Pioli: “These hard-fought wins are good for us, I do not think we are Ibra-dependent, Hakan is a complete player, Colombo has excellent qualities”

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Stefano Pioli during Milan-Bodø/Glimt at Stadio San Siro on September 24, 2020. (@acmilan.com)

Stefano Pioli saw many positives as Milan beat Bodø/Glimt 3-2 in the Europa League, and stated ‘had we managed the two-goal lead more carefully and with quality, we would have suffered less’.

Milan advanced to the play-off round of the Europa League preliminaries, where they’ll face Rio Ave away from home.

They reached this feat thanks to a 3-2 win at San Siro over Bodø/Glimt. The Norwegian outfit proved to be a very difficult opponent for Milan, who struggled greatly at times despite of generally being in control of the game.

Kasper Junker (15′), Hakan Çalhanoğlu (16′, 50′), Lorenzo Colombo (32′) and Jens Petter Hauge (55′) scored the goals, as the Diavolo played without Zlatan Ibrahimović who’s positive for COVID-19.

“It’s normal to suffer in these types of games, on Wednesday I said that we were up against a team in good shape, I wasn’t making excuses,” Pioli told MilanTV after the game. “Regardless of the overall quality of the Norwegian league, they’re unbeaten in 20 games and that means that have qualities. Added to that, all three of their forwards have reached double digits this season and on Thursday they proved to be very good players. I think we did very well to stay calm and collected after going under, we were controlling the match but the first mistake cost us a goal.

“However, we didn’t manage the game well when we were 3-1 up, at that point had we managed the two-goal lead more carefully and with quality, we would have suffered less. I believe that these hard-fought wins are good for us, they help us grow, on Thursday we fielded a very young team but we had the right spirit. We didn’t play our best game from a technical perspective, we misplaced passes on which we’re normally more precise but I’m satisfied even though we know there is a lot of work to be done. We’ll work on the situations we need to improve, but the only thing we really should have avoided was their final chance because their second was down to their own ability, in the build-up and finishing. While on their first chance, we really risked and should’ve done better.

Matteo Gabbia, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Ismaël Bennacer, Franck Kessié and Lorenzo Colombo celebrating during Milan-Bodø/Glimt at Stadio San Siro on September 24, 2020. (@acmilan.com)

“The team game? I think there were a lot of positives because we continued to create chances and put players on goal a number of times. We knew they like to stay tight so we switch played a lot especially in the first half, whereas when we risked conceding at the end it was not good at all, we should have dug deeper and marked our opponents tighter, but there is something we can learn from and improve on in every game, in good and bad – so we can grow.

“Set-pieces? They were one of our weaknesses last season, so we’re working on them. The results are starting to show, although I have to give credit to my assistants because Çalhanoğlu’s goal was thought of during the half-time break, after seeing how they defended an in-swinging corner, as well as Castillejo’s quality in passing and Çalhanoğlu’s shooting. These are clearly situations we need to make the most of because they can decide games.

Davide Calabria, Lorenzo Colombo and Samu Castillejo celebrating during Milan-Bodø/Glimt at Stadio San Siro on September 24, 2020. (@acmilan.com)

“Colombo? We’re all very happy for Colombo, it was an unexpected debut, an important debut and to score on his debut is the best we could have hoped for. I’m happy for him, he’s really excited as he should be. He’s got a good head on his shoulders, he knows he has a lot of work to do but he’s very hard-working and humble. So, he’s setting the right foundations to become an important player.

“Europe? As we found things though on Thursday, things will be similar in the upcoming games, we absolutely must recover our strength and the new arrivals must settle into our way of playing and reach match fitness, because they arrived later. We have to clench our teeth, we’ve got a very tough week ahead of us with two league matches and the last qualifier. We’re missing a lot of players so we have to be strong, ready and take things one game at a time.”

