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'We'll need to be alert for 90 minutes' - AC Milan boss warns his side ahead of Rovers test

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AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli is wary of the threat Shamrock Rovers will pose his side

AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli is wary of the threat Shamrock Rovers will pose his side

AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli is wary of the threat Shamrock Rovers will pose his side

They have talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic on board but AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli has told his squad they need to be "alert" to the danger posed by Shamrock Rovers in Thursday's Europa League battle in Dublin.

There was one boost for Pioli ahead of the meeting with Rovers, Milan's first competitive game of the season, as Ibrahimovic was passed fit to travel despite recent injury worries and was included in the 20-man squad for the flight to Dublin for the behind-closed-doors game.

"I'd have preferred it if Ibrahimovic had played a bit more in the friendlies, but he's completely recovered and is always ready, motivated and competitive," says Milan boss Pioli.

The fact that players such as Ante Rebic (suspended) and Rafael Leão (illness) are missing is a slight concern for Pioli who admits that the superior match fitness of a Rovers side who are about to play their 14th competitive game of the year is a factor.

"We're excited to start the new season and try to finish this road that would lead us to the Europa League. These are only the qualifiers; our aim is to reach the group stage," Pioli said.

"European football is where a club as storied as this one belongs, we want to get back there. Our season begins with Shamrock Rovers.

"Unfortunately, we have one or two big absentees, but we need to look at the positives that this can bring to the game. We know how tough these first matches can be: they've played more games and have more minutes in the legs.

"We'll need to be alert for 90 minutes," he added.

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