Pioli: “This is a win that boosts our confidence, every game must be fought, Leão is no longer a surprise, Rebić knows how important he is to us”

Stefano Pioli during Bologna-Milan at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara on January 30, 2021. (Spada LaPresse)

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.

Milan players celebrating during Bologna-Milan at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara on January 30, 2021. (Massimo Paolone LaPresse)

“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.

Milan players celebrating during Bologna-Milan at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara on January 30, 2021. (Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images)

“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.”

Rafael Leão, Ante Rebić and Alexis Saelemaekers celebrating during Bologna-Milan at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara on January 30, 2021. (Andrea Staccioli Insidefoto)

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.

Stefano Pioli, Rade Krunić and Theo Hernández at the end of Bologna-Milan at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara on January 30, 2021. (Spada LaPresse)

“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.”

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So Pioli was pleased. Well, I was not. Bologna scored the only real goal. Our goals came from two soft penalties. And no, we did not create more than them.

Milan oldtimer

He is only saying all these because he wants to bring morale up. Im not defending him or anything because he has made some mistakes to tonight. He definetly has his work cut out for him


The penalties were not soft. It is not our fault that Bologna were fouling us


We’ve really had our luck with penalties this season. I’m not saying that they all were undeserved, but some were really over-exaggerated. We need more open play goals, or we will break before the end of the season. Koodos to Bologna keeper excellent game, non-stop saved Ibra and Calabria shots.


well, the fact is, like i said, milan were much stronger back then in july because the squad was more balanced and not many players got injured simultaneously. back then milan still had ballplaying mf paqueta and bonad10nho hence they could implement nice one touch football dominating the likes of roma, juve and lazio. now only hakan and probably ben can do it and once they are absent milan mf look horrible, like it was during morontella days. thank god for ibra and penalties. this excessive selling just to balance the book needs to stop. milan are in rebuilding phase… Read more »


I really do not understand when u say milan played better with Paqueta and Bona. If I remember vividly, they were not even starters. The former played rarely even played at all. Bonaventura was slower than my grandma honestly. I think the decline like u rightly said is because too many injuries happening at thesame time. The team has lost its rhythm. We desperately need a right winger also, cause most teams have realized that most of our attacks comes from the left wing.


rui costa, xavi, zidane and riquelme were slow too. milan’s biggest legend rivera played like he’s strolling in the park. whats ur point? like i said, u dont have to be fast if ur not winger or full/wingback. as cm/am, u beat ur opponents with ur vision and passing skills not ur speed. lingard, bernardeschi and leao are fairly fast but theyre abysmal playing as am because they cant pass well. paqueta and bona were not starters because bona was injured when pioli first came and paqueta had his issues but if u really watched milan in july u’d know… Read more »

Milan oldtimer

Milan 10 will all due respect, pleade stop it with paqueta. Yes we need a ball player midfielder but he wasnt the answer. Too slow in his prime. Dont compare zidane and other gods with him, if these gods didnt habe sperd they had other attributes that paqueta lacks. Glad we got rid of him. Sorry to say but he has alteafy reached his peak as a player.


well, as a milan oldtimer you should know better than most that milan have bad habit of letting young, potential players go way too easily. toldo, antonioli, davids, kluivert, vieira, panucci, auba, cristante, loca, acerbi and the list goes on. paqueta is just 23, no way he has already reached his peak. u should start watching lyon play and see how good he is at moving the ball forward. mind u, lyon’s gameplay aint slow. he’s become one of the best players of ligue 1, as france football magz/site already stated. 2-3 years ago i predicted that andre silva would… Read more »

Milan oldtimer

I understand your point, but not every young player develops into a great player. Paqueta is one of them. Some players just get overhyped at an early stage and fail later on. Again, i do understand you point and to make your point for you locatteli is the one that we “lost” not paqueta. Locatteli way better that tinali if you would ask me.

