AC Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso had plenty to say before today’s fixture:
What we need the most tomorrow is our fans. Then, of course, we have to engage them through desire, the performance and sense of belonging. It’s never easy (for the opponents) to play at San Siro, doing it in front of 50,000 roaring fans like it happened against Lazio... It was like being back in the old days and AC Milan need this. I hope the fans will be passionate. We have to do well and I have to start the best possible XI and give enthusiasm to the people who fill San Siro.
️ Rino Gattuso LIVE at the pre-match press conference ️ LIVE da Milanello la conferenza alla vigilia di #MilanSampdoriaPosted by A.C. Milan on Saturday, February 17, 2018
GOALKEEPERS: A. Donnarumma, G. Donnarumma, Gabriel
DEFENDERS: Abate, Antonelli, Bonucci, Calabria, Gomez, Musacchio, Rodriguez, Romagnoli, Zapata
MIDFIELDERS: Biglia, Bonaventura, Calhanoglu, Locatelli, Mauri, Montolivo
FORWARDS: Borini, Cutrone, André Silva, Suso.
(Actual lineups to be announced shortly)
Injuries & Suspensions:
Milan: Franck Kessie is out for accumulation of yellow cards. Nikloa Kalinic is still nursing a strain and Andrea Conti continues to work on getting back to 100% fitness level.
Sampdoria: Denis Praet still out for a few more weeks with his thigh strain.
After dominating SPAL and beating Ludogorets in Bulgaria, the Rossoneri confidence is high at the moment. The only troubling issue is, so is their opponent. Gattuso said it best when he referenced San Siro as being their “secret weapon”. There isn’t much separating these two sides right now and home field could be the difference maker. Combine that with workhorse Franck Kessie missing his first match, it’s anyone’s guess who comes out on top.
On course for their highest finish since 2011, and also in good form at the moment, there is little the Sampdorian lads think they cannot do. They took the fight to Roma, Fiorentina, and us, beating Milan 2-0 back in September.
There is no proper way to underscore the importance of today’s fixture against Sampdoria. They sit one place above the Rossoneri in the standings, and if we have any hope in pulling off a minor miracle for the remainder of the season, it starts right now. At home, Gattuso likes his chances, and admittedly, so do I. Milan showed some grit away from San Siro in Bulgaria, picking themselves up and seeing out an important Europa League victory. Now, it’s time to bring that same level of intensity home, squaring away three points and press for European contention next year.
The Rossoneri will have to do it without one of their breakout stars, Franck Kessie. If you’ll recall, Kessie accumulated too many yellow cards and has been banned for this fixture. That’s not something to be understated. This is a midfield that has run into some trouble this season, so we’ll need to see a strong showing from Lucas Biglia today to make up for it. I’m willing to bet Patrick Cutrone gets the nod once again and I expect some great link up play between himself and Hakan. The two were really clicking in Ludogorets, Gattuso should look to capitalize on that. Our predicted lineup doesn’t see any real changes except we’re thinking Locatelli will get the start in place of the suspended Kessie.
2-0 Milan with goals from Cutrone and Hakan
Match Date, Time and Location
Sunday, February 18, 2:45 PM (ET), 7:00 p.m. (GMT)
San Siro, Italy
Italy: Sky Sport 1, Sky Super Calcio and Sky Calcio 1
USA: BeIN Sports
Canada: Sportsnet World
Other countries can find their match listings at livesoccertv.com
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