Stefano Pioli was happy with the performance of Milan against Bologna, as they beat Siniša Mihajlović’s side 2-1.
After two defeats – 3-0 against Atalanta in Serie A and 2-1 against Inter in the Coppa Italia – the Rossoneri returned to the pitch on Saturday afternoon.
The Rossoneri of Pioli took on Bologna away from home and despite some late scares they were able to come away with the three points. The goals came from Ante Rebić (26′) who scored off the rebound after Łukasz Skorupski saved Zlatan Ibrahimović’s penalty, and Franck Kessié (55′) who scored from the spot where Zlatan failed; Andrea Poli (82′) scored for Bologna and didn’t celebrate.
“Every game must be fought, without a doubt,” Pioli told MilanTV at the end of the match. “Clearly, had we not made the mistake that led to their goal, we would have played exactly as we needed to, against a team you really need to work hard to beat because Bologna don’t give any gifts, they play with intensity and fight hard, but we played and created a lot. I’m very happy with my team’s performance. This is a win that boosts our confidence and which allows us to celebrate because we ended a tough week on a high.
“The performance of Leão? I think the whole team showed they can be dangerous, we tried to create more than them until the end and managed it. Leão is no longer a surprise, his potential was clear. Now that he’s ‘revealed’ himself, he can’t trick us anymore, he must continue playing like today, with the same intensity. What I’m liking a lot about Rafa now is that he’s more involved in the match. He defends when needed, attacks when needed, scores when he should and commits a foul when required. All things he didn’t do consistently a few months ago. It’s great because we have a lot of strong players and them being ready is a good thing.
“Rebić’s goal? Ante has been unlucky, he was in great shape before his elbow injury, then when he was fit again he tested positive for COVID and these are things that impact your condition but not morale because Ante knows how important he is to us, his characteristics are certainly important but his goal and his performance will increase his confidence going forward. We’ll all have to make the most of them next week, it’ll be our first full week of training in a while and this win puts us in the condition to work well ahead of the next match.
“The past week? The last two training sessions this week were the best in a long time, firstly because more of the squad was available, which increased the level and quality of our work; the intensity and rhythm, and because the team was able to maintain their determined and balanced attitude aware we were unhappy about the last two results, especially the performance against Atalanta which is the only team this season to have caused us trouble. Against the others we were in the match regardless of the result, but we never dropped our heads and stopped thinking we could win it.
“The team trained the right way, and played a game I liked, with intensity and desire, with aggressiveness and personality, with the attitude of a team that is deservedly first in the league.”
Pioli also held a post-match press conference at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara after the final whistle of referee Daniele Doveri: “To win in this league you have to work hard. We created a lot, then we committed an act of naivety that pit them back in the game, but it’s nice to win like this.
“How important is it to have back players like Çalhanoğlu and Bennacer? The more players we have available, the more options we have with our substitutions. Now we have a week to prepare for the next game which is something that until now we haven’t had. We can play a good game.
“If there was a physical drop in the final minutes? No, no physical drop. After the goal we kept the ball and we were still dangerous. We played the game we had to play, in my opinion it was a very good performance. What kind of responses did I get today? A strong response from the team. In the last two days we had raised the pace and quality and today it showed.
“Leão’s performance? Yes, he gave a very good performance. Today we had 10 chances, we won a lot of duels and played a very good game. We have to continue like this.”