Pioli wants more from Milan to help 'champion' Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic cannot be relied upon to win games for Milan on his own, insists head coach Stefano Pioli.

Former LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.   -  Getty Images

Stefano Pioli says Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a "champion" but cannot win games singlehandedly, as Milan targets improvement across the team and potentially further January moves.

Ibrahimovic is in line to make his first appearance since rejoining Milan as Serie A returns from the mid-season break this weekend.

The 38-year-old is in the squad to face Sampdoria, having arrived from LA Galaxy on a free transfer.

Head coach Pioli is delighted to welcome Ibrahimovic back to the club, but he sees plenty more work to do, with the Rossoneri 11th ahead of this round of fixtures.

"It's not that we think Ibra is the saviour - nobody thinks that he can solve all the problems," Pioli told a news conference.

"He certainly has an added value in everyday life, but we all have to do something more. He won't make us win games alone - we will do that if we play as a team.

"Ibra is a champion. He will prove it again because he has the desire and passion, but it is the team that will have to do much better."

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Discussing Ibrahimovic's condition, Pioli added: "He is in the squad. He is fine as a player who last played two months ago. He has had few training sessions but is improving.

"If he is in the squad, it means that he is available. There is a possibility that he will play."

Krzysztof Piatek was Milan's big signing last January, but he has scored only four times this season, prompting reports in England of a bid from Newcastle United.

But Pioli suggested Piatek could yet play alongside Ibrahimovic, although the coach will not leave his new veteran signing out just to keep others happy.

"Everyone can play together," Pioli said when asked of Piatek. "What matters is balance and creating more scoring chances than opponents.

"We are already putting the cart before the horse [discussing the response to potential line-ups], but I will not be influenced by this. My goal is only to deploy the best possible line-up."

Milan may not yet be done in the market either, as Pioli added: "We are looking for a defender.

"We already have clear ideas. If there is a chance to change something and improve, the club will do it."

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