Pioli: “We need to improve on the quality of our play, we are solely focused on tomorrow’s game, Piątek and Leão…”

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Stefano Pioli during a press conference at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

Stefano Pioli has spoken ahead of his Tardini return, talking of the ‘technical efficiency’ that Milan need to work on.

Milan sacked Marco Giampaolo after 7 games in charge and replaced him with Pioli and tomorrow is Stefano’s 7th game as the boss of the Diavolo.

While performances have certainly improved, results have been severely lacking so far in Pioli’s tenure. On Sunday at 15:00 CET, his Rossoneri face Parma at Stadio Ennio Tardini and they will try to start a new path.

“How has the week been in training, especially in light of the team dinner this week? It was important to reinforce our concept of being a group, our team spirit,” Pioli told reporters in today’s press conference. “It is only by working as a team that we can come out of our currents slump. We need to continue becoming tighter and more united as a group, working towards the same objective.

“What will Milan need to take from the last few positive performances into tomorrow’s game? Parma is an excellent team with very specific characteristics, they are very efficient. Their defense and offense are very effective. We need to play with the same spirit we had in the last games. But we need to improve on the quality of our play, we need to be precise, not just in possession but also in our movement off the ball. Of course, we need to lose fewer balls and we need to be more precise in our passing. We need to improve the quality of every aspect of our game.

The squad during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

“Musacchio said this week that while it’s true that ‘needless to say, we play well but we need to make points’ and if tomorrow’s game weights more than others? Over the course of the season, there are always games that are more important than a simple three points. But opportunity never comes knocking – we have to create our own opportunities, our own chances; that is a thing our players need to be aware of.

“If I see fire from those who enter in the course of matches and if I’m seeing a different attitude from the whole team? Whoever starts needs to be burning with passion and the same goes for the players who come off the bench. We need to all be incredibly determined, we are a squad, we’re a team, we’re Milan – whether a player starts of he comes off the bench, whether they play 90 or 10 minutes they must give everything they’ve got. It would be a terrible thing if I had to intervene and make changes because players were not motivated and not determined. We have our objective, we know what we need to do to reach it and we’re on the right road.

Stefano Pioli and Theo Hernández during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

“If Piątek will play from the start tomorrow? I will reveal tomorrow who will start… everyone is available except for Duarte. I want to thank Léo for working so hard since I’ve joined, he has been extremely professional and determined and he’s also shown excellent quality. His operation went well and I wish for him to come back stronger because he’s a valid and important member of our squad. We need players with his quality and especially his attitude. Paquetá will also be unavailable because he’s not yet recovered from the knock he picked up at the beginning of the week. But aside from that, tomorrow I’ll choose my starting eleven.

“If Piątek has perhaps a personal problem as his shots are not as effective as they were last season and that he’s not as determined on the ball as he was last season? I don’t believe that a game is won or lost by an individual. It’s important for everyone to work together. He is performing well because he gives us depth. They were a lot of chances he could have scored but was unable to, but it’s important that he gets into the right positions. Of course, he can improve, but so can all our players.

Krzysztof Piątek during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

“If the talk in the press about Ibrahimović can create extra pressure that can hamper the development of Piątek and Leão? The rumours about Ibra are your job. I don’t know if Piątek and Leão read the sports papers, but at the moment, in the dressing room, we are not discussing this situation, we are focused on what we’re doing. There’s plenty of time before we have to talk about the January mercato.

“If I’m not satisfied with the performances of Leão seeing as his time on the field has diminished considerably lately? I think Leão has specific characteristics: he is not a striker who fills up the box. He’s not a point of reference for the rest of the team up front. He can do something more and he has the quality to become an important player.

Rafael Leão during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

“Do I believe Bonaventura plays better in midfield or in attack as Jack said during the week that his favorite position was a winger? Well, he didn’t say that to me… I think that talented, intelligent players can play in many different positions – players such as Bonaventura. We are lacking a slight bit of technical efficiency and Jack is a player that can help us improve in that aspect. I don’t think where he plays is so decisive.

