Pioli: “We are missing 7 points to do something extraordinary, the players are serene and happy, we will have to be compact from start to finish”

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

Stefano Pioli has said his players are ‘switched-on and motivated and they are handing these emotions well’ ahead of tomorrow’s match against Verona.

With 3 games to go until the end of the season, Milan know they must beat Hellas Verona tomorrow at Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi to take back first place in the standings and overtake Inter who last night won 4-2 at San Siro against Empoli.

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:

What kind of week has it been?
“Very similar to the previous ones. We’ve reached a point, from before Lazio onward, with every single match having had a significant impact on our final objective. I’ve seen the players switched on through the week, motivated. We take on a team who are doing a great second half of the season and we know they can create us some problems but at the same time we’re aware that the challenges we’ve overcome lately have boosted our confidence. Now is the right time to show we’re not only good, we can be the best.”

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

What does winning so many points in the last 15 minutes show and how important will attitude be tomorrow?
“It means that we play for 100 minutes and not for 45 minutes and this must be the attitude. Verona and we are among the teams that score the most goals at the start of games so the approach will also be important, but the game will last 95 minutes and we’ll have to try, as always, to change our characteristics also during the game using the bench which has important players. Only by believing until the end will we be able to do well.”

Will it be nice for the Milan players to play in such a glorious stadium in the history of Milan, such as Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi?
“Certainly, but above all it is going to be great for my players to play a game in front of so many Rossoneri fans. Our fans are conveying energy, passion and enthusiasm that we want to take onto the pitch with us tomorrow.”

Zlatan Ibrahimović and Ante Rebić during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

What do you ask of your players to be more incisive in front of goal? And what can Ibrahimović give?
“We have a way of playing that allows us to be a balanced team. We want to try to dominate the games and not have it the other way around. We have to be compact from start to finish and then the more opportunities we have, the more dangerous we can be. The games are long difficult – we have all seen in our eyes the Champions League semi-final between Real Madrid and Manchester City, in which the Blancos players won their hearts, with spirit and mentality. As for Zlatan, his presence is important for us and for how decisive he can be, he is giving a lot to help us.”

Do Milan and Inter have two different mentalities?
“I don’t know and I honestly don’t think this is the moment to do this type of analysis. Now we all know what we are missing: 7 points to do something extraordinary. We have to do well to show we can be the best in the league. We still have three games left, we need to take things one game at a time and to keep playing the way we know, like Milan, with our quality and our mentality. Should we manage to keep clean sheets and win 1-0, so much the better, if we’re able to score more goals that’s what we want to do. What’s important is that we play as a team for the whole 95 minutes and play with that emotion which can only be positive.”

Davide Calabria during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

 If you were an outside bettor, would you go all-in on Milan?
“I think we have been very good because we’ve always gone against predictions that had us as underdogs. We have to continue with our mentality and I bet that that tomorrow the team will give their best, yes.”

Milan play two days after Inter. Do you think the Lega will have to make a more serious assessment of having matches played at the same time next year?
“Right now I don’t care… we know what we want and what we have done. It wouldn’t have changed anything if Inter had played after us.”

Did you watch Inter-Empoli?
“I reviewed our training session and then watched a great Tennis match. Carlos Alcaraz is a phenomenon.”

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

What aspects can make Milan worry? Verona are in a great moment of form…
“Verona will do everything to beat us and it is right that they will, because they are having excellent results. We are an important and prestigious rival to them but we’ll also do everything to win. The attacking department of the Tudor team is very dangerous, they have quality players and we’ll have to know how to defend well and then put our opponents in trouble.”

Is it the most difficult game from the three rounds left?
“Yes, but only because this one is tomorrow. I will repeat the same concept in the next game. All teams want to do well to improve their standings and we’ll have to face all the competitions with attention.”

Do you see a team that is mature for these three games?
“I see them always switched-on and motivated, they are handing these emotions well. They are young guys but they come off two years of work, success and disappointment. We have already faced these challenges in the past and tomorrow’s will be just as difficult. We have prepared for it well.”

