Sat 20 February 2021 | 14:20

Pioli urges his men to ‘be lucid and precise’ against Inter

The Rossoneri boss confirmed their preparation for the upcoming Milan derby as he revealed the absence of Mario Mandzukic.

AC Milan

head-coach, Stefano Pioli, wishes for a


performance against


after slipping to the second position in the Serie A table.

Starting his press conference by sending condolences to the late Mauro Bellugi’s family, Pioli said:

“We have just been told about his death and we want to send our condolences to his family.”

“We’ve prepared the derby with a cold head and a hot heart, but also with humility and determination.”

“Our fans are special, it’s a pity we can’t play in a packed San Siro. They’ve always supported and us. We hope it’s the last derby without them.”

“Both us and Inter have a clear identity. The derbies are always balanced matches with many goal scoring opportunities.”

“Tomorrow we must be compact and try to be clinical, we want to play a high-level game.”

Asked about the pressure imposed by Inter, he added:

"In our preparation we always think about how our opponents can attack us, we must be lucid and precise.”

“Opponents always give some spaces and we must make the right choices.”

Talking about the chances of

Sandro Tonali


Ismael Bennacer

, Pioli continued:

"I am absolutely convinced that Tonali has enormous potential, but he is very young.”

“He’s growing up well, he’ll be a very strong player, but he’s showing his own qualities.”

“Even if you are young, you have to live up to expectations, but he is serene and motivated, like his teammates.”

Talking about going winless for two consecutive games, the Serie A boss said:

"We did not raise our level of play, even the defensive phase did not see us as solid and compact.”

“Tomorrow we must be very careful and determined. We must have the right distances.”

"Milan’s target is to continue our path of which we are satisfied. We are happy to be the youngest team and the surprise of the championship.”

“Our goal is to give the best, we’ll see what we’ve achieved at the end of the season.”

“There are many games left before the end of the season, we have no long-term goals.”

Pioli later talked about

Zlatan Ibrahimović

’s row with

Romelu Lukaku

in their Coppa Italia clash, saying:

"It would have been better if it had not happened, but tomorrow is another game, there will be duels, clashes, it is a very heartfelt game, but there will also be great respect and professionalism.”

“I respect Lukaku, but I prefer Ibra.”

"Tomorrow’s game must be a collective one, Milan must play as a team. It is the collective that highlights the qualities of the individual.”

“We have to play well because we know how to do it, we have the technical qualities.”

Confirming that

Mario Mandzukic

will be out for injury, he stated:

"He had a slight injury, he was already working today. I hope it’s not a long absence, he was getting into condition."

Asked about the chances of a draw, Pioli responded:

“If you approach the game thinking about a draw, you are closer to losing, tomorrow we’ll play to win.”

Pioli further talked about choosing

Fikayo Tomori

to stop Lukaku, concluding:

"He is doing well, he has different characteristics than others.”

“But for technical and physical characteristics Tomori is better at facing Lautaro or Sanchez. He is aggressive but does not have the physicality to challenge such powerful strikers.”

“I’m very happy with his performance, he’s getting ready."

source: SportMob

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