Pioli Urges Milan Not to Underestimate Depleted Fiorentina

Stefano Pioli warned his side in light of Fiorentina’s multiple absences: “They will be more focused because of them. I am always wary of sides that seem to be in trouble. It happened to us too, and we found more energies and determination. The Viola have a strong identity and will know what to do. They will be a very tough opponent.”

“Dusan Vlahovic grew a lot since my time there, when he just showed some glimpses. He is surely a very strong center-forward.”

Pioli ruled out Ante Rebic due to a last-minute issue: “I am sorry for Davide Calabria and him. He looked great, but then he felt some discomfort today and will not be available tomorrow. All the international players returned well but one. They are great professionals. They were very attentive in practice, and they dove back into our situation. Rafael Leao has not played a lot with Portugal and recharged his batteries. He is ready to provide his contribution.”

Milan have the same record at home and on the road: “It is paramount to interpret games in similar fashion. Some said that empty arenas helped us last season. Instead, we have a playing style and spirit that allows us to battle everywhere. We want to win.”

Pioli dished on his return to Florence and a few more players: “It will never be just another game for me. Frack Kessié is fine, and he just made a mistake in the Derby for which he was judged too harshly. Alessandro Florenzi is intelligent and can play as a right fullback, but I needed him elsewhere before. He is not ready for full minutes, though. Junior Messias is back, and I am glad for his return.” He did not disclose which striker would start.