Franck Kessié and Hakan Çalhanoğlu during Milan-Bodø/Glimt at Stadio San Siro on September 24, 2020. (@acmilan.com)

Speaking to DAZN, Pioli said: “If it was important to show that the team knows how to play also without Ibra? Suffering is part of these games, it was an opponent with very fast forwards and that is doing well. We did well to stay in the game after their goal, we could’ve managed things better after our two-goal lead.

“Playing without a physical striker? We need to have objectivity. We are talking about the beginning of the season, it’s the third official match we play. Technically we could have done better but it’s not a question of not having a center forward. We were good at gritting our teeth and we also had opportunities to go 4-2.

Daniel Maldini during Milan-Bodø/Glimt at Stadio San Siro on September 24, 2020. (@acmilan.com)

“Çalhanoğlu? A lot of the credit goes to him, he’s a generous player with high quality, and he works for the team. It’s difficult to always expect two goals but I expect this type of performance. He’s an exceptional guy, he has the qualities to become the protagonist.

“The absence of Ibra? We learned about it in the late morning while we were preparing the dead balls, we replaced him with a different player. But we have our characteristics, we have created a lot but we were less compact than usual. The performance was there.

Samu Castillejo and Hakan Çalhanoğlu during Milan-Bodø/Glimt at Stadio San Siro on September 24, 2020. (@acmilan.com)

“Colombo? He was certainly very excited and it showed. That’s a good thing, he’s an 18 year old boy who is called into action right before kick-off. He had responsibilities. He’s a great guy with his head on his shoulders, the will to work hard. It’s not obvious to find young people with this attitude, he knows he must work hard to improve. I’m very happy that he was ready and scored, like he did in the pre-season matches.

“The difficulties of the fullbacks? They were good at attaching the space behind the fullbacks, on the open ball we could’ve been more careful and with the central players we had to slide better. It is always difficult to cover the entire field well, but their forward players in their league are all in double figures. We conceded at times but it’s an opponent that has created difficulties for us but it is credit for my team that we’ve overtaken such an opponent. For such a young team it’s an important step.

Rade Krunić during Milan-Bodø/Glimt at Stadio San Siro on September 24, 2020. (@acmilan.com)

“The opponents? It’s clear that when they were two goals down they pushed the fullbacks forward and their central players managed to get numerical superiority in the middle of the pitch and that forced us to push back. When we are short we have to be more careful, we gave away some chances.

“The fact that Beşiktaş got knocked out by Rio Ave? It’s an evidence that the matches are all difficult. We knew it would be a very challenging start, we had seven important players out. Now we head to the match on Sunday and the play-off comes afterwards, it’s an important objective too.”

Hakan Çalhanoğlu scoring during Milan-Bodø/Glimt at Stadio San Siro on September 24, 2020. (@acmilan.com)

The coach also spoke to Sky Italia: “We need to stay in the game, we have to understand the situation where we have to improve. We suffered a lot. If I have to reproach anything then it’s the final opportunity we left to our opponents. I knew it’d be difficult, we have a squad in emergency with 7 players missing.

“The tension? These were two special days, I have to congratulate the team because it was not easy to prepare for this match. Knowing two positives [for COVID] within the team was not easy.

Lorenzo Colombo and Theo Hernández during Milan-Bodø/Glimt at Stadio San Siro on September 24, 2020. (@acmilan.com)

“Colombo? It’s a good story for him and for Milan’s Youth Sector. I also liked how Maldini came on. Colombo has excellent qualities, he knows what he wants from him future. It’s not easy to find players like him and he has all the time to become a ‘da Milan’.

“Ibra? He lived this experience with his usual boldness. We can’t know how long he has to stay away from the pitch but we have other matches now. We hope to make up for those absent during the break.

“The difficulties without Zlatan? It’s normal that Ibra is our Champion. On Thursday we scored three goals and we could’ve scored two more. As a coach the more players I have at my disposal the better.

“Çalhanoğlu? I expect this kind of performance. He’s a modern and complete player, he works hard and is always very available. He can become the leader of this team.”

