Saturday December 7 2019
Pioli: 'Milan have an identity now'

Stefano Pioli keeps Milan guessing between Krzysztof Piatek and Rafael Leao against Bologna, but sees his team “with clear ideas, intensity and an identity.”

It kicks off at the Stadio Dall’Ara on Sunday at 19.45 GMT, click here for a match preview.

“We are progressing well and must continue to push forward so we can improve our standing in the table,” said Pioli in his press conference.

“At this moment, we are seeking belief and consistency, as the team is growing physically, mentally and tactically. You can now see a team with clear ideas, intensity and an identity, one that believes in itself.

“Bologna play in a more aggressive style compared to Parma, but this game is too important for us and we have to show great determination to win at all costs.

“Rodrigo Palacio is very intelligent, I worked with him, and I know he always makes the right movement. We mustn’t get the simple things wrong, because if we get those, then we’re on the right track.”

Lucas Paqueta returns to the fold, while Mattia Caldara and Leo Duarte are still out of action.

Every time there is debate as to whether Rafael Leao or misfiring Krzysztof Piatek will lead the trident attack and this weekend is no different.

“If Piatek plays tomorrow, it means I consider him functional for the team approach in that game,” noted Pioli.

“Piatek is a centre-forward, a fox in the box, while Leao is a striker who moves around a lot more. There are many different ways of playing football, the important thing is that the characteristics of the various players complement each other to play as a team.

“We don’t have Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, but we do have many good players and must focus on teamwork. At this moment, I do not see Milan working with two strikers together, as the wingers and the midfielders are the strong points. Of course, if the results don’t come, I won’t get bogged down by an idea.

“It’s only natural that anyone in charge of Milan must aim for European qualification. I didn’t come here to do an average job, but the best I possibly can. If we don’t get there, we can at least admit that we tried.”

Bologna are expected to have Sinisa Mihajlovic on the bench tomorrow after his bone marrow transplant and treatment for leukaemia.

“I hope to be able to say hello to him tomorrow. Sinisa sets the example for his willpower and determination to overcome this difficult situation. I had no doubts Bologna would stand up for him and rally round, as I have fond memories of this club. From Monday, I can get back to cheering on Bologna.”

Milan squad for Bologna: A Donnarumma, G Donnarumma, Reina; Calabria, Conti, Gabbia, Hernandez, Musacchio, Rodriguez, Romagnoli; Biglia, Bennacer, Bonaventura, Calhanoglu, Kessie, Krunic, Paquetá; Borini, Castillejo, Leao, Piatek, Rebic, Suso

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