Pioli: “We all need to have the mentality of Ibra in the Derby, we can win because we’re a strong team, I don’t envy Conte”

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

Stefano Pioli has spoken ahead of tomorrow’s Derby della Madonnina, saying ‘we know it will be a very difficult game, but we are confident’.

The gap in the standings between Inter (2nd) and Milan (9th) is 19 points. On paper, the Nerazzurri are clear favorites for tomorrow’s game (20:45 CET kickoff), but the Derby has rules of its own.

Tomorrow, the boys of Pioli will go on the pitch of San Siro to try and get a win in a Serie A Derby della Madonnina and paint Milano in Red and Black for the first time since 2016.

“What is the true difference between Milan and Inter in terms of strength considering the big gap in the standings? Well, the truth is Inter did a lot better than we did at the start of the season, and since then we’ve been trying to catch up. We’ve been doing quite well and I’m sure we’ll do well in the Derby,” Pioli told reporters in the press room at Milanello on Saturday.

Gianluigi Donnarumma during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

“Do I agree with the saying that ‘derbies are not played, they are won’? I completely agree. These are games, like every game, that must be prepared to be won. But there are some games that are worth more than others – games like this one. But as always, I believe that to win you need to play better than your opponents. That has to be our objective.

“How is Ibrahimović doing and if he’s fully available for tomorrow? Ibra carried out some individual training which had been programmed and had been planned ahead of time. If today he passes the test he’ll undergo then he’ll be available.

“If the Ibra condition a mind game similar to the one Inter are doing with Eriksen’s position and whether Handanović will play or not? Well, as far as I’m concerned, the best part of my job is getting players ready for the game. We have to work on our ideas, our concepts of play and we have to study our opponents’ abilities and characteristics. We’ve prepared very well for this match, we’ve prepared a very clear strategy. Hopefully, tomorrow proves to be right.

Zlatan Ibrahimović during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

“If the fact that Eriksen might play behind Lukaku change our plans? No, it doesn’t worry and I don’t think it’ll change how our opponents actually play. I don’t think the positions on the field will make much difference. There’re tactical situations that are very clear and easy to read. We are working very hard to be ready, to be dangerous, to be a compact team, and to make the right choices when our opponents attack. Within each game there are many possibilities and we need to be able to seize them.

“I said Ibra will be available if he passes the test this afternoon? Yes, we’ve carried out everything that was right to do to allow Ibra to recover from his flu and his muscle fatigue. So far, things have gone to plan, but we have the final test to carry out today, which will be training with the team.

Hakan Çalhanoğlu during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

“The difference between the teams and how important Ibrahimović’s presence will be? I honestly don’t know how much distance there is between us and them. I know we’ll be facing a team that hasn’t lost a game in a long time. But we all need to have the mentality of Ibra tomorrow: with the right determination, intensity and aggressiveness. We must play the game to our full potential.

“If I spoke to Spalletti in private after his recent comments [Luciano said that he had spoken to Milan before Pioli was signed]? I haven’t wasted any time on those things, people who focus too much on the past or the future lose out on the present. I am fully focused on our present, on the challenges we have ahead of us, which we can win and can do well in. That’s all I think about.

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

“If Inter are the strong favorites for this game? Well, like I said, when you prepare a game like tomorrow’s, you definitely prepare to win it. The team is in good form, of course we have great respect for our opponents, and they are a very strong team. Physically and technically, very solid. We know it’ll be a very difficult game, but we are confident – and we must be confident and positive.

“If there’s something Milan excel at that Inter don’t? Well, we are creating a lot and taking a lot of shots. We have to keep a hold of this desire to be constantly dangerous. If there’s something we need to improve on tomorrow is that we cannot afford to not be solid and compact in both phases of play. We must not stretch out, we must not concede too much room to our opponents, we know what we have to do and we have to do it well.

Ismaël Bennacer and Marco Brescianini during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

“I’ve been at Milan for three months and what concepts from the one I’ve worked on would I like to especially see tomorrow? There are many things, but the most important is surely that a team must show on the field to have clear ideas and to carry out those ideas for all 95 minutes. In every game there are periods of difficulty, but when you have clear, well-defined ideas and concepts, you can overcome those difficulties and do well. That is what we need to do tomorrow, that is what we’ve been doing well recently and that is what we need to do in every game starting from tomorrow.

“Leão or Rebić from the start alongside Ibrahimović? Or why not both of them together…? I’ll make my choices, I’ll consider everything and I’ll try to pick the player with the characteristics best-suited for this game, keeping the other on the bench in order to eventually change the game.

Ante Rebić during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

“What differences are there between Conte and me and if there’s something I’m envious of him for or he’s envious of me for? I don’t know what the differences are, I know him as a colleague but to be able to judge such thing I’ll have to know him a lot better than I do. I don’t know him that well… I think that the most important thing for any coach is to be able to get into players’ heads. Then, each coach does it in their own way with their own characteristics and personality, but there’s nothing I envy him for. I’m happy to be here and I’m happy to stay here.

