Pioli adamant Milan ‘didn’t deserve to go out’ against Man Utd as he analyses European exit

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli believes his side deserved more from their Europa League last 16 tie against Manchester United having been the better team over the two legs.

Milan were up against it from a selection point of view with no centre-forward fit enough to start. Leao and Rebic are injured and Ibrahimovic has just come back from a lengthy lay-off, so Castillejo was given the nod as a ‘false nine’ style frontman.

Just like in the first leg there was very little to separate the two sides on the night, though this time Milan had no answer to United’s goal early in the second half. It would be substitute Paul Pogba who was the tie-winner as he capitalised on the Rossoneri’s inability to clear their lines to score within three minutes of coming on.

After the 1-1 draw in the first leg the result means that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side went through 2-1 on aggregate, as Milan missed out on a first Europa League/UEFA Cup quarter-final since 2002.

Pioli was interviewed by Sky Italia after the game, and expressed regret at how the tie ended up, with his words relayed by MilanNews.

On the defeat: “It’s an elimination that we regret, in the two games we played like a great team. We had to score in the first half, our path would have changed. Too bad, we did a lot to get here, I think the team deserved something more and we didn’t succeed.”

On United: “They are a very strong team, last year they reached the semi-finals, they beat City. The two goals they scored were more our demerits than their quality and we had to score a goal tonight for what we did. I can’t blame the players, I’m very sorry we are out, we have to recover immediately, we dive into the championship and we want to do well immediately.”

On the absences: “I hoped to reach these two challenges by playing with the best possible team. The changes we could have helped us if we had had Rebic, Leao, Mandzukic… But the two performances were excellent, we just missed a goal, we have to find that little in our qualities.

“We are young but we must not look for excuses, this match must make us grow a lot. We are so sorry not to be able to score a goal despite having played evenly against this opponent.”

On the Champions League race: “Anxiety no, difficulty yes. The top seven teams are very strong, being there to fight for it means a lot. We have the opportunity to take advantage of the full weeks and do the eleven matches with great spirit. It will not be an easy goal to achieve, but we have the qualities to do it.”

On the first half in Manchester: “We regret Kessie’s disallowed goal that didn’t seem to have a justification, but even today we didn’t risk anything and we had 2/3 important chances, a shame not to have used them. Unfortunately we didn’t succeed. One more goal. there was a round trip, this team at least deserved extra time for what they showed.”

On the distance between Italian and European football: “On the one hand I was sorry about the draw, on the other I was happy because we would have faced a side that has been spending a lot of money for years. Seeing these performances I say that Italian football is getting closer, in the two games, not being in the best conditions, we have shown that Italian football can hold up. We must continue to invest and play intensive football.”

On the goal conceded: “Meite does not follow Bruno Fernandes, he could have avoided the ball at the beginning, then a tackle inside the area can be lost. We made a mistake in leaving Pogba unmarked. From here, however, it is easy, then on the pitch it is difficult. Pogba got the better of us, sorry because we didn’t deserve to go out.”

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli

8 Comments

  1. Remyp says:

    I didnt like a manager who blame the situation when his team lost,…because he is part of the problems too for his lack ability in manage the team. The second place now is a must, we are way too drop from where we started in the first half if the season.

  2. Micah97 says:

    Pioli fails to see that we are struggling to create good quality goal opportunities…Fiorentia are on form and will pick us off on Sunday..we won’take top 4.Pioli must find a way to create Goal scoring chances… otherwise he has to be fired

  3. Joe101 says:

    says the man that started a match against Man U w/o even a single thought of scoring

  4. Zymotix says:

    Three points against la viola is mandatory for milan, if they lost its gonna be third consecutive of loosing. Management has to react don’t just sleeping beauty. Pioli has to be fired even maldini as well…..I know maldini is milan live legend but at this time we just need a right person like Boban

  5. danielson says:

    look milan fans i am tired of this team pioli must be sacked as well as maldini milan players are very slow please note this if milan loose brahim diaz,dalot we are finished cahanoglu should go too slow for my liking as a playmaker fuck it.

  6. Winn Ment says:

    Not easy for this new Milan, but this lost should make the team grow.
    I’m not sure if Rangnick or even Conte can bring Milan win the match because its complicated situation with absences, many young players, disallowed goal, plus new management, player contracts situation, etc.
    Just never give up, keep the spirit to grow.

    1. Zymotix says:

      This is why, they hire maldini to add some players during transfer window especially in January only tomori was truly capable. The rest were garbage. If he couldn’t do it leave his job cos he got paid for that. There are no use keeping mediocre player such as krunic, castillejo anymore…

  7. carra says:

    If Pogba manages to get into the second half after a 10 match absence, does anyone here think that Zlatan could not come back after a 5 match absence? This way of losing is not due to anything other than that Pioli failed with the team selection … Above all, he should have put Zlatan in after the second half …. Shame on Pioli ….

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