Pioli: “We must not let our guard down for this game, the team is better able to withstand the pressure now, Kessié is serene and calm, Ibrahimović…”

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

Stefano Pioli has spoken ahead of tomorrow’s Salernitana game and he believes both teams are different than they were in the first round.

After three wins in a row, Milan now sit at the top of the table and tomorrow they visit Stadio Arechi for a game against 20th-placed Salernitana, who replaced their coach earlier this week.

Today, coach Pioli held a press conference at Milanello, where he answered the various questions of the journalists, from Mauro Suma, through Sky and Milannews.it, and even questions from Twitch:

Which Salernitana do you expect tomorrow?
“We have focused on our own plays this week because their very recent change of coach prevents us from knowing how they will play. We’re aware of their players’ characteristics and it is a very different team than the one we met at San Siro, they have 10 new players and come off the back of two positive results, and they’ve got a new coach. We must not let our guard down for this game: we’ll need focus and attention.”

What has changed at Milan after the Derby?
“Every game has a particular interpretation. We have understood that if we play with consistency and we stay in every game then we have the right cards to win. In every game we have to put in our playing principles.”

Alessio Romagnoli, Alessandro Florenzi, Daniel Maldini, Davide Calabria, Sandro Tonali and Brahim Díaz during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

Based on what do you choose Brahim Diaz or Kessié as a trequartista?
“They have different characteristics. When I choose, I first look at the physical condition and then I also look at what type of game we need to play.”

Do you feel more pressure after reaching first place?
“The league table is misleading because both Inter and Atalanta have a game in hand. As such, we’re not focused on our hypothetical first place rather we’re focused on bringing consistency to our performances because we’ve shown that when we play well, more often than not we come away with a good result, too. We need to be fully focused, of course there is pressure but it is a privilege to have such pressure, it means our level has risen, but the team is better able to withstand the pressure now too.”

Brahim Díaz during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

How is Ibrahimović?
“He is doing better, I think between tomorrow and Sunday he’ll start running again. Then we’ll evaluate things day by day, we’ll see when he can return to the group.”

Can the desire to win the first Scudetto make a difference for many of you?
“We just have to think about giving our all and our best. We need great conviction in the things we do by giving our best.”

How much enthusiasm is there in the group?
“I see a lot of confidence and concentration in my players. We know that the season is long and we will have to push to the maximum.”

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

What difficulties will there be tomorrow?
“We have prepared for it well even if we don’t know how they will play after the change of coach. In Italy, you’re constantly coming up against different styles of play and that means we’re ready to face whatever they throw at us; the most important thig will be how we approach the match, and the quality of our choices and our play will also be crucial.”

What do you say to the players who risk finding less space?
“The players must give their best every day, only in this way they can put me in difficulty in the choices. After Salernitana we will have three games in 10 days, there will be space for everyone. The important thing is that everyone is well, then I will make the choices.”

Franck Kessié and Fodé Ballo-Touré during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

How did you see Kessié after the protest of the fans?
“I’ve seen Franck serene and calm. The situation is positive. The whole group is compact, we know that we have to give our best. There are no problems.”

How is Rebić?
“He is doing better, the minutes against Sampdoria also helped him. He came on well, he was missing the winning play. He is an important player for us.”

How much do you believe in the Scudetto?
“We think about doing our best to win the next game: that’s our only thought. Clearly we want to win them all to improve on last year’s final standings. It’s not so important against whom they will be won.”

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

To stay on top, do you need to find consistency also against the small teams?
“You need to win a lot of games, no matter against whom. Let’s think about tomorrow’s game.”

Did Inter’s defeat in the Champions League confirm the distance between the English and the Italian teams?
“It was a clear result only in the final score. Inter have shown that they are close to one of the best English teams. The distance is there because the economic difference is large and therefore they can make big investments. The English teams are the strongest, but the Italians are growing well.”

Olivier Giroud during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

How important is the competition inside the group?
“Tomorrow is a very important game, we have prepared for it thoroughly, and we have not taken this encounter lightly. It’s of utmost important for a coach to have complete commitment from all players, which is something I have and as a result, during training there is great desire to stand out, to make it difficult for me to choose. There’s always great engagement, quality and intensity. These are the factors we must build on if we want to continue playing well.”

Messias is one of the fittest players right now…
“All my players are doing well. I expect a lot from Messias, he can be even more decisive. He is fitting in well.”

Junior Messias during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

What’s the difference between Bennacer and Kessié?
“They are complete midfielders who can do both phases well. Bennacer is very explosive, Kessié is more physical. They are two complete players with quality.”

You win many corners, but score little. How come?
“We have to improve, whoever takes them must do it with more quality and whoever is in the penalty area must improve the timing of their insertion.”

How is Lazetić?
“He is behind in terms of his condition, he needs personalized work. I think he still needs 7-10 days to join the group. He has important characteristics.”

Ismaël Bennacer, Tiémoué Bakayoko and Sandro Tonali during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

How do you approach those who underestimate Milan’s results?
“I respect all opinions. We must find awareness from ourselves and our qualities, not from the opinions of others.”

Is it the defining moment of the season?
“There are still many games to go. Every match has an important specific weight, we will all try to win as many games as possible.”

Did you expect this Maignan?
“I am not surprised. From Day One he has shown that he is very curious and willing to work. He has a great personality, we need players and people like him in such a young group.”

Mike Maignan during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

Are Milan among the 16 strongest teams in Europe?
“No, because we weren’t able to pass the group. Today we are stronger than when we played the Champions League Group Stage. I would have liked to play certain games now. We have to keep growing, the important thing is to return to the Champions League next year.”

How do you feel seeing Milan first in view of the next matches?
“Before games I am always worried. I always want to encourage my players to give their all, then we’ll see what happens.”

Stefano Pioli during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

What’s the secret to staying focused?
“The secret is to give your all, approach each game with full intensity being aware that it will be difficult and complicated where we’ll need to make the right choices. The fact we don’t know exactly how our opponents will play, will force my players to be very mindful for the entire match because we don’t know what our opponents’ approach will be. Right from the start, we’ll need to be ready to read every situation perfectly.”

How does having the full squad affect the week?
“It raises the bar, the intensity of work and the quality.”

Are Perotti and Ribéry dangerous?
“They have always been decisive players, they will have to be controlled well.”

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Milan all the way bag the 3point we going for them


Please not make another mistake

Gbenga AJOSE

Yes mate…They should not underate any one. No mistake pls…This is the time to put pressure on Inter…Our advantage as regards our soft schedule shouldn’t turn to be our disadvantage