“How can you improve the technical efficiency? It regards many aspects of the game, including passing. Making the pass to the wrong player, making the pass to the player who is already marked… tomorrow we face an opponent who knows to make the most of these mistakes. We need to make the right choices, as well as passing properly. Whoever is in possession needs to make the right pass. And these aspects are certainly trained or can be trained. You can train a player to make the right choice, and you can also train the other player to make the right runs. We are currently shooting a lot more but not shooting efficiently and that is certainly something that can be improved. We are conceding goals despite not conceding a lot of chances to our opponents and we are scoring few goals despite taking a lot of shots.

Giacomo Bonaventura during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

“How are Caldara and Gabbia doing? Mattia is doing well but he is not in top shape yet, so he’ll be playing with the Primavera to improve his match fitness, to give him rhythm and intensity; in training, we try to emulate situations that players find during the match, but it’s not possible to make it 100% the same. Matteo meanwhile played with the under-21 Italy team, he’s young and reliable and he’s waiting to be called into action.

“If Ricardo Rodríguez can be extra solution as a center back? Rodríguez is also gritting his teeth, he is currently playing with a slight injury but he’s given his availability. He could be an alternative there, he knows how to read the game, he knows how to stay on the field and build also from behind. So he is an alternative.

Suso and Davide Calabria during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

“If Milan’s objective is the Champions League? Our only objective at the moment is to focus on the games ahead of us. We must be realistic. We know where we are in the table. We are aware of our difficulties. We know we have improved, we have yet to obtain the wins that will help us climb up the table.

“How do I feel returning to the Tardini where I played and coached? Well I’m definitely a Parmesan 100%, that’s where I was born, that’s where I grew up. Parma is my city and Parma is the club where I started out as a player. I played in Serie A for over a decade, but I made my debut as a professional in Serie C with Parma. It was one of my greatest satisfactions, even though I reached great levels as a player. As a coach, however, I joined the club in a very difficult moment: the club was struggling financially, so it was not easy. However, I’m 100% a Milanista, focused solely on winning this game for us.

The squad during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

“What percentage of the squad is intelligent players of whom I often speak? I think there are many. We need to build the confidence of our players and the way to do that is to pick up important results. Winning helps us to improve the quality of our players.

“How important it is for the team to win a string of games now that the toughest part is behind the team? I am very optimistic based on the work I’ve seen the players do in training and on the field. I am pleased with the determination they’ve shown. But we are solely focused on tomorrow’s game. Talking about future games will come after tomorrow’s match. The only thing we’re focused on at the moment is to make the most of this opportunity to return to winning ways.

Stefano Pioli during a press conference at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

“If the players suffer from watching the Champions League on TV like the fans do and if they are aware of how important returning to the Champions League would be? I’d like to make a joke but you’d take it the wrong way: Wednesday night we all ate out together but the truth is we are Milan and the right place for Milan is the European stage. But it’s pointless to talk about it now, it’s pointless to talk about whether the players are aware of that or not. The players are aware we need to improve and we need to climb up the table. The team is alive, they fight for the entire game. What we need to do is improve the quality of our play. If we want to make it back to the European stage, it’s time to start getting points, which is the key step. It certainly isn’t easy, Parma is a very tough opponent but this is an opportunity we must seek.

“How much of Pioli is in this squad at the moment? There are many things I like about how the team is performing. But there are also a lot of things we are lacking. There is no such thing as a perfect match and to expect one would be unrealistic. I want to see my players transferring the work we do during the week onto the field on matchday. We are clearly still missing something, it’s normal, it couldn’t be any other way, and it takes time even though we know that in this business there is no time. At such an important and ambitious club, results and attractive play are expected as soon as possible.”

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ola
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well talked. hope tomorrow your guys will follow your instruction and lack will be on their side. 3 point all the way

nick
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nick

Milan still playing the wrong formation. How I wish Conte was our coach. Just look at the Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez.

