Pioli explains selection choices and asks his side for ‘confidence, positivity and energy’

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has admitted that the changes he has made to his starting line-up to face Inter are tactical and physical choices.

Pioli has chosen to make three alterations to his side compared to the starting XI that drew with Lecce at the weekend as Simon Kjaer has come into the defense to partner Fikayo Tomori at Pierre Kalulu’s expense, Sandro Tonali returns to the midfield after serving a suspension and Junior Messias starts over Alexis Saelemaekers on the right.

Milan could do with a win to boost their spirits after a difficult start to 2023 in which they have won just one of their opening four games, including league draws against Roma and Lecce and a Coppa Italia exit to Turin.

Pioli spoke to SportMediaset before the game to explain his selection choices, with his comments relayed by MilanNews and translated below.

“We got there with concentration, attention and enthusiasm. It’s nice to be here. These are special matches: it’s already a derby and what’s more, it’s a final. The approach is very important, then what matters is playing 95 minutes with continuity, with confidence, positivity and energy,” he said.

Can it be a crossroads for the season?

“It’s a trophy, it will start soon and it will end soon. It’s not a crossroads, because then there’s the league and the Champions League that we want to experience as protagonists. The season will continue.”

Why Kjaer and Messiah? Tactical or physical choice?

“Both things.”

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