Milan play at home riding a streak of four straight victories, slowly moving up the Serie A standings where they currently sit in 8th place. They will likely make it five wins in a row facing bottom team Livorno, currently in 18th place and on a two game losing streak. Although Livorno has only won two games on the road this season, Milan should learn from last week that playing a team fighting relegation is never an easy task. In their previous match they played to a 2-2 tie.
Injuries have impacted both teams for this match, but more so for Livorno. Milan will be without Honda, Essien, Muntari, Petagna and El Shaarawy. De Sciglio was called up for the match but will likely not play. Livorno are without Luci and Mbaye due to injury and Biagianti is suspended.
The results are important and the good work done by the team has brought us out of a negative period, now we want to extend our winning streak. We didn’t play well against Catania and these are things that can happen. The team played with the right spirit however Catania are a better team than their league position suggests. The same is true for Livorno. We’re pushing for a place in the Europa League but as athletes we always want to go further. Until I get a call from President Berlusconi, I’ll continue to work with the security of knowing I’m the Milan coach. The team has to be focused on the match, not my situation. I hope that De Sciglio will be back training fully along with Muntari. El Shaarawy and Petagna are training with the Primavera side. Honda is back training and I hope he’ll be back for next week. Our current performance on the pitch is a draw and four wins and I don’t think that would be possible without team cohesion. Birsa and Poli could start tomorrow.
I’ve always used Bonera in a certain way. De Scilgio has been out two months out of three and he’s still played a lot. Abate had been out for 50 days when I arrived and then he picked up a knock against Parma. I consider all the players to be starters. Balotelli has scored 13 goals so far and is still scoring. I’m happy with how he’s been playing lately. In the second half against Catania, we didn’t manage the ball well, but there was no slow down physically. Fitness levels have improved but it’s clear that some players will be tired at this time of year. The important thing is to stay compact. I’m happy with what Prandelli has said about me. I spoke with all the players who came back from the camp and they’re all motivated, especially El Shaaarwy. We need the fans behind us tomorrow. We’re on the back of two home wins and that means we’re doing well. Right now we’re all focused on Livorno.
Di Carlo’s comments:
Last week’s loss was difficult for all of us, perhaps we played with too much tension, which also happened when we faced Verona. However nothing has been finalized yet. We have five difficult matches left to play where we need to get as many points as possible. This was the case even before last week’s match. We will continue working to ensure Livorno remains in Serie A, playing our hearts out in every match. The squad puts in their maximum effort. We are only 3 points from avoiding relegation.
For tomorrow’s match we must try to win and not have any excuses for the absent players, whoever plays will give their all. Milan is on a long winning streak and need points to reach Europe qualification while we want to avoid relegation. We need to be compact and fast. I expect our team to respond to the challenge. The players must be ready and play like a squad that will fight to remain in Serie A – defend well to attack well. With courage we can play the matches to ensure salvation. We finally have some good news in that Emerson is back in the lineup.