AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli has brushed off Zlatan Ibrahimovic's angry reaction to being substituted in the 5-1 win over Bologna, saying only the 38-year-old needs to avoid over-exerting himself amid a crowded fixture list.
The Swede was clearly annoyed at being taken off in the 62nd minute of Saturday's match at San Siro, the third time in four games he has been replaced around the hour mark, and ignored a fist bump from Pioli as he left the field.
"It's natural that he doesn't like being substituted," said Pioli. "He said something to me which I honestly didn't understand.
He was important for the team but I have to make sure he conserves energy - we are playing every three days and he is coming back from injury.
Milan on the verge of Europa League
Milan thrashed Bologna 5-1 on Saturday
Image credit: Getty Images
Algerian midfielder Ismael Bennacer scored his first Serie A goal as a rampant AC Milan thumped Bologna 5-1 to maintain their excellent recent form at the San Siro on Saturday.
Alexis Saelemaekers also scored his maiden goal for the club to go with strikes from Hakan Calhanoglu, Ante Rebic and Davide Calabria as Milan overwhelmed the visitors and might have won by a greater margin.
They move to 56 points from 34 games to take a grip on sixth place, the final Europa League qualifying spot, and keep up their record of scoring two or more goals in all eight Serie A matches they have played since the resumption of the season.
Bologna, who are 10th on 43 points, looked lethargic and created little in the Milan penalty area, but did score just before halftime through Japan international defender Takehiro Tomiyasu, his first for the club.