Milan hoping to keep race for fifth place alive as Sampdoria clash awaits – team update and more

Although they had hoped to claim all three points against Atalanta, which isn’t an easy thing to do these days, AC Milan put in a good performance and impressed despite playing without the likes of Alessio Romagnoli, Theo Hernandez and Ismael Bennacer. They continued their good form, in other words. 

However, the joy didn’t last long as Roma managed to beat Fiorentina by two goals to one, extending their lead in fifth place over the Rossoneri, now amounting to four points with just two games left. Furthermore, it didn’t make things better that the Giallorossi’s second penalty was one of the most shocking decisions of the season. Enough about that, though, Stefano Pioli’s men will still have to win their last two games to have a chance at leapfrogging Roma. Of course, their dreams could end as early as tomorrow, with the Giallorossi taking on Torino away from home. In any case, Milan will want to finish the season in style. 

As mentioned, Pioli was forced to deal without Romagnoli, Hernandez and Bennacer against Atalanta but the latter two will be available tomorrow. Per, they will be the only changes to the starting eleven, with Alexis Saelemaekers keeping his spot on the right as Samu Castillejo isn’t quite fit yet.

Probable Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Donnarumma; Calabria, Gabbia, Kjaer, Theo Hernandez; Kessie, Bennacer; Saelemaekers, Calhanoglu, Rebic; Ibrahimovic.

Despite the tight schedule, Pioli hasn’t made it a habit of changing the starting eleven, opting for the strongest team possible from start and rather making in-game changes to help with the energy level. This tactic has certainly worked and Milan have often been the physically superior team, almost always making use of the five substitutions.

Since the restart, Sampdoria have registered five wins and five losses, which isn’t bad considering they had only won seven games prior to the Coronavirus. That being said, the Blucerchiati have lost their last two games – including the derby against Genoa – and the home advantage doesn’t change the fact that Milan are favourites.

However, Pioli warned that Samp have already achieved their goals, meaning they won’t have the same pressure on them as his side. Furthermore, he was asked about a top-five finish and made it clear that they will fight until the end, keen on finishing the season in the best way possible.

“Samp have put Juventus in difficulty, they are fine, they play calmly because they have already achieved their goal. Ranieri has done a great job. We must believe in making as many points as possible. Unfortunately, it does not depend only on us, but our results depend on us, so tomorrow we will need a great game,” he stated.

It’s indeed frustrating that Milan will have to rely on Roma, but at the same time, there are still two games to play and the Rossoneri can’t afford to take these six points for granted. Based on how Pioli’s men have acted since the restart, though, I doubt this will be a problem.

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