Simon Kjær during Milan-Bodø/Glimt at Stadio San Siro on September 24, 2020. (@acmilan.com)

In the post-match press conference, Pioli stated: “What do I think of Bodø/Glimt? We knew we would encounter difficulties, they are a proactive team. The forwards have excellent qualities. We knew we would suffer and in fact we did, but I think we deserved the win.

“Is there any Bodø/Glimt player that I liked in particular? Their wingers are quality players, especially Jens Petter Hauge. I was also impressed by the left central defender. They are certainly a good team and in fact they are leading the Norwegian league. We knew of the difficulties we would encounter and indeed there were difficulties. We expected this kind of difficulty but we were good at overcoming them.

“Who do I think of Hauge? We saw him well, knowing that he was very good at both going inside between the lines and jumping his man on the wing. He’s definitely a European-level player.

Stefano Pioli during Milan-Bodø/Glimt at Stadio San Siro on September 24, 2020. (@acmilan.com)

“Will Ibrahimović’s absence be the litmus test to prove that we are not Ibra-dependent? This story will always be there anyways. Zlatan is a player who will always give us an added value when he’s on the pitch. I don’t think the team is Ibra-dependent and on Thursday it was not. Then it must be emphasized that there were many players missing, not only Ibra.

“What was missing in the second half? One of the most positive things for me was the character. At 3-1, however, for a moment we thought we’d closed the game. At the 3-2 goal we conceded we were perhaps scared. They are a little further ahead of us in terms of fitness and they created some difficulties for us.

“If Kjær has become a leader seeing he scolded Gabbia during the game? Simon has personality in him, he talks a lot on the pitch. Confrontations like that are always positive, we need this. We are a young team.”

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Zumblim

Milan should sign Hauge. He has great potential to be a big player. He really put our right side in difficulties to defend. He is young and should not cost us to much.

RI_Milan4eva

Haha,i cant belive this,while reading Piolis comments i tought to my self i will write in the comments that Milan needs Hauge and then i see your post hahah 🙂 I watched only after we went 3-1 up since i couldnt find any stream but since then Hauge dominated his side and Calabria was hoping the game ends as soon as possible. I dont know why Pioli didnt sent in Kalulu,Calabria was failing attack after attack and only luck saved us today,but in the future vs Juve,Inter,Lazio,Atalanta,Roma and the rest we will be so vulnerable on the right sidfe if… Read more »

Last edited 3 years ago by RI_Milan4eva
Stan

You can stream most Serie A matches as well and Milan matches on Livescore App

Ashraf

i was about to say the same but u did talk for me 100%100 milan should buy hauge cheap and quality player

Zion

Subbing Colombo for Maldini was a stupid decision. It would have been better to let the boy play to build his confidence after his goal.

Brahim Diaz should have come on for the useless and ineffective lightweight Castellijo.

Can’t wait for Leao to return so that he can replace Ibra upfront until the Swede returns.

These qualification games are only going to get harder and we need to qualify at any means necessary.

Meer-1

Pioli didn’t had option on the bench and this is the same line up he will probably play in our next seria a match……so sub yes was right one but it put added pressure on defence….see there was two option available first to go for attack and add fourth goal or second one just play the ball around and keep possession we opted for second which we didn’t manage it at all….in a way this is an eye opener for us in our league matches if we are down to these situation we will most probably concede…so I guess I… Read more »

Last edited 3 years ago by Meer-1
Zion

Choosing Brahim Diaz would have made more sense. Once Pioli removed Colombo we immediately came under pressure. The boy is young and could have played the full 90mins and still play against Cutrone.

Pioli made some risky subs in the last game too and we were extremely lucky we weren’t punish for it. If this was a better quality team they would have easily equalized especially on the last chance that they missed.

Pioli cannot be thinking about other games in the week until we wrap up the current game. Milan cannot afford to miss qualifying for Europa League.

