Krzysztof Piątek gave a candid interview to ‘Foot Truck’, talking about his move to Milan, life under Marco Giampaolo, and his relationship with Lucas Paquetá.
Piątek joined the Rossoneri from Genoa in January 2019 but still managed to finish as the Top Scorer of the Rossoneri.
But Krzysztof has found things difficult in pre-season and despite his best efforts failed to score in the first two Matchdays of the 2019/20 Serie A season. The Polish striker is currently on international duty and today he gave an interview to Foot Truck.
“Why I stopped scoring? [Laughs] Actually in official games I have not scored in only a game and a half,” he said, as reported by Milannews.it. “After pre-season I wasn’t as physically ready as I am now. My legs were still heavy and I felt it in the last sessions and also on the first Matchday against Udinese, so I wasn’t fresh. But now I’m already in shape and I feel good. Then there’s also the new coach, the new system and this system is not simple to implement and we all have to learn the new system, but it takes time because the system is demanding.
“Defenders in Italy? There were occasions against Cesena [in the pre-season game which ended 0-0] in which defenders were holding me with both arms, like in a fight. For me it’s strange that the referees in Italy protect defenders more than forwards. It doesn’t seem normal to me because the attacker must attack and the defender must defend. When one attacks then it’s obvious that everyone defends themselves as they can in different ways.
“If I was lucky last season? I don’t look at it that way. I didn’t expect such a strong season. If you score 30 goals in 48 matches you are not lucky. If you score 8 goals in 5-6 games then you may have had luck, but it wasn’t like that. This season I have to confirm it, but it’s not an obsession. I scored a lot last season, both for the club and for the national team, so you can’t just talk about luck. In the friendly matches with Genoa I scored a lot compared to those with Milan because were playing against teams from Serie B, C and D. Instead, at Milan you play against Benfica and Bayern Munich and against teams that would soon start their league campaigns.
“The curse of the #9? Giampaolo jokingly told me that people take these things seriously. In the last game against Brescia, when the ball almost crossed the line, the players joked with me in the locker room saying ‘why this #9? Change it’, but I’ve always wanted to play with it. In general, I’ve always wanted to play with the number 9 because I think the striker should have this number, and when there was a chance to get it I asked for it immediately.
“The type of striker I am? I’m not a complete #9 and certainly I have some gaps like everyone else. A lot of people in Italy say that I’m a typical number 9, a typical poacher that is always lurking in the box, and that I have difficulty playing outside the box. I don’t agree with that too much because when I look at the statistics after the games I see that I have a lot of touches on the ball and that I participate in the game. I certainly have to work on my headers and my shot with the left foot, and on playing with my back to the goal. I think I already do it well but I can improve.
“Who make people laugh in the locker room? [Laughs] There’s only one – Franck Kessié. He’s very, very positive and incredibly crazy. He doesn’t care, he enters the locker room screaming, dancing, turning on the music when everyone is one their phones. Bakayoko used to always dress in fashion, he was the ‘top model’ on the team, always with branded clothes and watches.
“The relationship with Paquetá? Somehow we can communicate, with a broken Italian. Sometimes he says something Portuguese and uses sign language. Gattuso was always confused about how we got on so well, but we are close friends. He has incredible potential. He not only has technical skills, but also powerful legs and he’s physically strong. He also has that talent and that ability to take risks and that makes Giampaolo angry at times, but he’s a player who needs to be given confidence.
“Fabio Quagliarella [who won the top scorer award under Giampaolo last year]? I hope to win one day the Capocannoniere award, but to do so there is still a lot of work to be done. I have great respect for Quagliarella, who was the Capocannoniere at this age. I wanted to win but I couldn’t.
“The way Milan play? Milan is a completely different team compared to Genoa. At Genoa we played simple football. When we faced the big teams we were playing with long balls for me or for Christian Kouamé and we were there fighting. At Milan we sometimes miss these simple balls to fight for with the defenders. I like to win these battles in speed and pick up the ball from a long pass. At Milan we play more with the ball and with possession, but I think sometimes you have to look for the simplest solution and play a long ball or after two touches switch the play. I’m definitely missing these balls as a striker and maybe this can also be a problem.
“My move to Milan and its consequences? My life after the transfer to Milan has changed. More people recognize me and Milan opened the doors for me for many things, not just football. I’m happy about this, but for of all I am aware that football, together with my family, is the most important thing for me. I also live in a neighborhood where there are not so many people, so I can easily go out for a walk with my dog, but sometimes even there someone recognizes me. I’m pleased with this fact that people know me, but it’s certainly difficult to walk near the Duomo. I went with my wife to a restaurant once and when we went out, 20-30 people were running behind us. I ran away with a taxi but people were still knocking on the taxi window and asked for photos. It’s also difficult to shop at the supermarket because there are so many people asking for a photo.
“The pre-season? We had a really intense preparation, where we worked a lot on the muscles in the gym. I’d thought I’d get rid of the fatigue but I carried it until the last friendly matches. Giampaolo? He is very demanding and he always has 15 options ready for a play. For us it was difficult because many of us were still absent at the start of the pre-season and for 75 percent of it there were a lot of guys from the Primavera, so we didn’t have the chance to try all the plays that Giampaolo wanted. Now it seems to me that everything is going in the same direction and that we are improving from one day to the next.
“There is still a lot to do in defense, in pressing and in attack. I’m trying to move like the coach asks because I’m aware of being able to believe in this way and to be able to become even stronger.”