Last edited 2 years ago by Milan oldtimer

again, how do u know paqueta falls into “not every young player develops into great player” category? i could understand ur point if paqueta flopped like kris “better than inzaghi” piatek or if he’s already 28 but no, he’s actually been great at lyon and he’s just 23. ffs sheva arrived at milan at 23. france football, creator of famous ballon d’or claimed in dec that paqueta’s ligue 1’s top 3 player. loca wasnt given enough chances, he flourished elsewhere. auba wasnt given enough chances, he flourished elsewhere. paqueta wasnt given enough chances, he flourished elsewhere. see the obvious pattern… Read more »


Yup, that’s the problem when a coach is changed every 8 months. Acerbi and Cristante are meh, but nice players too

Mabel Damiana

Pls my fellow Milan fans, add me on whatsapp with this number +447441435981


Well done Milan! Keep moving!


Well we are far from the promised land, the dream Milan, that will hurt any team for full 90mins. Not a team that wins by absorving pressure always. Milan ought to be feared. Pioli should keep that in mind in this Milan team build up, and not get carried away with Scuddetto. T

Roberto Giano

Finally we will have a full squad again next match


de paul il fantasista set pereyra through on goal with exquisite through ball that no milan player except hakan could pull off. pereyra then botched one on one situation and deulofeu picked up the rebound and got fouled in the box by spezia gk. de paul then calmly took the resulting penalty.
a passer AND dead ball specialist. ffs maldini, force nazidis to break the bank and sign de paul before inter/juve/liverpool get him first


How can anyone disagree? Lo Celso and De Paul are the best midfielders from Argentina.


We need Bennacer, Calhanoglu, Kjaer & Ibra healthy, hungry and ready… The rest will follow.
Forza Milan !


So we got backup for Kessie, which was vital. After that it’s our RW that needed addressing most! It’s great we got Tomo and maybe Mario can do a job for a few months but surely RW, where we dont have a decent winger is the priority!! Perhaps we can start playing Rebic there, it’s worth a try. Really wish we had taken the chance to get a new striker bedded in. Play under Ibra for 6 months and be ready to be the main man for next season. Jovic was a great option. What are we going to do… Read more »


Think about it…
Dalot, Tomori, Diaz, Meite, Mario, Ibra. Some or all may not be there next season


Think we keep tomo and meite, but don’t expect to pay 30 million for tomo will need to haggle. A right winger is a must as u say, we are so one sided, but signs are we aren’t getting one till summer now and all transfers will be dependent on champions league qualification which we should get) winning league would be a nice bonus 🙂


“but don’t expect to pay 30 million for tomo” well, dont expect milan to get tomori then because no way chelsea will sell above their asking price, which is at least 28 m




I’m still hoping we get a surprise today
Douglas Turbo Costa would be nice


Mr. Pioli I have a suggestion that will help Milan to be more dominant in midfield. Please play Bennacer-Tonali-Kessie in midfield.

Therefore our formation would be 4312. With Calhanoglu behind Ibra and Leao. Castellijo is useless and Saelemaekers is not that better either.

Our right side is weak and offers absolutely nothing. All of our attacking play and goals come from the left absolutely nothing comes from the right.

Either we do that our we play Rebic on the RW with Leao on the LW in our 4231 formation.


Good suggestions


Yep. Bennacer and Tonali are very good at playing the ball forward and we would have good coverage for the back four which would allow Theo and Calabria to push up the pitch in attack as wingers.

It’s such a waste game after game playing Castellijo or Saelemaekers. Our right side is just useless in attack. Nothing creative there.


Agreed I’ve always felt we get outnumbered in midfield and ask alot of bennecer and kessie, jyst like playing atalanta with there 3412.lazio play 5 in midfield and beat them last night. And a 3 mid would allow full bks to attack knowing outside midfielders can cover counter attack down channels


1 year ago
conti – duarte – romag – theo
bennacer – kessie – paqueta/krunic
leao – piatek
or this:
conti – duarte – romag – theo
suso – kessie – bennacer – paqueta
leao – piatek
should be the real line up vs lecce”
lets see if john malkovich has the balls to get creative


I want to know if Hakan and Donna have signed a new contract please and can there still sign before the season should end if there haven’t the management should please award the contract to them so far I think it worth and I believe we will qualify for champions league

Roberto Giano

Pirlo was best as regista. He never played in double pivot system. Tonali was best as regista at Brescia. Can he play in doble pivot system?