With a spot in the round of 32 already mathematically secured, AC Milan are now playing for first place in their Europa League group, something which could make a difference during the knockout phase. To finish top, the Rossoneri, who are one point behind Lille, need to win and hope the French side fail to beat Celtic in the other group fixture. It’s a difficult objective, but one which the team will be looking to achieve by giving their all until the very end. On the eve of Sparta Praha v AC Milan, the Diavolo’s sixth and final fixture in Group H and a match that will kick off at 21:00 CET on Thursday 10 December, Coach Pioli held a pre-match press conference.
TEAM NEWS FOR SPARTA
"There's a lot of competition in the group. I asked the Club for as many starters as possible in light of how busy this season is and I got that. Tomorrow, we'll play with a competitive side, try to boss the game and win. Only from the outside are there any thoughts of there being players on the fringes right now. We have a lot of players, not all of them can play, but tomorrow, there will be minutes available for players, who haven't played too much. I'm sure that they'll be well up for it because they're great professionals."
THE ENTHUSIASM IN THE GROUP
"We prepare a lot for any game and I think it's right to celebrate wins. We're used to these kinds of celebrations on the team bus. From the day after, though, we get straight back to thinking about our next game. It's not euphoria, just satisfaction. We have a young team and, for this reason, I think we still have ample margins for improvement - collectively and on an individual basis."
IBRA, LEÃO AND BENNACER
"Zlatan is progressing with his recovery and doing well. We'll see how he's doing. Rafa is feeling better, he's available and will be in the squad. I'm hoping to give him some minutes after three weeks out. Bennacer still has a few niggles and will not be in the matchday squad but he'll be back training with us on Friday ahead of the Parma game."
TONALI AND GABBIA'S GROWTH
"Sandro is continuing to develop. He played well on Sunday but can't rest on his laurels. He knows he can put up even greater numbers in a game. Gabbia has worked a lot, with a lot of care. He's shown he's ready to start for AC Milan. He's still really young but he already players with assuredness and personality."
(Photo Getty Images)