Replacement rumours are normal, says Milan boss Pioli

By Sports Desk February 16, 2020

Stefano Pioli described mounting speculation over his future as Milan head coach as "normal" as he aims to end the season strongly despite rumours Andriy Shevchenko could replace him.

Milan have lost just one of their past nine games in all competitions, with the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in January having helped Pioli recover some of the ground lost in a dismal stretch either side of his October arrival in place of Marco Giampaolo.

But a run of two draws and a defeat in three games ahead of the visit of Torino in Serie A on Monday has returned the focus to Pioli's position.

Former Rossoneri and Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri was also mentioned in reports discussing potential appointments in the coming months.

"I know very well what my role is and how we have been very good at not getting carried away by rumours," said Pioli. "We have to do this until the end.

"We are in a great club, it is normal for there to be some talk. We must be very focused on our work.

"There is a lot of season remaining to do well; 45 points are available.

"I am not worried about my future and I am not even thinking about it. I want to try together with the team to exploit this situation."

Pioli started Hakan Calhanoglu in support of Ibrahimovic in Milan's 1-1 Coppa Italia draw with Juventus on Thursday and in his side's 4-2 derby defeat to Inter before that.

And the Rossoneri boss backed his decision to play a lone striker, rather than pairing Ibrahimovic with another forward such as Ante Rebic or Rafael Leao.

"We must strengthen the positive feelings and bring back the same spirit of the last few matches," said Pioli as he looked forward to entertaining Torino at San Siro.

"All game systems are good if the characteristics of the players are suitable for that system.

"We have the characteristics to play with this formation. We see that the team feels these positions and is very balanced and compact, as well as being very dangerous and shooting on goal more than the opponents."

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: Haaland, Mane top targets for Real Madrid Rumour Has It: Haaland, Mane top targets for Real Madrid

    Real Madrid are reportedly preparing for a rebuild and Erling Haaland and Sadio Mane are their top transfer targets.

    The LaLiga club appear set for a busy close season amid links to numerous players.

    While Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is said to be a target, it seems Madrid have other priorities.

     

    TOP STORY – HAALAND, MANE TOP TARGETS FOR REAL MADRID

    Borussia Dortmund forward Haaland and Liverpool star Mane are Real Madrid's top targets, according to the Daily Express.

    The report says Aubameyang is also wanted at the Santiago Bernabeu, but is behind Haaland and Mane.

    Real Madrid were two points behind LaLiga leaders Barcelona when the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    ROUND-UP

    - Staying at Real Madrid and the LaLiga giants are tracking Sao Paulo midfielder Igor Gomes, according to AS. A Brazil youth international, Gomes, 21, has been compared to former AC Milan star Kaka.

    - Ousmane Dembele is seemingly unwanted at Barcelona and could be set for a move. Sport reports Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp want Dembele, who has struggled with injuries since joining the LaLiga club.

    - Barcelona are continuing their bid to land Lautaro Martinez. Sport claims left-back Junior Firpo could be part of a deal to bring the Inter star to Camp Nou. It says Inter, and Roma, are interested in the left-back and Barca would want the €18million they paid Real Betis for Junior last year.

    - Manchester United could be set to make a big move this close season. The Daily Star reports the Premier League club are confident of landing Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez for a club-record £135m (€150.8m).

    - Perhaps Manchester United had another target. However, Sport says Real Madrid have told United that midfielder Federico Valverde is worth his incredible release clause – £448m (€500m).

    - Henrikh Mkhitaryan is loving life in Rome. The Daily Mail reports the midfielder, who is on loan at Roma from Arsenal, wants to stay at the club and hopes they can agree to a €11.2m (£10m) deal.

  • Coronavirus: Serie A could end here – AIC president Tommasi Coronavirus: Serie A could end here – AIC president Tommasi

    Italian Footballers' Association (AIC) president Damiano Tommasi suggested the Serie A season could be over.

    Serie A is suspended until Friday due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that postponement appears certain to be extended.

    Italian sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora told La Repubblica he would push for sport, including training, to stop through all of April.

    Tommasi said he was worried that could mean the end of the Serie A season, with the last game having been played on March 9.

    "Tomorrow [Monday], they have one more element on the table than in the past weeks," he told ANSA on Sunday.

    "Because, after the words of minister Spadafora, the concern is the championship will end here.

    "We must therefore ask ourselves about the problem of ending the season from a sporting point of view and a contractual one."

    Juventus held a one-point lead atop the Serie A table when the season was stopped with most teams having played 26 games.

  • Coronavirus: Inzaghi on suspended season - We all want to finish what we started Coronavirus: Inzaghi on suspended season - We all want to finish what we started

    Filippo Inzaghi believes Italian sides are willing to play in August to complete the season and warned some clubs could disappear if it is not finished.

    Italy has suffered heavily during the coronavirus pandemic that has swept the world, with over 10,000 recorded deaths so far in the country, and the government has suspended all domestic sport until at least April 3.

    The break is likely to continue beyond that date but former Milan striker Inzaghi, now head coach of runaway Serie B leaders Benevento, has warned of the ramifications of scrapping the campaign.

    "Talking about football is difficult," Inzaghi told Sky Sport Italia. "We have all taken a step back for our health, which is the highest priority.

    "By the time everything ends, we want to start playing again - it would be the right thing. We all want to finish what we started eight months ago, and the championships must be finished.

    "It would be the best solution to avoid misunderstandings and prevent someone from being damaged.

    "We are ready to play in June, July and August: we want to end this championship, any other decision will penalise someone. We will go to the courts, some clubs will disappear, so football could risk losing two years, not two months."

    Inzaghi has guided Benevento to 21 victories in 28 games so far this season, while brother Simone is enjoying a successful campaign in the top tier with Lazio.

    The Biancoceleste are second in Serie A, just a point behind leaders Juventus, and Filippo was full of praise for both his brother and Ciro Immobile, Lazio's leading scorer.

    "He is better than me in everything," said the Benevento boss. "I can only learn from Simone: he is a modern coach and seeing his Lazio side is a spectacle."

    Asked to name a player similar to himself, Inzaghi added: "I don't like making comparisons, but I say that Immobile is the best Italian player.

    "He always scores, always decisive. He is the centre-forward that I like best."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.