“Why can Milan win this Derby? Because we’re a strong team in good health, that is doing well with players who are capable of being decisive.

“What would it mean to win the Derby, besides the three points? It would be a massive boost to our confidence, it would be a massive boost to our belief in ourselves and to our position in the league. We have prepared very well for a very, very important game. We need to face this game with the right mentality and the right aggressiveness. Qualification for Europe is reliant on the next 16 games of the season.

Franck Kessié, Andrea Conti and Rafael Leão during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

“The condition of the players who were in doubt like Conti and Krunić? All players are recoverable, expect for Krunić who still has some problems but we’ll see about that today with the medical report.

“Who would I take away from Inter? No one, Inter will have 11 players on the field and so will we, that’s all there is to it.

“What hope can be given to the fans that tomorrow there’ll be a positive result considering it’s been a long time since Milan last won a Derby? Well, it’s certainly a great stimulus to win tomorrow given that we haven’t won in many years. Of course there’ll be a lot of difficulties, but we need to believe that we can win this game. We need to prove, we need to battle hard, to win this game. We need to be as precise as possible, we need to do the best we can. We’re in good form, we’re coming to this game in good shape, and we’re ready.

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

“If this is a test of fire for the team? In a way, yes. The same number of points are available as in any other game but everything else that surrounds this game is important. The team has proven that it has the courage to take on these games. We’ve been through very tough moments and we’ve shown that we have the right character to overcome them. We’ve shown we have the character to take responsibility and to step up. This is another opportunity to show that, as a team, we are strong and we are ready.

“What would Milan gain from a win? Like I said, there’s a lot to be gained. But before that, we need to train well, we need to prepare well… we’ve got two training sessions before the match and we need to prepare with the right conviction, the right determination and with the right mentality needed in these games.”

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Obaino
Obaino
7 months ago

Anything is possible provided that Milan plays with preciseness and tactical awareness, and grab any opportunity when in position, forza millano, forza ragazzi

Raven
Raven
7 months ago

Conte called, gave you an advice, use Castillejo as a RW

Baresis Dream
Baresis Dream
7 months ago

We need to bring our A-game to this one; start agressive and then continue being more and agressive as the match progresses. Inter are without two key players, and even though Conte will have them well prepared, the right attitude can give us the edge. We can and MUST win this; a win here can really mark the arrival of Zlatan and cement this new lineup, making us legit 4th place candidates.

Emmy Apache
7 months ago

Inter should be given the victory to be able to challenge Juventus and moreover the Verona we couldn’t defeat just beat same champion Juventus with our outcast who we widely criticized here without giving him the chance turning an hero.
Our players are so lazy extremely lazy as if they are tied legs and brain with the management inexperience to go with it.
We spent so much money but ended buying lazy and has no plan B for everything we do. The coming of Ibrahimovic has shown having 2-3 experience players would have helped us better than this

Milan10
Milan10
7 months ago
Reply to  Emmy Apache

“Inter should be given the victory to be able to challenge Juventus”
1. any milanista who wants milan to lose is in fact NOT a milanista. i dont care if ur baresi or milan owner
2. how will inter winning scudetto be better for milan than juve winning it?
either u say ur sorry for saying that or leave now and never come back.

Baresis Dream
Baresis Dream
7 months ago
Reply to  Milan10

Juric is really this season’s coach of the year; Verona literally have a seria b level squad, snd he’s making lemonade from lemons

Milan10
Milan10
7 months ago
Reply to  Baresis Dream

if verona can finish top 6 (which i certainly hope not) then may he’ll be one of the best. as it is now, conte and simone inzaghi are 2 best coaches of serie a right now

Emmy Apache
7 months ago
Reply to  Milan10

It’s a big lie I am a confirmed milan fan since 1982 till date. I have come with milan through good and sad moments but this year our management most especially Maldini disappointed me
So instead of Juventus to win the league let inter do so.
I know it’s absurd for a milan fan to want good for inter but to me that’s what I want personally
We can’t beat inter because we are too lazy and lack vision

Martin Bernhard
Martin Bernhard
7 months ago
Reply to  Emmy Apache

One thing is to wish juve not winning serie a anylonger as im just as tired of juve as you and i can even accept inter winning the scudetto even though it would mean them surpassing us in serie a titles for the time being. I would prefer though that lazio ends up as the champions instead but you simply cant as a milan fan say that we should just hand over the win to them either and expect people to sympathize with your sentiment. Im not questioning you being a milan fan as i know you have said several… Read more »

Emmy Apache
7 months ago

You are correct in your words and I appreciate it but honestly i have my reasons for saying this. Milan is known to be of high quality side and never been inferior to any side in Italy or anywhere in the world But I believe if inter can win the Scudetto honestly we will sit tight and do the rightful things In the past have seen milan going to the derby with full of confidence but reverse is the case now, we gave away our pride and trying to shy away from the truth. Inter are more equipped and ambitious… Read more »

Martin Bernhard
Martin Bernhard
7 months ago
Reply to  Emmy Apache

Well i have no delusions in regard of milans current team compared to internazionales and frankly i wouldnt be too surprised if we end up getting clobbered 3 or 4-0 today but im certainly hoping for a draw or a win nevertheless. To add to that ive seen far less equipped teams than the current milan squad to pull off something more miraculous than it would be for us to win today.