Milan need to play 343 or 352 or 3412 and use Theo Hernández and Conti as wingers. They are not good defensively but they are amazing wingers.

Nesta1
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Nesta1

I agree but I do like bono as a left winger.

nick
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nick

If we use 343 then yes, Bonaventura would be the preferred choice as the LW over Çalhanoğlu who needs to be sold. This team is poorly built and the players we have is not being used to their strengths. It is pretty obvious that Theo and Conti are not good defensively yet we still continue to use a back 4 especially knowing that these players like to get forward. Unbelievable. I’m so sick of the brainless idiots at Milan that don’t know how to build a winning team. Either Milan buy Layvin Kurzawa for LB and Serge Aurier for RB… Read more »

Djuka
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Djuka

With Aurier and Kurzawa we wil have four back wich love to go forward

dejan10
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dejan10

Agreed. Conte was the obvious choice to be our manager as some of us pointed out last season but unless something drastic happens it looks like we’re a Pioli/Giampaolo/Gattuso-level club now.

soheil balini
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soheil balini

why bash Pioli? he is probably the best coach we had since Allegri. We always do this. we dont like what we have and somehow things get worse!

Rossi
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Rossi

Pioli is ok for now, but if the chance arise to get a top manager in the summer we should go for it.

soheil balini
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soheil balini

yeah we should go for another year 0!

new coach, new directors new players. we should also sell all our remaining young players and buy all Juve leftovers 🙂

Djuka
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Djuka

We should definitly invest some money in winter and sumer, get Toreira to alow Benacer have advanced role where he is beter, also and Paqueta get fast wingers, Bergwein for example, also there wil be some interesting free players in sumer, maybe Kavani if dont get Ibra, if i am not wrong tax for his salary wil be lower since he is returning to Italy, there is Malanga Sar player by the taste of Eliot, also Pedrihno from Brazil…

Cess
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Cess

Gattuso has been the best we had… obtain more point and table stand than any of our past coaches and also able to beat Almight Juventus …. it does not matter how you play.. the most important is 3 point he get that for us when we dont even expect it.

soheil balini
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soheil balini

Rino has lower point/game ratio than Mihailovic (1.76 points per game)
he has similar points compare to Montella (1.71 & 1.72)

the most important thing is not winning when you have a young team to develop. Of course I rate Rino higher than what I believed last year but his lack of football knowledge lead us to not be in UCL. Pioli on the other hand , made us play football again. I hope the players help him to get the results

Rossi
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Rossi

Just a new coach dosent mean year zero. Guardiola might be free in the summer so missing on that would be worse than missing on Conte.

Agustinar
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Agustinar

I agree with 343, 352, or 3412 but the problem is we don’t have the right player for RCB since Duarte get injured. Musa ? I’m not sure

Agustinar
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Agustinar

With these formation we will have solid back up for Theo and Conti, that is Borini

soheil balini
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soheil balini

Rodriguez, Gabbia & maybe Caldara

Agustinar
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Agustinar

No Biglia again please. Not excellence in creativity and vision. Fair positioning but almost always dispossed the ball by opponent from behind. He doesn’t give solid contribution to the team. It would be better to try Kessie as back up for Bennacer

Agustinar
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Agustinar

I prefer 352 as foundation with trio center midfielder of Kessie-Bennacer-Paqueta and Piatek-Leao/Suso upfront. When we need to be more offensive, change to 343 with Paqueta-Kessie/Bennacer in CM and trio upfront of Bona-Piatek-Leao/Suso. If we use 3412 due to opponent characteristic then Hakan/Bona replace Bennacer for the one behind strikers

Ted
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Ted

Good ol’ 442 for my taste

PingPong
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PingPong

I think we should continue with what we are doing. Our performances are good yet there is plenty of reasons to believe we will improve even more with consistancy. 433 is a good formation where we can easily switch to 4231 during matches when we need a extra man up top. All in all my belief is that consistancy is what this team needs, not change in formations