Meer-1

See hakan was pulling the strings right and Díaz would have better suited to come there rather than at Colombo place…..Colombo was stiff later on as match progressed and coach already have limited options for Sunday game…..we have thin squad heck even maldini did good right….Díaz coming at Colombo just doesn’t make sense…either you agree or not our squad is not complete we are short in midfield, rw is worst and cb, rest I won’t talk about because it’s pointless …….Díaz looks much more assured than tonali and Díaz deserved to be a starter but his best position is amf… Read more »

Last edited 3 years ago by Meer-1
Zion

I get your point brother. I was only suggesting that a switch for Castillejo to Brahim Diaz would make more sense instead of taking out Colombo for Maldini. But hey I’m not the coach.

However it seems like we took a step back when we took off Colombo and that opened up the game which caused us to concede a goal.

Meer-1

We opted for ball playing a sort of keeping possession based football and that nearly haunted us…..lol hope we learned lesson but one more game than we are in groups and much tougher matches awaits us….as confirmed we will be placed in pot 3 and we have high chances of facing teams like Tottenham, Arsenal, Benfica and others

Meer-1

I guess our problems were very much highlighted last night…our right side is worst and it was wide visible……either get a good good rb like semedo or buy a good rw and if Elliot wants to settle for cheaper options than God’s help us this season….Samu was worst last night this put added pressure on calabria he crumbled too if any one of them holds their lines I guess we can pretty much be save so investment is must….striker position we got few options but I guess luck isn’t on our side Rebic can play there so as Leao but… Read more »

Last edited 3 years ago by Meer-1
Nathan Graegin

Milan should also look at the young Dutch kid on Celtic. He’s going to be a super star for sure. I watched the game and that kid can move with real speed and skill

MilanEstonia

The subs were reasonable. Pioli is out of choices and these are the only options he has atm. We need a fully fit striker for Sunday so he took off Colombo. And i dont understand people bashing Maldini. He actually was very lively and putting pressure on them as much as he could, even helping in defence. IMO he did very well among the subs. Colombo scored a goal, yes but he wasnt any threat and most of the time he was invisible. If he didnt score the goal, he would have no impact and less ratings from that game.… Read more »

Last edited 3 years ago by MilanEstonia
Meer-1

Totally agree with you and another thing even with zlatan the current squad we have it will be a knife edge finish for fourth……I am more worried about napoli and Atalanta than Roma and lazio for third and fourth at the moment….but let’s see first three games and total points are important…….

Milan10

“We need a fully fit striker for Sunday so he took off Colombo” anyone who understands football -which pioli surely does- knows rebic the topscorer of last season will play as st vs crotone. he should because he cant play vs rio ave. to keep players fresh pioli needs to rotate players and logic dictates that, until at least before EL group stage, pioli should play rebic exclusively in serie a matches and colombo vs bodo and rio. playing colombo vs crotone risking injury would be very stupid because then milan wouldnt have st vs rio ave. unless of course,… Read more »

MilanEstonia

Nahh… If i was a coach i would be afraid too. You’re not playing Fifa here my friend. Colombo and Rebic are the only free strikers we have with the latter unavailable next week against Rio as well. If Colombo goes down then hallelujah to EL. You need to understand, the squad is thin, very thin. Many unaivailable players here and there. Its good to keep one striker fully fit and ready for every game and thats what Pioli did. Also colombo has great potential but isnt Mpabbe. If u actually saw the match, except for the goal and one… Read more »

Milan10

“maldini did more” exactly how did he do more than someone who actually scored? thats not objective assessment at all. without colombo’s goal milan wouldnt’ve won nobody said he’s mbappe. i said colombo should exclusively play in EL BECAUSE REBIC CANT PLAY BEFORE GROUP STAGE. if pioli foolishly start colombo vs crotone and he gets injured then milan would play without st vs ave. rebic should play vs crotone, colombo vs rio. plain and simple. also, big teams actually do rotate their players. did u see liverpool in carabao cup? klopp didnt field mane, salah, firmino. he fielded the reserves… Read more »

MilanEstonia

Not going to argue with you. You just want to see things the way you see it.