Milan10
Milan10
7 months ago
Reply to  Emmy Apache

so because ur disappointed with the team, maldini and the mgmt u want milan to lose vs inter of all teams, messing up milan’s chances to finish top 6? and as if thats not enough, u want inter to win serie a too? i mean, baresi, kaka etc said milan can win tonite yet u want milan to lose. what kind of “milanista” are u?

niczcool
niczcool
7 months ago
Reply to  Emmy Apache

Why don’t u support Lazio for scudetto than supporting Inter to beat our Milan and be the paving block for them. Your comments is just absurd for a Milanista.

dubfire
dubfire
7 months ago

Milan – Verona 1-1, Lazio – Verona 0-0, Verona-Juventus 2-1…..Maybe missing Piatek wasn’t the issue as some of us make you think.
Hopefully we’ll make a good game against out cousins tomorrow!

Lando
Lando
7 months ago
Reply to  dubfire

Ikr. I think fans didn’t give Verona enough credit.
Of course i wanted milan to win, but we still have to respect Verona, they are no punching bag.
Fans were too easy to curse and blame here and there

Milan10
Milan10
7 months ago
Reply to  Lando

borivaldo and pazzinzaghi played like self respecting milanisti. good for them. also, like i said, sarri is an idiot. why would pro coach play same type of cb bopussy and de ligt together AND bench dybala so he could play 4-3-3 instead of 4-3-1-2? i bet juve miss proven winner allegri now, like any milanisti who understand football also should

Martin Bernhard
Martin Bernhard
7 months ago
Reply to  Lando

Playing at veronas home turf or at our own stadium with 50k+ spectatres in our back is a completeltly different thing or atleast should be and to add to that we was even one man up for around 30 minutes so NO i dont agree with what you said and im not disrespecting verona but fact is we really should have won that game and there should be no excuses why we wasnt able to do so.

Milan10
Milan10
7 months ago
Reply to  dubfire

the problem wasnt missing piatek but lack of #9 to cover for ibra. it could be piatek, cutrone or andre silva (the boy scored again yesterday btw). verona defend well but any pro team should win vs 10 men

Baresis Dream
Baresis Dream
7 months ago
Reply to  dubfire

Juric is really this season’s coach of the year; Verona literally have a seria b level squad, snd he’s making lemonade from lemons

Jon
7 months ago

Milan can do this!
IZBACK!!

whereisthespirit
whereisthespirit
7 months ago

i don’t care. as long as milan keep winning and get 3 points i am happy. i am disappointed losing point against verona.

Agustinar
Agustinar
7 months ago

Hope Ibra will fit. Play Paqueta as LM

Milan10
Milan10
7 months ago

“Who would I take away from Inter? no one” not falling for tricky questions like this, check. emphasizing the importance of ibra and winning the derby, check. not feeling inferior to conte and inter, check. this guy is slowly but surely turning into bona fide milan10ian. but for ur own good pioli, go easy on “like i said” routine. no one asks u to be verbatim milan10 *wink p.s. why do milan targets and exes play well lately; todibo, st maximin, under, papu gomez, tonali, correa, olmo, hell even andre silva, cutrone and renato sanches. for fvkk sake elliott and… Read more »

OmarLittle
OmarLittle
7 months ago

I dont have any expectations on them im sure Inter will win in a frustrating way 1-0 with a goal somewhere in the end of the game but any kind of surprise is welcomed

dejan10
dejan10
7 months ago
Reply to  OmarLittle

I agree. But I also think Conte will 100% outsmart Pioli tonight who’s just not up to the job. Farting around with mediocre coaches has probably been the #1 reason we’ve accomplished jack s**t for the past 7 years.

soheil balini
soheil balini
7 months ago
Reply to  dejan10

1.7 point with a team that he didn’t build is not a bad result. Considering that we came from Montella, Rino & Gianpaolo to him. He is logical and he doesn’t make stupid comments. You are whining just because he choose players or formations you don’t like. Untill we get someone in Poce or Pep class, Pioli is our best chance to get to UCL (even next year). Or biggest problem is lack of stability.

Milan10
Milan10
7 months ago

lapapin, saponara and rino still served as loyal milanisti in lecce – napoli match. they knew napoli shouldnt compete with milan for top 6 finish

mlzg
mlzg
7 months ago

May God help us

Franco6
Franco6
7 months ago

Beer is in the fridge, fingers and toes crossed for tonight, Come On Milan, Forza Milan!!!!