AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has explained his decision to bench Christian Pulisic, with the USMNT star seeing just 45 minutes of action against Monza.

Stefano Pioli Justifies Surprise Line-Up Call
Pulisic

The United States international was named among the substitutes for the Rossoneri’s latest Serie A outing.

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With Milan conceding twice on the stroke of half-time, changes needed to be made at the interval – and Pulisic was among those to be introduced.

He teed up an effort for Olivier Giroud, before briefly restoring parity in the 88th minute with a stunning strike that was crashed into the top corner.

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But Milan suffered late wobbles at the end of both halves and ultimately slipped to a 4-2 defeat.

Meanwhile, Stefano Pioli has faced criticism for making six changes to the side that eased past Rennes in the Europa League, but he attempted to justify those selection calls by telling DAZN that “it is a painful defeat for the way it developed and the situation we were in.

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“The only one who was meant to start today was Rafael Leao, as he had a slight calf twinge in training this morning and did not want to risk it, but the others were in good shape.

“Pulisic did not train yesterday, as he was tired, and Rafa felt he wasn’t ready.

“Christian has never played so much in recent years, so he needed some rest”.

Disappointing Defeat

Pioli added on the reasons for Milan suffering a disappointing defeat: “We moved the ball around too slowly.

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“But Monza also put everyone behind the ball and waited for us.

“The game changed, unfortunately for us, with all those incidents going from the interruption to the goals and the card.

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“These are all incidents where a team like ours ought to be sharper, more concentrated and more on their toes.”

Read more: Emiliano Martinez Drops Hint He Wants To Join Lionel Messi

Milan have missed the chance to go second in Serie A and are now 11 points adrift of arch-rivals Inter in a title battle that is quickly becoming a one-horse race.

Pulisic and Co will be back in action on Thursday when taking in the second leg of their Europa League knockout round play-off against Rennes.

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