One man that is spotted plenty but is rarely heard from at AC Milan is Stefano Pioli’s assistant Giacomo Murelli, and he has spoken during an interview with the club’s channels.
Murelli is sometimes affectionately referred to as Pioli’s twin due to their similarity in appearance, and he spoke to Milan TV about a number of different topics including his relationship with Pioli, his footballing past, his job with the team and recent games.
“Pioli and I have known each other since we were 14-15 years old. We started our football career in Parma, our city, and we started our first professional season together in 1982 right at Parma,” he said (via MilanNews).
“I changed a few teams as a player, many more as a coach. I played in Avellino when he was in Serie A, then in Taranto and Padua. In recent years I have played in amateurs at Suzzara so as not to miss anything.
“We started together with Modena in 2004 and we have continued from there. We have been collaborating together for 17-18 years. Off the pitch, the days are endless. We often go out for dinner with our respective spouses, we try to talk about something else but often almost always we talk about football on the way from the restaurant to home.”
Murelli was asked about his role specifically within the team, given that not many people know what the intricacies of being an assistant coach really means.
“Stefano really likes interacting with the guys, he wants a frank and open relationship but is sensitive to various needs. In some situations, however, the player makes certain things known through me or other figures,” he continued.
“Now over the years I have understood what to say and what not, I try to smooth out all the situations. Some things are right to say, others maybe the coach doesn’t even want to know.”
Murelli was also questioned on the decision to field Franck Kessie as the attacking midfielder in the derby, an experiment which lasted less than an hour before Brahim Diaz came on.
“Now you always start with a formation and then having five changes, you take advantage of this advantage and change during the game in progress. The games change according to what happens in the game. Subs can change the games and that’s what happened the other day. Brahim came in at the right moment because there was a need for a faster and more perky player when we took more field.
“Surely both Stefano and all the staff have evolved over the years, we have improved. We are not the same as 15 years ago, our experiences lead us to improve and propose ourselves in the right way.
“At Milan it is our third year, having lived certain vicissitudes led to certain choices. There is a great relationship with the management, Stefano feels very much inside the project and this leads to excellent results.”
One of Pioli and Milan’s best triumphs came on Saturday night as the Rossoneri came from a goal down against league leaders Inter to win 2-1 thanks to a brace from Olivier Giroud.
“It was a great victory and a great satisfaction that can allow us to continue our growth path. We know where we started, we know that we have a competitive team but the competition is fierce. Winning against the strongest team in the league gives us great incentives to continue.
“After Milan-Spezia we sent a message to the team. Stefano doesn’t like to complain, he thinks about the next matches. What happened with Spezia is there for everyone to see, we threw ourselves on the next matches and we only thought about them. matches setting aside the match against Spezia.”
On Rebic and the upcoming games, he added: “Rebic is a very important player for us, he is solving the physical problems he has and we hope he will be available as of Wednesday. Ante makes the difference, he is one who makes you win games and we hope he is with Lazio.
“Sampdoria is an equipped team and we will have to face with great attention and commitment. Nothing is taken for granted. We will face one match at a time and not having the midweek commitment will allow us to better prepare for the matches. We will see if it will be an advantage.”
On the goal conceded in the derby: “In every situation there are pros and cons, both in man and zone scoring. Lately this strategy has given us satisfaction but it has also put us in difficulty. Kalulu in the goal was badly positioned and did not detach as he should.
“With the video analysts we try to study every situation. Perisic found himself free because we were too crushed with the front line. In these cases the directives of Maignan who must position the defence are of fundamental importance.”