AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli claimed he is not distracted by rumours regarding his future at the club ahead of Monday’s Serie A resumption.
The Rossoneri get their Serie A campaign back underway on Monday night as they face the trip south for a game against relegation battlers Lecce.
Pioli will be without striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic who is continuing to recover from a calf injury, while centre-back duo Leo Duarte and Mateo Musacchio will both be unavailable too.
Two players will be welcomed back though in Theo Hernandez and Samu Castillejo, both of whom missed last Friday’s Coppa Italia exit at the hand of Juventus due to suspension, while Ante Rebic will be looking to avenge the red card he got in that game.
Pioli spoke to the media before the game and his words were transcribed by MilanNews. As was perhaps to be expected, it began with a question about his future.
Is it difficult to isolate yourself from rumours about the future?
“As far as I’m concerned, no, but I think it’s the same for the players. We are professionals, especially because there are 40 days left, we can’t be distracted,” he said.
“We have a great goal to chase, our position in the ranking does not reflect our qualities and we have the possibility to prove it. Then those who decide will decide, but they never decide for themselves.”
“The team is focused and motivated. We were aiming a lot for the Coppa Italia and it is a regret to have come out like this, we tried to the end. We are Milan, we have to give our best always. I have seen a concentrated team and tomorrow I expect a determined team.”
Milan were denied all three points against Lecce at San Siro earlier in the season due to a late Marco Calderoni strike in what was Pioi’s first game in charge.
“I believe that the sums should be drawn at the end, but the points you have in the standings are what you deserve,” Pioli said.
“On several occasions we would have deserved different results, but this means that in some aspects we have been lacking. If you don’t win you learn, and I hope that we have learned a lot and not to repeat certain mistakes.
“If the season had not been resumed ours would have been a season of regrets, but now we have 12 games to reach Europe instead.
“We have to chase and we have to do it well and as soon as possible, tomorrow resuming with a victory will be very important because in 40 days we play all the games. We have regrets for the Italian Cup, especially for the first leg. Partly for our own demerit and partly for certain decisions.
“Playing behind closed doors affect everyone in a negative way. The fans are football, we will no longer have adrenaline and we will have to find it within us. But it was the only way to start again. I congratulate Gravina for how he managed the situation and for allowing us to return to play.”
On Ibrahimovic, Musacchio and Duarte: “They are the 3 players who will not be called up. Ibra is better, he will have another test next week. He is working with great dedication and commitment.
“Unfortunately for Musacchio, I think his season could be over. Duarte may be available for the next game.”
On the struggles scoring goals: “We are not the fourth worst attack in the league because we have not created, but because we have one of the lowest shooting percentages. We have to improve in this.”
On Leão, Colombo and Maldini: “I certainly want more from Leao. He must be more aware of his potential. Colombo is very young but has good qualities, like Daniel. We have young people of perspective who have quality and potential to be players. from Milan. There are some good characteristics to work on.”
On the ownership: “The presence of the club has never been lacking. Gazidis has always been present little because he has other duties, then of course his presence can only please.”