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'Ibrahimovic is a great champion, but AC Milan not focused on January' - Pioli plays down Zlatan rumours

5:23 PM WAT 22/11/2019
Zlatan Ibrahimovic LA Galaxy MLS 03312019
The Rossoneri boss has has hailed the Swedish striker, but has brushed off talk of a reunion between player and club

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has repeated his praise of Zlatan Ibrahimovic but insists the Serie A club are not yet focusing on January signings.

Ibrahimovic has been linked with a return to Milan, where he spent two seasons between 2010 and 2012 before moving to Paris Saint-Germain, after the 38-year-old left MLS club LA Galaxy.

Pioli has previously lauded Ibrahimovic, however, he insisted it was too early to talk about the upcoming transfer window.

Milan's coach was pressed for his thoughts on Ibrahimovic - who is now reported to be a target for new Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho - ahead of Saturday's clash with Napoli, but Pioli reiterated the Rossoneri are not yet focused on new arrivals.

"I have already explained what I think, he is a great champion for his technical skills and his professionalism," Pioli told a news conference.

"I end it here, our present is too important. With the team I have to think only of the field and tomorrow's match. For judgments on the market, I will do it later, we are only in November.

"We are focused on the difficult and very important match of tomorrow. We have to give 200 per cent and that's what I expect from the team."

Milan sit 14th in Serie A, having taken just 13 points from their opening 12 matches of the season.

However, Pioli believes Milan's display in a 1-0 defeat to Juventus before the international break gives his side a platform from which to build on.

"It starts from the performance in Turin, which was against one of the best in Europe," Pioli added.

"We now play against a strong team like Napoli which is equipped for the Champions League and to win the Scudetto. Napoli are strong but we are not far behind."

Pioli replaced former Sampdoria head coach Marco Giampaolo at the start of October after a very poor start to the campaign and has overseen some improvement in performance levels, but results continue to disappoint, with just one win and one draw from his first five games in charge.