AC Milan boss delivers ‘important’ Newcastle United message after Inter Milan humiliation

AC Milan will be hoping to bounce back from Saturday’s 5-1 derby defeat to Intern Milan when they host Newcastle United in their Champions League opener.

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It was Milan’s first defeat of the season and their heaviest loss to city rivals Inter since 2009 and the first time they had conceded five to Inter since 1974. A Henrikh Mkhitaryan brace and goals from Marcus Thuram, Hakan Calhanoglu and Davide Frattesi saw Inter claim a convincing Serie A win with Rafael Leao scoring a consolation goal for Milan.

Next up at the San Siro are Newcastle United, who head into their first Champions League match in over 20 years on the back of a 1-0 win over Brentford at St James’ Park.

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AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli said after the Inter defeat: “The match went the way they wanted it to. Then it gets tricky to try and get it back under control.”

“I made my substitutions, and we conceded the penalty right away. Inter are a strong team, but we’re strong too,” the Milan coach argued.

“We can still compete for the league title, and for the top spots in the table.”

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Pioli went on to back his squad to bounce back and ‘do better’ against Newcastle on Tuesday (5:45pm kick-off BST).

“Today’s result doesn’t take anything away from the quality and depth of my squad,” the Milan boss added.

“The important thing now is to prepare for the Champions League,” Pioli said. “My team is mature and will be able to analyse what went wrong so that we can do better on Tuesday.

“There is certainly no risk of psychological blowback in the Champions League. It is only the start of the season and we have what it takes to be competitive.

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“This is the classic match that helps you to grow in the long run, even though the result is far too heavy considering the way we played.”

Milan have won the Champions League on seven occasions and reached the semi-final of the competition last season, losing to Inter over two legs.

This season marks Newcastle’s third Champions League campaign after previously competing in the competition during the 1997-98 and 2002-03 seasons.