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Tonali: I’m not sure who my dad will support!

18 Sep 2023
Sandro Tonali-Newcastle

Newcastle star discusses his return to AC Milan, where his father has a season ticket

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Sandro Tonali has admitted the allegiance of his father will be in question when Newcastle United travel to take on AC Milan in their return to the UEFA Champions League after a 20-year absence on Tuesday.

The Italian midfielder, who spent three seasons with the Serie A club, faces his former side for the first time since his summer move to the Premier League.

See: Can Newcastle expose Milan weakness?

"I don't know who he will support," Tonali said of his father, Giandomenico, who has been a San Siro season ticket-holder for several years.

"I don't want to be in his head but I think he will take care of me! I hope he will support me but it's very difficult to change a supporter's mind about their team. I think he will support Milan and support me. Maybe he will want a draw?"

Tonali made an immediate impact for Newcastle, scoring his first goal for the club just six minutes into his debut and setting them on their way to a 5-1 win over Aston Villa.

'I was kind of lost when I first arrived'

However, the 23-year-old revealed he understandably felt "lost" as he adjusted to his new environment.

“This summer has been hard and I’ve had a difficult start," said Tonali, who was an unused substitute in Saturday's 1-0 victory against Brentford.

"At the beginning it was not easy to find my place at Newcastle, but I have found people who supported since the very beginning and they are still helping so after the first match, I felt at ease, I was happier thanks to the help of Mr [Eddie] Howe and the whole staff and I started to be happier, they really helped me out.

"My team-mates have been amazing, they have helped me out a lot, especially with the language. At the beginning, I was kind of lost. But it is getting easier and I’m very happy. It is getting easier.”

'A proud moment for everybody'

Howe, who takes charge of his first European match, revealed in his pre-match press conference that he's never attended a Champions League contest due to being too busy with work.

The Newcastle head coach was keen to outline the importance of the fixture to everyone associated with the club.

"It will be a proud moment for everyone after so long away. We have to be at our best. We want to be very competitive. We want to show our style of play. First and foremost the competitive nature in our game has to be there."

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