Milan must limit well-balanced Roma effectively, says Pioli

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Jan 7 (Reuters) – AC Milan will need to counter and limit a well-balanced AS Roma team effectively when the sides face each other in Sunday’s Serie A clash at San Siro, coach Stefano Pioli said. 

Reigning champions Milan are second in the league standings on 36 points, five points behind leaders Napoli, who will play away to Sampdoria. Jose Mourinho’s Roma sit sixth on 30 points. 

“Roma are a strong and complete team, they combine organisation with attacking qualities and physicality,” Pioli told reporters on Saturday ahead of his side’s first home game of the new year. 

“Up front (Nicolo) Zaniolo has great potential, he is technical and physical, he exploits depth while (Paulo) Dybala prefers to play between the lines. 

“We’ll have to counter them and limit them effectively, they score a lot from set pieces.”

Milan closed the gap on Napoli in the title race last week after the leaders lost to Inter Milan, but Pioli said his team have more work to do. 

“We’re only looking at ourselves, we have to put a run together. We know that to win the Scudetto we need a lot of points and a lot of wins, but let’s start with tomorrow’s game,” he said.

Pioli added defender Simon Kjaer had some problems at the World Cup in Qatar but his condition is improving, while there is no time scale on the return of goalkeeper Mike Maignan who is out with a calf injury. 

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in BengaluruEditing by Christian Radnedge)


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