Friday January 22 2021
Pioli: 'Mandzukic is ready'

Milan coach Stefano Pioli said Mario Mandzukic is ‘physically well and thus called up’ for the match against Atalanta. ‘He fit in well immediately’.

Mandzukic returned to Serie A this week and signed on a free transfer with the Rossoneri, and Pioli said the former Bianconeri is ‘physically very well’ and ‘ready’ to be in the squad.

“Mario fit in well immediately,” Pioli said at a press conference. “He has already worked in Italy and has a modern, European mentality.

“There were zero problems in joining the group and indeed a lot of positivity.

“Physically, I found him very well. He hasn’t played for a long time but he showed up charged, eager and determined.

“There are two ways to go; either I keep him out for three to four weeks to reach the conditions, or I accelerate and put him on the pitch to find the rhythm.

“I choose the second, he’s fine and is ready to be called up tomorrow.”

Pioli said he believes Mandzukic can play with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

“I think so and I believe it will be a possibility,” Pioli continued. “But Mario has just arrived and he needs to find his rhythm, but it’s a possibility.

“I think he has also arrived, in my vision and in the technical area, also to play with Zlatan.

“Then the situations will determine these choices, I am open to any solution to give valid alternatives and chance reference points for the opponents.”

Milan have recovered Ante Rebic and Rade Krunic from coronativus, whilst Theo Hernandez proved to be a ‘false positive’.

“I saw so much happiness in Rebic and Krunic, they are used to running with the ball and can’t wait to return,” Pioli added.

“Then it’s clear that two weeks are two weeks, but they will be back soon. I’m very satisfied for Theo instead.

“He only lost a week of training and maybe he needed some rest. [Diogo] Dalot can replace him very well, but Theo gives us important qualities in both phases."