Pioli: “We will be up against a solid side, the moment has arrived for Origi, if you play for Milan you have to accept and expect competition, the corners…”

Stefano Pioli during a press conference at Milanello on September 9, 2022. (@acmilan.com)

Stefano Pioli has spoken to the press ahead of Sampdoria, as he wants his first away win of the season.

After the win in the Derby and the 1-1 draw against Salzburg in the Champions League, Milan tomorrow take on Marco Giampaolo’s Sampdoria at Stadio Luigi Ferraris (20:45 CET kickoff).

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:

There are never easy matches in Genoa. Sampdoria come off two home draws against Juventus and Lazio…
“We’ll be up against a solid side, a team with a strong identity. They’ll be highly-motivated because, while it’s true that they picked up 2 draws against two big sides at home, they lost their last match. As always, a defeat leads to even more focus and determination, so we know what awaits us.”

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

Have the way some teams face you changed?
“There have been too few games to make a comparison between home and away games. For me it always depends on our quality. In Bergamo we played a great game, while against Sassuolo and Salzburg we could have done better from a technical point of view.”

Has the moment arrived for Origi to play from the start?
“I think so, he is doing better and he has had minutes to improve his condition. He needs to play and is a very good player.”

What kind of player is Dest? Can he also play on the left?
“I knew him because we had already followed him in past seasons. I found some characteristics that I was expecting but I found him more alert defensively than I thought he would be. He has to do more, with the quality he has he can do a lot going forward. He likes to play on the left, but we also have other solutions. The guys who came at the end of the transfer market need time: he is young but with experience, he is a ready player.”

Divock Origi during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

De Ketelaere needs a gradual inclusion process, while Brahim Díaz knows the Milan world. Do you expect more from whoever plays this role?
“There is also Adli, we have various solutions. Charles is doing everything that I am asking of him, he is fitting in more and more and he is doing well and I am happy with his performance. Then he must have the time to get to know his teammates and our team mechanism better. But I see a serene and willing player. I know Brahim well, he has certain characteristics and I certainly count on him. I always choose based on the game.”

Will rotation be essential between now and December?
“I don’t like the term rotation. For you, the starters are the eleven chosen to start, but that’s not what I think because I am certain – otherwise I’d make different decisions – that I’ve got a very strong group at my disposal and that we’ve got a very clear playing identity, as well as players who give everything during training. When they have this attitude, I know that they’ll make a contribution when they’re asked to play. I have great confidence in my players. It’s not that I rotate to get everyone involved, but it’s to win games.”

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

How did Brahim go astray after the Udinese game? Does he suffer from competition from De Ketelaere?
“If you play for Milan then you have to accept and you have expect competition, because to return to certain levels and win – we cannot expect to have 11 starting players and other players below the others. I Díaz is suffering from competition, but I don’t think he is, then it’s not good. There is great competition but also great compactness. It’s always like that. Every coach starts with an ideal formation, then it’s up to the players to change his mind. I have no unmotivated players and they are working well.”

How is Rebić and when is he back?
“I don’t like certain allegations about Ante. He has very strong pain in his back; unfortunately the pain has not gone away yet so he cannot train with the group.”

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

Is there a reason why Adli has found little space?
“There will also be his turn. He certainly has talent and is a prospect. I expect a lot from him but also from his teammates and then I have to make some choices. When I deem it appropriate, I will field him.”

In 4 out of 6 games you went behind: how do you work on this?
“I think the only time we had the wrong approach was against Udinese, so I don’t think it’s a question of how to approach the match, but it’s a fact that needs to be reversed. Going ahead and not conceding the first goal can, on a mental and tactical level, give you an advantage. On the other hand – although I already knew this – we need to acknowledge the team’s great self-awareness and character. Even when we’re struggling to take the lead or fall behind, we continue to play, believe, put moves together and create situations to take back control of matches. This is a very important attitude. However, it is a situation we want to improve. We’re aware that improving it will give us more advantages.”

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

Are you looking for a run of victories like last season’s finale?
“Runs are always important. We want to win them all and we prepare for them accordingly. We want to win tomorrow as well, then it will obviously depend on the game we play. I think we are doing well in some situations while in others we need to grow.”

Can Adli and Brahim play together in another formation as well?
“Right now, no. I never tried Adli as a mezz’ala.”

How do rate Pobega’s path?
“I liked the way he came on against Salzburg, showing off his characteristics. He is growing and we are counting a lot on him.”

Alexis Saelemaekers during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

Will Saelemaekers be a starter also tomorrow?
“You know I don’t say the line-up… In Salzburg he played well, he didn’t force situations and plays when he didn’t have to and on the contrary he did it when he could. The performance in Salzburg was not great but decent. Tomorrow we will try to do better against Sampdoria.”

What have you seen so far from De Ketelaere?
“I think we can look for him a bit more also to receive the ball with his back to the goal, because he has the quality and physical strength to withstand the pressure of the opponents. We have to have more trust in his qualities, while he has to understand even better when to connect to the game and when instead to go deep, because he knows how to do both and we need these things.”

Does De Ketelaere need to play a little more?
“I don’t let a player play just to give him time. I choose the players to win and if he starts from the beginning then it’s to win, not to make him settle better. Obviously, the more he plays, the better he will get to know his teammates, but my objective is win the game.”

Sandro Tonali during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

Why are you conceding more goals than last year?
“Whether it can be put down to a lack of organization at times or individual mistakes, we have conceded a few too many goals. It’s something that concerns the whole team. When we don’t concede, it’s not just because of the work down by the defenders. Likewise, when we concede, it’s not just the defenders’ fault.”

Is it possible to see Pobega as a trequartista?
“Anything is possible. One can look for new ways to new solutions. It is unlikely that everything that we achieved last year will work again this year. We conceded a few more goals, but sometimes it is the quality of the opponent that can make the difference. It’s like with Leão: it’s not that every time he was decisive there was a defensive error, but because of his quality. This year we have a number of trequartisti.”

This is your third year leading Milan. What is the biggest difference between this year and the other years?
“We know each other well and so we can devote more to those details that can make a difference and we have already done the bulk in the past.”

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

How is the corner problem solved?
“If we talk about the many things I’m pleased about and some of the things we need to improve, this is one aspect we need to improve. In terms of intensity, focus and communication, we can do better in defense. We are working on it and I hope to see improvements because it is one of the details where we need to improve. It has become a priority and we are working on it more.”

What changes between De Ketelaere and Brahim in the role of the trequartista?
“The position is the same and they know what they have to do. They have different characteristics but the position they have to play is the same.”

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

With all these matches, do the players also have to manage themselves?
“We are not able to manage the matches. We have to play with intensity in all the matches. We have to give everything, we cannot afford to finish the matches with some energy left.”

How is the settling-in of the new guys going?
“They are working and growing. They are getting to know their teammates better. They are very helpful guys. They have only been here a few days. I don’t know if anyone will be ready for tomorrow, but the important thing is that they are strong players. Some of them will later go to the national team, I would have been happier to have them here with us.”

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It would be nice to see De Ketelaere play RW and Adli play AM in a 4231 formation.

Pioli can also play Adli in a role similar to Pirlo and De Ketelaere as trequartista in a 4312 formation.

Our RW is still struggling and we can’t always depend on Leao to carry all the workload.

It sucks to see Adli being wasted on the bench when he can offer more than Diaz, Messias and Saelemaekers.


Theo needs rest though, there is Dest to rotate with him.
If we want to go deep into CL and gun for the Scudetto, Theo needs to stay fresh and on form.