Stefano Pioli spoke to the press ahead of tomorrow’s Sassuolo match as he hopes to get Milan out of the crisis.
Milan are in a terrible moment of form: they haven’t won any of the last 5 matches, playing dire and awful football, recording losses against Torino (1-0), Inter (3-0) and Lazio (4-0), and draws against Roma (2-2) and Lecce (2-2).
Tomorrow at 12:30 at Stadio San Siro, the reigning Champions of Italy face Sassuolo of Alessio Dionisi. 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 others:
It’s a difficult moment that came a bit suddenly, will it go away just as quickly?
“Tomorrow we have an opportunity. I think in order to get through this moment, we need to have great capacity for compactness, unity and the ability to turn over a new leaf. Thinking too much about what we had to do and could do doesn’t help us. We know we can do much better and we are happy to be back playing in front of our fans, who were an inspiration in Rome [against Lazio]: they showed compactness and support for us. It’s our turn now.”
After Lazio, you spoke of a great desire to work, do the players also have this same drive?
“Absolutely. No one should think that the players do not want to overcome this moment or that they are not putting in 100% into it to do better. There has always been great focus and will. You overcome this moment by working, as we have always done. We have always believed in our work.”
Will there be any tactical changes? Will Rebić play? Can he be the man of the comeback?
“All players must feel ready to overcome this moment. Everyone must be ready to help the team at any time. Today we still have an important training session and then I’ll decide.”
Maldini said that you have slightly lost the spirit that led to the Scudetto. How do you find the spirit for last year?
“For those who play team sports, it’s normal for energy, positivity and spirit to increase with performance and positive results, and can drop with negative performances. So you recovery by working and winning games. I always start from the principle that playing well helps, but in this moment getting positive results is important above all.”
What message do you send to the fans: do you still believe in the potential of the season and in the Scudetto?
“The fans do not need a message from me, but they need to see our qualities and the way we play. We will try to satisfy them and we guarantee our maximum commitment. Words are nice but only tomorrow’s result matters anyway.”
There have been few goals from the attack: are you worried?
“The last 3 games have been negative overall. There are therefore many things we can do better both offensively and defensively. Right now it’s the collective that must help the individuals and not vice-versa.”
Do you expect anything from the mercato?
“We have the resources and qualities necessary to get out of this moment. The club has expressed itself on the mercato for some time. We are recovering the injured players, we didn’t need Tomori’s injury… But we are fine like this.”
Has anything changed in the group? How to play against Sassuolo?
“Nothing has changed within the group. There is great cohesion and availability. Normally there is some less smiling and more silence. There is also more attention to work and that is what we want. It’s an aware group, which feels a sense of duty and respect for the club and the fans.”
What do you expect from Sassuolo?
“Sassuolo can be aggressive but also less so. It’s a technical team, we will have to play precisely from a technical point of view and be careful on the counterattacks.”
There are similarities in the first goals conceded in Lecce, in the Supercoppa Italiana and against Lazio…
“In terms of the timing they are similar, yes, but in terms of tactics they are different. We’ve worked on it, because in the defensive phase we have to be more lucid and polished both in terms of the entire department and individually.”
What solutions are needed to get out of this moment, simple ones?
“Clearly, the things I have been saying to the players these days go in the direction of simplicity: simple things must be done, and well.”
What answers have you received in the two retreats?
“I think I have the necessary sensitivity of knowing my players well and knowing what they need to motivate them. Clearly, if my players have done so much wrong then it means that the first person responsible is me. These days I’ve tried to be more clear, simple and direct to try to work better.”
How is Theo Hernández?
“Yesterday he trained with the group and at the end of training he was fine. If he continues like this today then we will be available for tomorrow.”
How are Calabria and Tomori doing?
“Davide took a tasty hit, but then he trained yesterday with the team. He’ll be there. Fikayo will certainly be out against Sassuolo.”
How is Krunić doing?
“He has recently returned. He is an intelligent player.”
12 shots on goal and 9 goals conceded. Is there a goalkeeper problem or a defense problem? Do you have Devis Vásquez in mind for tomorrow?
“Our opponents are scoring with a very high conversion rate, but we are conceding too many important chances and it becomes difficult also for the goalkeeper. The collective has to defend better. As for Vásquez, I don’t see him ready to play yet.”
Can a change of formation be made?
“It can, but I still think it’s not a problem of positions on the field, also because we vary them often.”
At what point is De Ketelaere at?
“He is definitely doing better physically than at the beginning the league. He is stronger and breaks away more. He is an offensive trequartista and if he plays then he’ll be there. At times he’s played 4-4-2 together with Giroud up front.”
Do you need to think game-by-game?
“Yes, that is the objective, we look at match after match. To prepare well for the Derby, you have to do well tomorrow. From these moments you also come out with dirty and characterful matches. Maybe winning tomorrow will bring back self-esteem and results and we’ll go back to being beautiful, but now we need concreteness. We have never won by good luck and have never lost by bad luck. We will need to do something more.”
What is the trident of Messias, Brahim Díaz and Leão giving you today?
“Until the game against Lecce we were scoring and average of 2 goals per game. After that in the last few matches we did much less: building too slowly and struggled to overcome the first pressure from the opponent.”
Is Bakayoko out of the project?
“Baka is available, he trains well and then I make the best choices for the team.”
Tammy Abraham’s goal looks like a bolt of lightning that shook the team, what can be the bolt with which Milan return?
“The lightning bolt has to be the awareness of the moment we are going through that has to be approached as a great possibility and challenge. Now we are the ones who have to believe in what we are doing and we have to do everything to get out of this delicate moment. The lightning strike can happen in any game; let’s hope it happens in our advantage.”
What did you mean in Rome by ‘talking less’?
“In this job we talk a lot. I meant that, at that moment, I wanted to talk little and get right back to work.”
Is a tactical shake-up needed?
“We need to do the simple things and we need to work well with consistency for 90 minutes in both phases of the game. Every ball can be decisive.”
We need 3 points tomorrow
Will Devis ever be ready?
Lol how unready can you be compared to Tata’s recent showings?
Same question I’m asking. Smdh. Other clubs purchase players and start them right away. Only Pioli will take 5 years to get a player ready. What a coach!
Almost more important than a win, is a clean sheet. Back to the basics boys. And no, the problem is not tata. Our main problem this season is a lack of Kessie replacement