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

What do you think of Ancelotti?
“I think he is a legend and he is exceptional in everything. The only coach to win the title in the best 5 European leagues. I know him little but I think he has a fantastic ability: to get into the heads and hearts of the players.”

When Milan had the obligation to win, how did they react?
“I haven’t seen my players nervous or anxious. I see they are motivated and we need to stay focused because every point matters. We have to stay focused without being frenetic and that really shows how my players have developed exceptionally. I expected to have to calm them down here at Milanello, every day, but that’s not the case: they’re switched on, motivated, focused but always smiling and serene, and happy to be here. We must continue on this path that has allowed us to go up and up. We must strengthen these convictions.”

Is commitment to use all your strength to win a quality of Milan? Can it be trained?
“There are situations that arise within a group, for an environment that is transmitting incredible emotions to us. We are ready to give our best for the shirt, for the present and for our future.”

Rafael Leão and Franck Kessié during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

The last penalty awarded to Milan was against Spezia. Who would be the penalty taker tomorrow in case of one?
“We’ve always exposed our ranking of penalty takers but on the field the players can change the situation. They’re the ones who have to shoot it.”

What do you think of Barak?
“He has both technique and physicality. The more we disrupt his and their players, the better we can defend.”

In the face of some referring errors, do you have the impression that no everything depends on Milan?
“No, everything we can control depends on Milan. Our attitudes and our qualities. And then there are those who have to make other choices and we’ll respect them.”

Theo Hernández during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

Verona also evokes negative memories from the past. What is the answer?
“I’m not thinking about the past. We are starting to write our own story, history is written with the here and now and with what we’ll do tomorrow. We’ll be fully motivated, absolutely, I have no doubts about it.”

Milan have recently had an offensive mentality. Will there be time to manage things more?
“We will continue out of habit and mentality to look for the goal. Even with three pure attackers, there was no lack of balance against Fiorentina, we let them have one chances because we defended poorly. We will always try to have an offensive spirit.”

Is there a phrase or an image that characterizes the Milan locker room right now?
“Yes, it’s not the time to talk about it. But we know it.”

Rade Krunić, Daniel Maldini, Alexis Saelemaekers and Sandro Tonali during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

Would you like saying a few words for the athletic trainers who were often criticized in the past?
“They know very well what I think of our work, I’m responsible: they propose and then I decide. Too many times importance is given to the physical part and less to the technical-tactical part. We’ve never had peaks in one direction or the other.”

Are the differences and similarities between the nights before Lazio and Verona?
“There are none because it was easy for the team to understand what kind of week we had to do. The matches weigh equally.”

Someone wrote: ‘Milan in the least – the best of the worst’. Does this headline bother you?
“I read it and I didn’t like it but it’s OK. There are still those who criticize Ancelotti so everything is allowed.”

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

Can Leão and Rebić alternate on the wings?
“It depends on the match, both can do well on the right or on the left.”

Who will start between Saelemaekers and Messias?
“I don’t think there is much difference between the two defensively and offensively, even if they prefer to use different feet. They are two offensive players who also have to work defensively.”

Last year in Verona there was a sumptuous performance in a moment of emergency…
“From a tactical point of view it will be similar. Despite changing their coach, Verona have improved the idea of football shown last season, they will be constantly man-marking us throughout the whole pitch, hence we need to make the right movements, press, find the space… it’s going to be decisive for our offensive manoeuvre.”

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Oluwa Shevy

Wish you guys the very best of luck

Carlo Gambino

Go out there & make us all proud. #Forza Milan


Thank you Pioli, even if you do not succeed at the end, you are the man. You took over an inexperienced team, young team, financially inferior team comparing to Juve or Inter and created Scudetto contending team with good foundations. Let alone you brought us back to CL after years of disappointments. Hope this will continue under new owners because the model works, just a piece of puzzle here and there.

Last edited 10 days ago by Ted