Sunday April 25 2021
Pioli: ‘Ibra out of Lazio clash’

Stefano Pioli confirms Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out of tomorrow’s clash against Lazio and suggests Mario Mandzukic could replace him.

The Swede missed Milan’s home clash against Sassuolo earlier this week and will remain on the sidelines against Lazio tomorrow.

“He is feeling a bit better, but he is not ready for tomorrow, he can return in the next game [against Benevento],” Pioli said at a press conference.

“Either Mandzukic or Leao can play up front, Mario is feeling well and has the right characteristics to help us inside the opponents’ box.”

Theo Hernandez also missed Wednesday’s clash against Sassuolo.

“Theo is feeling better. Yesterday he partially trained with the group, he could be available if he works with the team for the entire training session today,” Pioli said.

“Romagnoli is feeling better too and Tomori had a little problem yesterday, we’ll see.”

Milan sit second in the Serie A table but have just three points more than fifth-placed Napoli.

“These 32 games proved we have been stronger than any other side, except Inter. We’ve been the only ones to stand up against the Nerazzurri, we can play the last games with our ambitions. Our target is still there. We haven’t been lucky, we are here because we deserve it,” Pioli insisted.

“We can’t think we won’t qualify for the Champions League, we’ve proved we are strong, but we need to do it until the end. Those who will not finish in the top four will obviously be disappointed.

“Matches against direct rivals are worth double now. It will be an important game for them and us.

“Lazio are a strong team, they have played the Champions League this season, we already beat them, but the games were always balanced.

“We thought 75 points were the minimum to qualify for the Champions League. There could be teams that are able to win a few games in a row. Right now, we must focus on one game at a time,” the coach continued.

“We must have no fear. If we face fear, it will run away. If you are the one running away, fear will follow you. Our motto is ‘if you want, you can,’ the rest are just excuses.”