After watching his team swat aside Sparta Prague 3-0 in the Europa League on Thursday, Milan’s boss Stefano Pioli said it was becoming increasingly difficult to pick his starting XI.
Pioli made five changes to the side that drew 3-3 on the weekend with Roma in Serie A and Milan went on to claim their ninth victory in all competitions this season out of 10 games, including one penalty shootout.
Two of the new faces, Brahim Diaz and Diogo Dalot, were on the scoresheet, while the replacement Rafael Leao was also on the goal.
With a trip to Udinese on Sunday, Milan is heading back to home action, and Pioli says it’s hard to have too many in-form players on his side.
“He told Sky Sport Italia: “knows what to do on the pitch and how to read the games. We had a strong showing against the Roma, where we should have done more to manage the situation. We have made the most of the spaces that have been allowed today. I have to admit, choosing the starting XI is becoming increasingly difficult, as everyone is doing so well.
“In such a cohesive way, the boys work, and that’s the mentality that makes me want to pick them up. In detail, we needed power, so it’s only fair that we make the most of it.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was replaced half-time by Leao after a penalty was missed during the opening period-one of three attempts without reaching the target-but Pioli says that the decision to substitute him at that stage had been made before the game.
“The replacement has already been scheduled,” he confirmed.
“Zlatan is a champion and probably wanted to keep playing, but we have another really difficult game coming up on Sunday, so it was just right to balance our efforts.”
Sandro Tonali was especially impressive in the center, completing more passes (72) than any other player in Milan and winning a team-high possession 10 times.
Pioli was pleased with his display and claims that the 20-year-old is starting to find his feet in San Siro.
“In his performance tonight, Sandro Tonali took two steps forward. It was expected that it would take him a while to settle down as he arrived after the pre-season, so I’m very happy that he’s growing into a team and finding form. It’s the perfect place to build rivalry,” he said.