Pioli admits Europa League group is ‘not easy’ after Milan are drawn with Celtic and Lille

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has admitted that the Rossoneri’s Europa League group is ‘not easy’ after Friday’s draw.

The Rossoneri made it into the groups by the skin of their teeth as they won 9-8 on penalties in Portugal against Rio Ave last night in a shootout which had 24 spot kicks, that coming after Hakan Calhanoglu had levelled with a 120th minute penalty to force it.

Their rewards will be games against Scottish champions Celtic, Czech side Sparta Praha and French side Lille, as was confirmed in Friday’s draw.

Pioli spoke to news agency ANSA to react to the Europa League group stage draw, and his quotes were transcribed by MilanNews.

“It’s a balanced group but not easy. Our three opponents occupy the first two places in their respective leagues. We will face them with great determination. Returning to Europe was our goal,” he said.

Celtic have won the Scottish Premier League nine years in a row, while Lille have won three of their first five Ligue 1 games and are unbeaten, currently sitting in second spot.

Sparta Praha meanwhile are a perfect five wins from five since the Czech Liga resumed, with 18 goals scored and only five conceded.

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli