Pioli hints at Origi start amid fierce competition at Milan

By Sports Desk September 09, 2022

Stefano Pioli hinted Divock Origi could make his first Serie A start when Milan go to Sampdoria on Saturday, as he emphasised the importance of competition in his Rossoneri squad.

Origi joined Milan in July after leaving Liverpool on a free transfer, but has been a peripheral figure during their promising start to the new campaign. 

With the likes of Rafael Leao, Junior Messias and Olivier Giroud preferred by Pioli, Origi has made just three substitute appearances in the league, playing a total of 47 minutes.

But speaking ahead of the trip to Sampdoria, Pioli said the Belgium international is ready to make his full debut.

Asked whether it was time for Origi to feature more heavily, Pioli said: "I think so, because he is better and has had time to pick up the pace.

"We have various solutions. Charles [De Ketelaere] is doing everything I am asking of him, he is inserting himself more and more and better and better, I am happy with his performance. 

"Brahim [Diaz] has certain characteristics to give us numerical superiority. It is inevitable that you always ask me about who does not play, but I always choose based on the game.

"We have to play with energy for 95 minutes. At the end of the game we must have no more energy."

Milan have only been beaten once in Serie A this year, with Spezia prevailing in January). No other team has lost fewer games than the Rossoneri across the top five European leagues in 2022.

The Rossoneri have also averaged 2.29 points per game this calendar year, a figure bettered only by Liverpool (2.4) and Manchester City (2.38) across the continent's biggest leagues.

Milan enjoyed a busy transfer window after ending their 11-year wait for the Scudetto in May, bringing in the likes of Origi, De Ketelaere and Sergino Dest. Pioli, however, insists a renewal of his squad was not necessary, highlighting the need for competition in every position.

"I don't like the term turnover. It's not only the first 11 who are chosen," he added.

"I know that I have strong players, a very specific identity and I am sure that everyone, when called upon, will give their all. 

"Tomorrow I will field what, in my opinion, is the best formation: I go ahead for what I see and for what I feel. It is not that if I rotate, I do it as a bias. I put players on the field to win games."

Meanwhile, Milan have been forced to recover from a series of slow starts this season; each of Udinese, Atalanta, Inter and Salzburg (the latter in the Champions League) have opened the scoring against the Rossoneri in recent weeks.

But Pioli is impressed with the character the Serie A champions have shown when overcoming those deficits, adding: "As an approach, we only made a mistake with Udinese, but it is clear that it is a fact that we want to reverse. 

"Then, however, the great awareness of the team is confirmed. Despite the disadvantage, they continue to believe in themselves to change the game." 

Related items

  • Football rumours: Man Utd and PSG leading summer pursuit of Victor Osimhen Football rumours: Man Utd and PSG leading summer pursuit of Victor Osimhen

    What the papers say

    Manchester United and Paris St Germain have emerged as the frontrunners to land the signature of Victor Osimhen in the summer. According to The Independent, Chelsea and Arsenal are also interested in the Napoli forward.

    The Telegraph reports Newcastle are edging closer to inking a new deal with midfielder Joelinton. The 27-year-old has little over a year left on his current deal, but the two parties are believed to be on similar terms with negotiations proving productive thus far.

    Tottenham have reportedly taken an interest in Sporting Lisbon midfielder Morten Hjulmand. The Sun, citing Portuguese paper Record, says Spurs sent scouts to watch the Denmark international in action as Sporting beat rivals Benfica 2-1 last Thursday, with a view to a potential summer move for the 24-year-old.

    And the i says Newcastle intend to send 19-year-old winger Yankuba Minteh out on loan for a second successive season. Minteh has been at Dutch side Feyenoord this season.

    Social media round-upPlayers to watch

    Alphonso Davies: Real Madrid are willing to offer as much as £43m for the Bayern Munich defender, according to Mundo Deportivo.

    Archie Brown: HITC reports Chelsea, Leeds and West Ham are all monitoring the English defender, currently playing for Belgian side Gent.

  • On this day in 2019: England beat Japan to win SheBelieves Cup for first time On this day in 2019: England beat Japan to win SheBelieves Cup for first time

    England won the SheBelieves Cup for the first time with a 3-0 win over Japan on this day in 2019.

    A 2-1 victory against Brazil and a 2-2 draw against hosts the United States saw the Lionesses set up a winner-takes-all final-match showdown with Japan at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

    Lucy Staniforth, Karen Carney and Beth Mead were all on the scoresheet in the first half as England were crowned champions of the invitational round-robin tournament.

    Staniforth put the Lionesses ahead in the 12th minute, collecting a flicked pass from Jodie Taylor before finishing low in the bottom-right corner of the net.

    Taylor recorded her second assist of the game shortly afterwards, hooking the ball to Carney in the six-yard box for the winger to nod home to make it 2-0, before Mead scored on the half-hour mark following a great pass from Keira Walsh.

    Victory came as a boost ahead of the Women’s World Cup later that year in France, where the Lionesses would reach the semi-finals, and England manager Phil Neville hailed his side’s efforts in the SheBelieves Cup as “sensational”.

    He said: “It was a sensational performance. I wasn’t that bothered before the tournament whether we won or lost, I just wanted to see an improvement and we go home knowing we are definitely in the right direction.

    “We just keep listening to USA, Japan and Brazil talk about how good we are. But we remain humble, have fun and enjoy moments like this.

    “You don’t get many chances to get your hands on a trophy. It is my first as a manager so I am just going to enjoy it.”

  • Mikel Arteta celebrates ‘great night’ as ruthless Arsenal demolish Blades Mikel Arteta celebrates ‘great night’ as ruthless Arsenal demolish Blades

    Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta described his side’s 6-0 thrashing of Sheffield United as “a great night” as they climbed to within two points of leaders Liverpool.

    The Gunners dominated from start to finish against a Blades team who looked well beaten after Martin Odegaard, Jayden Bogle’s own goal and Gabriel Martinelli had put them 3-0 behind inside 13 minutes.

    Kai Havertz and Declan Rice put the irrepressible Londoners 5-0 ahead at half-time and Ben White crashed home their sixth before the hour mark.

    Arteta, whose side’s seventh straight league victory saw them become the first English league side to win three consecutive away games by five or more goals, said: “It was a great night.

    “The way we started made a difference. We were really aggressive and positive and we showed real quality in the final third to take the game into a great position for us.

    “Then we maintained the rhythm, maintained the hunger and I love that about the team.”

    Arsenal struck their fifth goal in the 39th minute, the earliest an away side has had a five-goal margin in Premier League history.

    But Arteta warned his side they cannot afford to drop any points between now and the end of the season if they are to pip Liverpool and Manchester City to the title.

    “The fact that we’re scoring many goals and not conceding is a great sign, but it’s about winning every game now,” the Spaniard said.

    “That’s the demands these two teams have set over the past few years and that’s the task ahead of us.”

    Arteta confirmed Bukayo Saka was withdrawn at half-time due to illness, while Martinelli was replaced by Gabriel Jesus in the 64th minute after cutting his foot.

    “We need to wait and see how it is,” added Arteta on Martinelli’s setback, which was the only downside to the evening.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.