You talk about rotation but tell me how much flexibility do we have right now to rotate? Not at all. That’s the point I’m making.

Milan10

r u slow? its precisely because milan doesnt have luxury to rotate players that colombo should exclusively play in el and rebic in serie a. also, just because milan is short on cb doesnt mean pioli should sub off gabbia for krunic. just because milan didnt have another st didnt mean pioli had to sub off colombo for maldini, an am. thats playing player out of position, a big mistake

Agustinar

Agree

Milan10

“At the 3-2 goal we conceded we were perhaps scared.” well, u dont say mister. even stevie wonder noticed that too. whats done is done, but u need to be bolder and braver next time coach. u want milan to emulate bayern? great. lets start by killing the game off instead of trying to protect narrow lead. milan of all teams should’ve learned by now the danger of complacency; la coruna 4-0 milan, istanbul, last season’s derby etc. always try to score more killing the game off

MilanEstonia

How do you attack to score more goals and kill off the game when your defense is batshit weaker than Stevie Wonder’s 70 year old poophole?

Milan10

how? by simply playing like they did before maldini and krunic came on. before min 70, milan registered 10 shots from inside the box. after min 70, only 3, 2 of which were shots on goal whereas bodo registered 3 shots before min 70 and 4 shots after, 3 of which were legit goalscoring chances. anyone can have opinion but those are the facts. maldini aint a st thus his movements were not exploiting bodo’s high defensive line, unlike colombo (like i said, in min 42 colombo was free on the right flank but hakan chose to pass the ball… Read more »

Ted

Seems Maldini was indeed taking notes on Hauge. According to Di Marzio and Hauge’s agent Milan are in talks with the club to sign him outright for around 4 millions

Last edited 3 years ago by Ted
Rossi

And where will he play ? Rebic, Leao and potentialy Diaz, Salamakers, Maldini can all be fighting for the LW. Its a good transfer but maybe would be better to leave him in his team on loan to further develop if we get him.

Last edited 3 years ago by Rossi
Daniel

Hauge plays the LW for Glimt because his preferred foot is his right, and also because their right winger is ridiculously prolific as well. But Hauge’s pretty much ambidextrous, I’m sure he can play at the RW too, as well as other attacking positions – he looks very versatile. But anyway, he’s cheap and very promising. Coming off a great perfomance against an European giant like Milan, clubs will quickly be all over him. So you have to just grab the chance before someone else does – and think about what you’re doing with him later. As you said, even… Read more »

Ted

There are a lot of players to rotate between positions up front:

Rebić – LW, ST, RW
Leao – LW, ST
Castillejo – RW, LW
Salesmaker – RW, LW
Diaz – CAM, RW
Hakan – CAM untouchable
*Hauge – LW, RW*

Castillejo and Salesmaker play in more winger/wingback role and that is most probably due to right side being shi*y and need to compensate. That is why those two track back, run around deep in area helping fullbacks where they lack fuel to create something up front. So LW and CAM are more attacking focused trequartistas.

Agustinar

In this pandemi, Milan should have 2 starters in each position

Lando

If Hauge joined Milan it’s going to be like when MU signed Ronaldo after they faced Sporting Lisbon.

Last edited 3 years ago by Lando
Gbenga AJOSE

If Hauge can be bought around 4 M, that’s great. But his acquisition should not be an excuse not to sign our major targets in Chiesa , Milenkovic, Baka, etc if there is financial strength to do so.All these are proven and tested players with Serie A experience. We don’t need gambling now. If no money to sign our main target on the attack, we can quickly sign him then.

Ted

Hauge would be a good investment for 4 millions, kid has crazy statistics at his age and is one of the protagonists of their team. Ajer for 20 millions would also be an exciting addition to the rooster. Having two Norwegian talents like them for a combined sum of 24 millions is a must. Ajer could also be deployed in the midfield where we still lack proper cover.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ted