June 11, 2020 / 5:16 PM / a month ago

AC Milan coach Pioli unruffled by Rangnick talk

FILE PHOTO: Serie A - AC Milan v Genoa - San Siro, Milan, Italy - March 8, 2020 AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo

MILAN (Reuters) - AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli brushed aside suggestions on Thursday that he could be forced to make way for Ralf Rangnick at the end of the season as his side prepared to restart their campaign with a Coppa Italia match against Juventus.

Despite not playing since March 8 due to the COVID-19 stoppage, Milan have undergone a turbulent last three months with incessant speculation that the club want to bring in former RB Leipzig and Schalke 04 coach Rangnick.

Former Milan player Zvonimir Boban was sacked as the club’s chief football officer in March for criticising chief executive Ivan Gazidis and there was a reportedly heated meeting between Gazidis and the squad on Wednesday.

Pioli, whose side visit Juventus in their semi-final second leg on Friday, said he was well used to the pressures of Italian football, where he has coached more than a dozen clubs.

“In my experiences, it has been very rare for me to know what my professional future would be with 14 matches of the season still to play,” he said. “I have a single, clear objective in my mind, which is to do my best and get the most out of this season.”

Pioli said it was an unusual situation, with the season set to be completed between Friday and Aug. 2.

“This is all new for everyone,” he said. “We’ll be playing in high temperatures so we’ll have to be careful, taking care of every little detail, especially with regards to recovery and nutrition, to limit the risks involved.

“After not playing for so long, conditions change. The calendar’s tight and we’ll be playing every three days, but everyone will be needed.”

He said the target was to get Milan back into Europe, through Serie A or the Coppa. “The cup comes first, so that’s what we’re focused on,” he added.

Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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