others that I don’t, because there is no such thing as a perfect performance. We’ve got to rush this process and get results as soon as possible with good football.”
There were reports Krzysztof Piatek would be dropped this weekend, but Pioli doesn’t seem too fond of Rafael Leao either.
“Leao has important qualities, but he is not a centre-forward who really makes the difference in the box and can do a lot more. Piatek fills the penalty area, but didn’t take some good chances to score. He can do better, as can everyone in the squad.
“It’s important that everyone steps on to that field with fire in the belly. We know what Milan’s objective is and are all focused on that path.”
Milan squad for Parma: A Donnarumma, G Donnarumma, Reina; Calabria, Conti, Gabbia, Theo Hernandez, Musacchio, Rodriguez, Romagnoli; Biglia, Bennacer, Bonaventura, Calhanoglu, Kessie, Krunic; Borini, Castillejo, Leao, Piatek, Rebic, Suso
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