Stefano Pioli was disappointed with the defeat against Juventus, as he thinks even a draw would have been important for the morale of the team.
Milan played their best seasonal match of last night, but as happened so often at the Allianz Stadium, the Rossoneri deserved points but returned home empty handed.
The Diavolo had several scoring chances, especially in the first half, but were characteristically wasteful. Juve were relatively poor, but their immense quality on the bench ultimately made the difference as Douglas Costa and Paulo Dybala won the game for them, with the Argentine, who replaced Cristiano Ronaldo in the 55′ minute, scoring the winner in the 77′ minute.
“It’s a pity because the performance was there,” Pioli told MilanTV. “It goes to show that at this level, we still need that bit more and we need to find it within ourselves. Our performances are improving and we had the right spirit, we were a match for a very strong opponent. At the moment, definitely stronger than us. However, we were still lacking that extra quality, accuracy and attention. And it cost us in the end. A positive result would have been important especially for morale.
“We did what we had prepared. We had sever chances and when matches are so tight, the incidents decide. Just before the conceded goal we had the ball to go on goal, but we didn’t succeed. We need to important our standings. We must also be worried, we must return to winning. This cannot be our place in the standing.”
Speaking to Sky, Pioli said: “The result was missing, because the performance was there, we were at least on par with our opponents, if not more. It’s clear that if you don’t score, then a team like Juventus can find a [winning] play. It’s a shame because the guys put in an important performance. We have to work and grow because the standings is not ‘da Milan’.
“Solutions to find? In all games we try to find solutions, we have chosen to tighten up more so as not to let them play. Sometimes in the first half there was a lack of breadth. After the entrance of Bonaventura, it was to play a little more on Pjanić and to cover the wings.
“I think we played a game with great intensity and we played ball-on-ball against a very strong opponent. We still need that extra something in many situations to allow us to win the games. Unfortunately, it’s the same thing I said last Sunday after Lazio, which is that we had the opportunities and I don’t think many have 15 shots on goal the way we did at the Juventus Stadium. We have to live for the goal because we have to win games. We also conceded a goal when we should’ve been tighter in our defending and marking. I can only underline that the performance is good, but we need the results too.
“The standings? From Wednesday on, the standings will be outside of Milanello. We need to improve it. It’s time to take some punches and work hard. I see improvements every day, I saw them in recent matches, as we were by no means inferior to Lazio or Juventus. We must understand that at this level, every single ball can be decisive.
“It’s not so easy to play against Juventus, we played it well. We had a great opportunity, a draw would not have changed the standings but we would have the morale of a very young team. There will be other games where we will have to demonstrate this personality and greater quality to return to winning.
“The offensive phase? Matches are decided in the penalty area, but it’s important to create. We are not in a great moment but the guys have shown that they believe. The winning jab has been missed. We haven’t had as many points as we expected, nor as many as we probably deserved lately, but the performances have been there
“A three-man defense as a solution? I don’t think so.”
Pioli also had a post-match press conference: “What do I have to say to the team? That we have to insist because the performance was positive, but that is not enough to bring home a positive result.
“The reasons that cause goals to be conceded in the last minutes? We have to stay more compact and focused. In the second half maybe we stretched too far. The photograph of our current situation was the moment when Bonaventura had a ball that a player of level usually doesn’t make mistakes on. We conceded a minute later. We have to improve, we missed that little something to bring home a result that would have been deserved. I have to ask for more. Milan must not be here, it must be clear to everyone. We have to get out of this situation, we have the qualities to do it.
“If the team is lacking ‘nastiness’? The team fought, won battles, going elbow-to-elbow with an opponent superior to us at the moment. We lacked a bit of determination and attention to go ahead and not to concede a goal by Dybala. Everyone worked well for the team, even those who are more players of quality.
“If the standings worries? You have to worry, because concern brings attention and will allow us to do our best. From Wednesday, the standings will be hanging anywhere in Milanello. If the team played well because they had nothing to lose? A positive result would have meant so much, even if it partial, not for the standings… On the commitment, spirit and desire to fight on a part with a stronger opponent than us, I can’t blame the team for anything.”