Stefano Pioli hints Christian Pulisic could play as false nine against Roma

By Sports Desk August 31, 2023

AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli hinted Christian Pulisic could be utilised as a false nine during Friday’s game against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico.

The former Chelsea forward has scored twice in his first two Serie A appearances and could be deployed in the position in the capital.

Milan will be without fellow summer-signing Noah Okafor who is recovering from injury though Samuel Chukwueze and Yunus Musah who also arrived during the summer will be available “from the first minute.”

Pioli’s side lead the early Serie A table after beating Bologna and Torino in their opening games, and will open up a three-point lead on champions Napoli with victory against Roma, for at least 24 hours.

Of Pulisic’s ability to play as the most advanced forward he said: “Everything is possible in football, when there are two essential factors: the quality of the players and their desire to make themselves available.

“Right now I think it’s important to give the team certainties. We’ve changed a lot, between exits and signings we’ve changed almost the whole squad.”

Roma have made a slow start, picking up just one point from their opening two games, from a 2-2 draw against Salernitana.

However, the complexion of their season was altered on Thursday with the confirmation of the season-long loan signing of Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea.

Pioli admitted Lukaku represents “a significant signing on paper” but added that any catalyst it might provide for the atmosphere amongst home supporters at the Stadio Olimpico would only serve to “stimulate rather than intimidate” his side.

Lukaku is not expected to start when the sides meet on Friday having not played competitively for Chelsea this season.

“Every match must be a turning point,” said the manager. “We are Milan and we want to play to win. Roma are strong, they only have one point but they had good numbers in the first two matches. We want to give continuity to the first two victories.

“We always want to play a certain type of football, it’s the opponents who change. We want to play our football, trying to minimise mistakes. We’ll have to be careful and precise, we’ll have to play the game and not suffer it.

“We worked a lot together to prepare ourselves in the best possible way. I always insisted on a certain idea of ​​the game and gave continuity to certain field choices.

“Let’s talk about important players, they are strong and intelligent. The whole system is working, even if there are still many things to improve.”

Roma are likely to be without captain Lorenzo Pellegrini and striker Paulo Dybala for the game in the Italian capital, with both players suffering from injury.

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