Maignan insists Milan have the ‘best fans in Italy’ as reflects on his first season

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan has shed some light on how he tries to play the role of goalkeeper, as well as the Scudetto win and working with Stefano Pioli.

Maignan spoke during an interview with DAZN about a number of different topics, with his comments relayed by PianetaMilan, and he was first asked about playing the position that he does and how complicated it can be.

“That of the goalkeeper is a difficult role, in which you are alone. You have to do a very precise job, so you need a very strong mentality and personality, because often the goalkeeper is the most important man on the team,” he began.

Maignan spoke about his childhood dreams and what he wanted to achieve while he was growing up as a young player in his native France.

“When I was little I wanted to be a midfielder or a forward, in short, an outfield player. I became a goalkeeper because I lost a bet with one of my coaches, Romain Damiano. I had to go to Clairefontaine to take a test, and he told me that if I got to the last step he would keep me as goalkeeper. And so it was.

“As a child the player I watched the most was Gerrard, because I cheered for Liverpool, and I liked him very much.”

Maignan was a big part of the team that ended the 11-year wait for a Scudetto in the last campaign thanks to his decisive saves but also with his distribution of the ball plus his confidence and leadership.

“I expected to win immediately. Before coming to Milan I spoke with the club for a long time, and the first thing I said was that I wanted to bring Milan to its level together with all my team-mates..”

Maignan also spoke about his first meeting with Zlatan Ibrahimović, at PSG.

“I remember my first year in the first team in Paris. During a training session, we work on the strikers’ finishing. We all knew how hard Ibra shot. He struck a very strong ball from inside the box to try and challenge me. I parried it. At the end of training, in the locker room, he told me that he liked my mentality, and to continue like this. Today, eight years later, we are here together.”

The 27-year-old arrived from Lille last summer to replace Gianluigi Donnarumma who decided not to renew his contract with the club, but Maignan has insisted he did not feel that pressure.

“Last year I didn’t feel the pressure, even though I inevitably saw that people made many comparisons between me and Donnarumma. But this doesn’t change anything to me. Before every game I isolate myself, because outside people talk too much and I don’t want to feel their pressure on me. I help myself with music, or I try to close myself ‘in my world’.”

On his relationship with goalkeeping coach Nelson Dida and head coach Stefano Pioli, Maignan was full of nothing but praise.

“When I arrived at Milan we talked a lot, right away. I always try to learn from him [Dida], understand with him where I can improve, get to know Milan: he has always helped me a lot.

“The coach [Pioli] always talks to us: before every match, every day, he talks to us to transmit will and trust. Before and during the interval of the decisive derby last season, he spoke to all of us to make us feel the confidence.”

On the study of opposing attackers: “The attacker is a role that I like very much. When I watch the matches, I look more at the attackers than the goalkeepers: so when the attackers arrive in front of me, I can try to understand first what they can do, if they shoot or opt for a pass.”

Finally, on Milan fans: “We have the best fans in Italy. They gave us a lot of strength last year. I still remember in Rome, against Lazio, when practically the whole stadium was ours, or in Sassuolo: in Reggio Emilia we were sure of winning, because we had faith in us and for the strength that the Rossoneri fans transmitted to us from outside.”

Tags AC Milan Mike Maignan

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