Ibrahimovic has raised Milan's level - Pioli

By Sports Desk January 19, 2020

Stefano Pioli said the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic has "raised the level of training" at Milan, who are unbeaten in three Serie A matches with the 38-year-old striker involved.

The Rossoneri on Sunday beat Udinese 3-2 in an entertaining encounter at San Siro, where an error by Gianluigi Donnarumma allowed the visitors to take the lead after six minutes through Jens Stryger Larsen.

Second-half strikes from Ante Rebic and Theo Hernandez turned the game on its head before Kevin Lasagna's 85th-minute equaliser.

There was one final twist, though, as Rebic won it deep into stoppage time and Pioli revelled in a third successive victory, but warned Milan have plenty of room for improvement.

"I have to congratulate my players on their performance against the team that caused us a lot of problems," the Milan boss told DAZN.

"We still have to work a lot, because today we showed our quality but there were also moments of relaxation where we exposed to rival blows."

He added: "I asked my players that this week would be perfect and we succeeded, although it was hard.

"This should teach us that the match never ends. We will still work on efficiency."

Ante Rebić's first Rossonero brace and Theo's stunner clinch the win against Udinese Read more https://t.co/eo7djPvp3V

La prima doppietta rossonera di Rebić e la magia di Theo decidono #MilanUdinese  Scopri di più https://t.co/iY1DYC4enn#SempreMilan pic.twitter.com/B2LleqOJ2y

— AC Milan (@acmilan) January 19, 2020

Ibrahimovic played the full 90 minutes and Pioli was full of praise for the veteran striker's performance, as well as that of Rebic after he scored three minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute and struck again at the death.

"Ibra is an added value in our daily work," Pioli said of Ibrahimovic. "He raised the level of training.

"Rebic has been hoping for more opportunities, he always trains well, and after Christmas he returned very determined and willing.

"Everyone who wants to help the team will be given chances."

Related items

  • Juventus boss Sarri vows there must be no 'negative impact' from defeat in Milan Juventus boss Sarri vows there must be no 'negative impact' from defeat in Milan

    Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri has told his title-chasing players they must set aside the shock of crumbling against Milan as they prepare to tackle a dangerous Atalanta side.

    A torrid Tuesday at San Siro saw Juventus lead 2-0 before folding in the final 30 minutes to lose 4-2 against Stefano Pioli's Rossoneri.

    Third-placed Atalanta have the capacity to tear into any team and Sarri admits he simply does not have time to analyse in detail why leaders Juve lost their way so badly in midweek.

    The solution, he suggested in a news conference on Friday, is simply to move on and try to forget about that abject surrender.

    "If the match against Milan had happened earlier on, the priority would be to go in search of the causes," head coach Sarri said.

    "Given that we are in the final stages, the priority becomes ensuring that it doesn't have a negative impact. We have to look forward immediately."

    There is still every reason for Juve to be positive, given they hold a seven-point lead over second-placed Lazio heading into the weekend.

    And with seven rounds of games to play, it would take a sustained slump for them to be caught.

    "Right now, almost all teams struggle to have continuity for 90 minutes and what I would like to see is organisation, which in certain moments is decisive," said Sarri.

    In preaching the message that Juve need to bring level heads to the Allianz Stadium on Saturday, Sarri knows any wobble could be punished.

    The Bianconeri capitalised when Atalanta lost their way when the teams met in Bergamo back in November, the hosts surging ahead early in the second half before Gonzalo Higuain's double and Paulo Dybala's late goal gave Juve a 3-1 victory.

    "In the away match Atalanta held a very intense rhythm for 55 minutes but then they likely couldn't hold it for the final stages," Sarri said.

    "I think we'll see a different type of match this time around.

    "This is an important phase of the season. Atalanta are the real deal and are doing really well and their stats reflect that, especially away from home. They're a very difficult opponent and have been for some time."

    Dybala returns from a suspension this weekend. Sarri said he doubted whether the Argentinian would have been able to prevent the "blackout" that Juve suffered in Milan.

  • Liverpool captain Henderson out for the rest of the season Liverpool captain Henderson out for the rest of the season

    Jurgen Klopp has confirmed Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is out for the rest of the season due to a knee injury.

    The England midfielder limped out of a 3-1 victory at Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday after damaging his left knee in a challenge with Yves Bissouma.

    At a Friday news conference, Klopp  revealed Henderson will play no further part in the champions' bid to break Manchester City's record Premier League points tally of 100.

    The former Sunderland man will not require surgery, however and his manager is optimistic he will be fit for the start of the 2020-21 season.

    Klopp said: "Best possible news. It's a knee injury, but no surgery is required.

    "He will not play this season, but I'm positive he will start the new season. He's a quick healer."

    Klopp also revealed Dejan Lovren is available for Saturday's clash with Burnley at Anfield, where Liverpool can move on to 95 points with a victory.

    The Croatia centre-back has been sidelined with a knock but could feature against the mid-table Clarets.

    Liverpool face Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle United in their final three games after coming up against Sean Dyche's in-form side, who have won three and drawn one of their previous four.

  • Kalou makes Botafogo switch Kalou makes Botafogo switch

    Salomon Kalou has joined Botafogo after leaving Hertha Berlin. 

    The Ivory Coast forward's contract with Bundesliga side Hertha expired at the end of last month, making him a free agent after a six-year spell in German football.

    Kalou has not had long to wait to find a new club, however, securing a move to Brazil after talks with Botafogo got under way last month. 

    There was no confirmation of the length of the contract the 34-year-old former Chelsea man has signed. 

    Ex-Japan playmaker Keisuke Honda will be among Kalou's new team-mates. 

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.