Lazio vs AC Milan - Montella impressed by Deulofeu's instant impact at Milan

Posted Monday, February 13, 2017 by PA

Vincenzo Montella is enjoying watching Gerard Deulofeu "blossom" at AC Milan as he looks for the Spanish winger to make an impact against Lazio.

The 22-year-old Barcelona academy product was floundering at Everton before Montella brought him to Milan on loan in the January transfer window.

An effective counterweight to his compatriot Suso, the former Liverpool man who plays on the right wing, Deulofeu was the star performer as nine-man Milan snatched a 1-0 win at Bologna on Wednesday, the Spaniard skinning several defenders before setting up Mario Pasalic for a late decider.

Rossoneri boss Montella has teased the possibility of using the loanee as a central striker when his team visit Rome, and hailed his connection with Suso.

Speaking to, he said: "From the media's perspective, no one was expecting Gerard to perform like this.

"But he has always been considered a great talent who did not yet blossom.

"They are different players to one another, but they can play together and we are happy they are here with us."

When asked about deploying Deulofeu as a 'false nine', former Roma striker Montella said: "I hear this a lot, but I think the important thing for a striker is to score, no matter from which position.

"We are trying different solutions, we'll see how the team reacts in training. I am sure that whoever will play will do his best."

The victory at Bologna snapped a run of three straight defeats that had seen Milan tumble out of the top four and, ahead of the trip to the Eternal City, Montella has warned against any debility with Champions League football still attainable.

"Lazio are a very physical team," he said. "They have scored the highest number of goals from set-pieces.

"We knew about this also when we played them back in September and we did well to stop them.

"They have a fine mix of youth and experience. They have been up there in the league for a few years now, showing great consistency.

"It's going to be a tough and fascinating game, we have to show all our qualities to win. The three points are important to make it into Europe, but are not decisive."

Milan are without Riccardo Montolivo, Giacomo Bonaventura, Mattia De Sciglio, Luca Antonelli, Alessio Romagnoli and Davide Calabria through injury, while Lazio are missing only Luis Alberto and Patric.

Simone Inzaghi, who has guided the Biancocelesti to within eight points of third-placed Napoli, told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "We are expecting a tour de force from Milan, and we will have to manage our energy properly.

"Before worrying about Roma (in the Coppa Italia semi-finals), we have to concentrate on the league and securing fourth place, where we deserve to be.

"We must continue to take points, assiduously, while knowing that we want to stay where we are right to the end."

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