Pioli insists Milan players can handle title race pressure

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MILAN : AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli said his team can handle the pressure of the Serie A title race but the current standings are not a true reflection of where each championship contender is at in their pursuit of the Scudetto.

Milan sit top of the table as they look to win their first Serie A title since 2010-11, but champions Inter Milan are just one point behind, with a game in hand.

“The league table is not correct, because Inter and Atalanta have to recover their matches,” Pioli told a news conference on Friday ahead of his side’s weekend clash with Salernitana.

“We are focused on us. The pressures are there and it is a privilege to have them, it means that we have risen up the level and it means that the team can handle them too.

“In my players I see a lot of positivity, a lot of confidence and concentration. We know that the season is long and that we have to push hard. For us tomorrow is a very important match, not a secondary one.”

Milan’s trip to bottom side Salernitana on Saturday looks set to come too soon for veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede has been out since late January with an Achilles tendon problem.

“He is certainly better, if not tomorrow he will start training again soon and then we will evaluate his condition,” Pioli added. “We do not yet know when he will be able to rejoin the group.”

The Milan coach also revealed that Croatian forward Ante Rebic could be in contention to start after two substitute appearances last week following an injury layoff.

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(Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Toby Davis)

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