Stefano Pioli has urged his team to play like ‘the real Milan’ in Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s absence, calling the next seven days ‘very important’.
Milan start the new Serie A season at Crotone later today and will also be playing for a place in the Europa League group stage when they travel to Rio Ave next week.
“I’m very happy with what we’re doing right now, but seven very important days await us,” Pioli said at a press conference.
“Some difficult games await us. We must play like the real Milan and pick up points, plus the playoff is very important.
“Crotone know how to play football, Giovanni Stroppa’s doing a great job and they signed some new players this week.
“They have good characteristics and must be respected. They know they’ll have to fight, so we have to prepare well.”
Ibrahimovic remains unavailable after testing positive for COVID-19, but young striker Lorenzo Colombo has stepped up in his absence, while Hakan Calhanoglu and Ante Rebic have continued to impress.
“Colombo took the right approach, in that he went out on to the pitch ready and with the right level of calmness.
“He’s a very mature lad, he’s integrated well into our work and group. I’ll play the team I deem the best for this game.
“Calhanoglu’s play has been of the highest level lately. His assist was also one of a very high level.
“As for whether Rebic can play as a centre-forward, he’s a top player who gives us physicality and quantity.
“He can play both roles [out wide or through the middle] without anything being taken away from his game.”
Sandro Tonali recently arrived from Brescia, and the coach asked fans to be patient with their new No 8.
“Tonali hasn’t been here for long. Our way of playing is different to Brescia’s, so we need to give him time.”
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