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Why isn’t Christian Pulisic playing for AC Milan? Stefano Pioli drops USMNT captain

The Champions League returns with Newcastle United making a trip to the illustrious San Siro.

Christian Pulisic dropped from AC Milan team

USMNT captain Christian Pulisic has been dropped from the AC Milan lineup to face Newcastle United.

Pulisic made the move to Milan over the summer and impressed in his first appearances for the club, scoring on his debut for the Rossoneri.

However the 25-year-old was involved in a chastening 5-1 defeat to local rivals Inter Milan last weekend. Pulisic was substituted early in the second half, with his side two goals down.

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Pulisic and USMNT teammate Yunus Musah will both be on the bench for Milan’s first Champions League fixture of the season. They take on a Newcastle side who return to European football’s elite club competition for the first time in two decades.

Stefano Pioli hopes to “switch the focus”

AC Milan had begun the season in impressive form, winning all three of their opening Serie A fixtures. However that promising start came skidding to a halt on Saturday when they were humiliated by their city rivals.

Speaking after the game, Milan head coach Stefano Pioli admitted that he had been surprised by the nature of their derby defeat.

“It hasn’t been easy, we had a great deal of expectation surrounding the derby, there was a lot of positivity and confidence, and it went how it went, badly,” he said.

“It was a huge disappointment but we have the Champions League now, thankfully, because it’s the only way we can actually try and switch our focus.”

AC Milan were comfortably beaten by their city rivals.
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AC Milan were comfortably beaten by their city rivals.Roberto BreganiEFE

Last season AC Milan surprised many by making it to the semi-final of the Champions League, before being eliminated at the hands of Inter. A key player in last season’s unexpected run to the final four was Sandro Tonali, the Milan-born midfielder who grew up supporting the club.

AC Milan’s precarious financial situation meant that they were forced to sell him over the summer, to Champions League opponents Newcastle. Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s game, Pioli admitted that it could be an emotional return.

“I think it will be very emotional to come up against Sandro Tonali, I’ll give him a big hug. Sandro was an important player during our time together, we won trophies together,” he said.