July 19, 2020 / 8:20 AM / in a month

Milan coach brushes off Ibrahimovic's angry reaction to substitution

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Serie A - Lazio v AC Milan - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - July 4, 2020 AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli before the match, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

(Reuters) - AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli has brushed off Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s angry reaction to being substituted in the 5-1 win over Bologna, saying only that the 38-year-old needs to avoid over-exerting himself amid a crowded fixture list.

The Swede was clearly annoyed at being taken off in the 62nd minute of Saturday’s match at San Siro, the third time in four games he has been replaced around the hour mark, and ignored a fist bump from Pioli as he left the field.

“It’s natural that he doesn’t like being substituted,” said Pioli. “He said something to me which I honestly didn’t understand.”

“He was important for the team but I have to make sure he conserves energy - we are playing every three days and he is coming back from injury.”

Writing by Brian Homewood, Editing by Angus MacSwan

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