AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli has claimed that Empoli will be tougher opponents than Chelsea.
Pioli’s men will face the Premier League side in the Champions League showdown in October.
The former Fiorentina and Inter Milan boss was appointed three years ago and won the Serie A title last season.
Milan will go into the Chelsea match looking to build on their win over Dinamo Zagreb earlier this month, which put them in a commanding position in Group E.
Chelsea, on the other hand, have lost to Dinamo Zagreb and drawn at home against RB Salzburg.
Milan, currently fifth in Serie A, face Empoli four days before their trip to Stamford Bridge.
Pioli said: “I don’t think there’s that much difference between playing well in Italy and in Europe." The Champions League does require a higher tempo, but nothing impossible.
“I understand there are expectations around the Chelsea games, but I maintain the most difficult match for us will certainly be against Empoli."
“When we go into that fixture, I’ll have welcomed the players back from international duty only two days earlier.
“I trust that if we play at our usual levels, then results against Chelsea are certainly within our reach.”
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