AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has insisted his side lacked the quality and rhythm to break down a Cagliari side who came and parked the bus at San Siro.
Milan knew that a win against an already-safe Cagliari side would have been enough to secure a first Champions League berth in over seven years, but they froze under the lights of San Siro and ended up drawing 0-0, meaning a final game shootout remains on Sunday.
Pioli spoke to Milan TV after the game to analyse what could very well be a damaging draw, with his comments transcribed by MilanNews and translated below.
“It’s easy to say that it didn’t have to be like that. A team that had such exciting, convinced and confident performances had to keep playing. We tried, we tried to be a team until the end. We lacked choices, quality and rhythm and when the game got complicated everything became more delicate,” he said.
On what was missing: “Cagliari played their game: all behind the ball and 11 men in their half, individual plays, 1v1s and set pieces could be fundamental: we did not find the necessary starting point to take the lead.”
On how to regain morale: “I don’t think my task will be particularly difficult. Tonight we will go home with great disappointment and sadness because we wanted to close the speech today, but now we have the final. It is a prestigious goal, we have worked all year to reach him, on Sunday there will be no ifs, buts or excuses. On Sunday we play for a lot, all of this season: if we deserve to go to the Champions League, we really have the opportunity to prove it.”
On the match against Atalanta: “We will have the morale and the will to play a great match. We have the ambition to end this season well.”