Sunday too soon for Ibrahimovic return, says Pioli

Ibrahimovic has been out of action since damaging his left knee during Milan's 3-0 Serie A victory over Juventus in May.

The more likely return for the Swede could be post the international break next month. (File photo)   -  GETTY IMAGES

AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not be ready to return from injury in Sunday's Serie A match at home to Cagliari, coach Stefano Pioli said.

Ibrahimovic, who will turn 40 in October, has been out of action since damaging his left knee during Milan's 3-0 Serie A victory over Juventus in May, with the coming matches after the international break a more likely target.

"They (Ibrahimovic and midfielder Franck Kessie) are doing a good job, they are improving, and I hope that from next week they will be back in the group and ready after the break," Pioli told a news conference on Saturday.

"That is when I hope to have the whole group available."

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Kessie was reported to have suffered a muscular injry in training. Milan enjoyed a marked improvement last season to book a return to the Champions League for the first time since 2013-14, form which means it is now seen in a different light according to Pioli.

"We have grown, we are more aware of our strengths," he added. "The important thing is that the team enters the pitch with clear ideas. Overcoming Cagliari will not be easy.

"We must always have this enthusiasm; we must get excited and excite our fans. Then I don’t know about our opponents, but we have grown.

"We are no longer the surprise package in the league and we try to develop."

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