Zlatan Ibrahimović has stated ‘I am a leader and I have to lead the way in these moments’ and that ‘I am there for Pioli to take the pressure’.
Zlatan continues to set Serie A on fire and while today he didn’t score a brace, he still contributed with a wonderful assist for Franck Kessié and a great goal of his own in the 83′ minute, as Milan won 2-1.
Ibrahimović leads the Rossoneri to the top of the table and they remain the only unbeaten side in the league.
“I’m just warming up, I told you a few months ago,” Ibrahimović told MilanTV. “Six months ago, when they said that those who came back to Milan always failed, they asked what would be different this time… I told them I’ve never lost the passion for what I do. I have the right mentality, I believe in what I’m doing and work hard to achieve it. We’ve got a good squad, a young squad that believes in something and works hard, that grows every day and they help me a lot to be at my best and play in the way I do, it’s all thanks to them and to the coach, who has found the right balance between training, how he wants us to play and how he fields me and the team.
“The goal? I was watching the ball, waiting for it to go in so I could celebrate with my teammates. I’ve scored some similar goals, but it was the only movement I could make to find the back of the net. You need to try, whether it works or not… this time it went in, next time it’ll go in again – don’t worry about it [laughs].
“Where can the team go? We are not talking about where we can reach or what it is possible for us to do. My job is to make sure the team is always hungry, never be satisfied by what we’ve done, because we haven’t won anything yet, we need to continue as we’re doing. We will face difficult moments when I’ll have to step up and show the right path to overcome those moments. As long as things are going well, we’ll continue. The important thing is to want more, not be satisfied. While we’re doing well, we haven’t won anything yet.
“The fans are asking for me to stay? I’ll tell Paolo he has to give me a new contract, otherwise I won’t play the next game [laughs]. The pressure goes to Paolo… I greet all the fans and I hope to see them soon again at the stadium.”
Speaking to DAZN, Zlatan said: “It was a good goal but the victory is more important. A three-point goal in a difficult match, we have shown that we always want more. We work and we suffer, the team is fine.
“The ball goes to Ibra? We all want the ball, when there is an opportunity we all think we can decide it with a play. Brahim came on well, we are the youngest team in Europe. They make me feel young, the guys are very good, and they have an incredible desire and are never satisfied in matches or in training.
“If there’s a limit to having so many young players? I take the pressure and I like it, they don’t have to feel that, I’ll take care of it, they just have to work and believe in it. Difficult times come for everyone, it’s part of the season. The important thing is to work and think positively.
“What can stop Milan? These are going well, we play one game at a time and every game is a final. Then we’ll see where we are going, we have collective and individual objectives. I hope that the fans can come back soon to see this Milan, we play for them and I hope they can soon have this adventure with us.”
The 39-year-old also had an interview with Sky Italia: “Three very important points today, we knew it was difficult against a physically strong team. We bring these three points home.
“The fact that I’ve scored 23 goals since I joined Milan? It’s too few… I also missed a few penalties and chances. We are young, it’s my fault for raising the average age. They make me feel young, we work hard and the team believes in it. We train well and we show it during the match.
“The mentality? The mentality is right, the team believes in what we do. Pioli is doing a great job, the team follows him and when this is the case then it’s easier for him to work. He has many young players but I am there to take the pressure, I like it. They just have to think about working.
“If I were a Milan fan would I ask Ibra for the Scudetto? No… if I were a Milan fan I would be very sorry not to be at the stadium. I’m so sorry, I hope everything goes back to normal. The fans deserve to see us do these things live – before I arrived I don’t think it was like now. We must not be satisfied, we must be hungrier and hungrier. We are not talking about the Scudetto, we are talking about one match at a time, and every match is a final. We work and we believe in it.
“I’ve scored in six consecutive matches? I beat the 2012 Ibrahimović who was already old… today I’m young. I thank the teammates who facilitate my work, they’ve helped me a lot. I’m 39 but I’m not thinking about it. It’s just a number, for me it’s all about how you train and how you play. I train a lot and hard, I have top confidence.
“A possible renewal? When I arrived 6 months ago, Milan wanted a longer contract but to be honest with myself I asked to sign only for 6 months. Nobody was to be dissatisfied. At the end of the season, let’s see how I am, I don’t want to block Milan in a negative situation. One year at a time, but if I continue like this I say to Paolo: ‘If you do not sign me for another year, I will not play anymore [laughs].’
“What this team needs to grow? You must not be satisfied, the mentality is there. The team knows how to suffer, difficult moments arrive and it is normal. In these moments, my responsibility is to take the team and improve the situation. I am a leader and I have to lead the way in these moments. In good times I have to make it clear that they must not be satisfied. We’ve done well but we haven’t won anything. If the team wins then they’ll understand what they have to do and understand what the feeling of victory is. One game at a time and let’s move on.”