Capello explains why Pioli has ‘considerable advantage’ over Roma and makes final declaration

By Oliver Fisher -

Fabio Capello believes that the winner of the tie between AC Milan and Roma will go on to make the Europa League final, and he picked out why Stefano Pioli has a ‘considerable advantage’. 

There are few better to ask about a game of this magnitude than Capello, who represented both Roma and Milan as a player. He won the Coppa Italia with the Giallorossi in 1969, then with the Rossoneri he won the Coppa Italia again in 1977 and also won another Serie A in 1979.

As a manager Capello won four Serie A titles with Milan in his first five seasons, while he also won the 1993–94 Champions League by beating Barcelona 4–0 in a final that has gone down in the history books.

It would be fair to say he knows a bit about big occasions, and Capello spoke during an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport (via PianetaMilan) which was published on the day of the first leg, previewing the all-Italian tie in Europe.

“The Rossoneri are a European team, history says so. The objective is to get to Dublin and try to win the only trophy they have never won in Europe,” he said.

“Pioli has a considerable advantage, because in the league they secured qualification in Champions League and can now focus on the Europa League. For Roma, the challenge against the Rossoneri has a double value: managing to lift it in the final on 22 May would mean not only achieving a great international goal, but also obtaining a pass for the next Champions League.

“Pioli often focuses on aggression, his man-versus-man approach has on many occasions been the key to closing the game to opposing setters and taking advantage of the quality of his sprinters on the counter-attack.

“De Rossi seems to me to be very attentive to transmitting his principles of play to the group, who have understood them quickly and know how to apply them: Roma bite and are capable of going vertical immediately.

“Against Milan’s speedsters, great defensive solidity and clarity will be needed to hit the Rossoneri when they become unbalanced. Also pay attention to free kicks, because both know how to hurt, especially Roma, and to the fight for dominance of the midfield.

“Leao and Dybala , the imaginative men, deserve a separate discussion. The show will come from their feet and their creativity. Dybala is an inventor, he is fantastic in the tight spot and always offers many offensive solutions: he dribbles, shoots, assists.

“Leao is impressive for how he combines power and technique at speed: his bursts can put anyone in difficulty and San Siro spurs him on. Alongside him he will have a champion like Giroud, a guarantee on gala evenings, like Lukaku in the opposite area.

“This is De Rossi ‘s most delicate task: he will have to be good at managing the moment (after the victory in the derby against Lazio), bringing the team back to its nest to face the away match at San Siro with the right balance.

“Milan, instead, will play the derby after his return with the Giallorossi: getting there with the Europa League semi-final in their pocket would give them the right energy to avoid the mockery of Inter’s Scudetto celebration in the derby itself.

“Milan and Roma have what it takes to offer an evening like the one at the Bernabeu between Real and City in the Champions League. And to aim for Dublin: if you are looking for a Europa League finalist, look at Milan-Roma.”


Tags AC Milan Fabio Capello Milan Roma
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