Pioli reveals how ‘algorithms’ help Milan and reveals he would be happy to stay ‘forever’

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has insisted that his side ‘never stopped believing’ even when a goal down against Inter, and that was the key to their comeback win.

Inter were the better side throughout the opening 45 minutes as they generated a number of clear cut scoring opportunities but were only able to convert one of them when Ivan Perisic scored from a corner.

However, Milan hung in there and in the final 16 minutes of the game things changed dramatically. First Olivier Giroud equalised with an instinctive finish from a deflected Brahim Diaz shot, and then he span Stefan de Vrij before firing into the bottom corner to win the spoils.

Pioli spoke this morning on Rai Radio Uno about a number of different topics including the victory over Inter and what it means to the team, his tactical choices in that game and his future at Milan, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.

On the victory in the derby: “We never stopped believing in it. It was a more balanced game than has been said, the numbers of the match also say so. We did well to stay in the game.”

On his relationship with the players: “The relationship between the coach and the players is fundamental. I try to create a relationship of trust to try to get the most out of all my players.”

On referees: “It is the referee who decides how to interpret the game, then it is the players who have to get used to the referee’s way of refereeing. We are back in the Champions League and certain fouls are not whistled there. I am in favour of this way of refereeing, they do well not to whistle half fouls. To play with too many interruptions it’s not good.”

On match data: “We have algorithms that make us understand the physical and technical efficiency of the players during the match. Obviously the coach’s eye is still fundamental, but these data help us to do our job better. certainly an added value for us. When I started coaching I only had two collaborators, now I have 12. Things have changed.”

On Maignan: “He didn’t surprise me. We saw him at Lille and there he impressed us a lot. We had him followed by our scouts. He’s a guy who puts everything on the pitch, he’s very curious. He’s a very strong goalkeeper, he is in the national team, he is a high-level player.”

On the next matches in Serie A: “We have to show that we are a mature team. The victory in the derby must give us enthusiasm. All the matches in Italy are difficult, especially in the second half of the season. On Sunday we will have Sampdoria who won well against Sassuolo, so a great performance will be needed. But now we are focused on the Italian Cup, only after Lazio will we think about the league.”

On the ups and downs: “Having continuity helps you stay at the top. But we must not forget the path we are taking. If we are in this position in the standings, it means that we have not had great ups and downs. Let’s play proactive football. Against Juve didn’t risk anything and we tried to win.”

On injuries: “We didn’t suffer more than the others, but we suffered them all together at the beginning of November. Unfortunately we paid for all these injuries.”

On Ibrahimovic: “The season is still long. Unfortunately he is out now, but he remains a great player and an important resource for us. He is doing everything to get back on the pitch. For us he will never be a burden, but an important resource he has made the team grow a lot.”

On Kessie: “He can play in many roles. On Saturday I put him in the attack to limit Brozovic. In the defensive phase he did well, while in the offensive phase we did not have a fluid manoeuvre. Diaz entered well, we needed more brilliance and there gave it. Kessie is a professional, we’ll see what happens with his contract.”

On his future at Milan: “At Milan I feel good, I have a great relationship with the club. I could stay forever, then I know that football is full of unexpected events and dynamics, but I feel really good here.”

On the VAR: “A few years ago everyone was in favour of VAR. It is impossible to completely remove the error, the referees are doing their best to make as little mistakes as possible”.

On his run after Giroud’s goal: “I saw myself again and it took me a while to get to my players. The important thing is to have arrived (smiles). I am a very emotional person, I live in everything and for everything with my players, it was right to go celebrate with them.”

On the Scudetto race: “All the top 5 teams in the standings are fighting for everything, including the Scudetto, as well as a place in the Champions League. There are still many games. Inter and Juve for me are the strongest teams in the league.”

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Tags AC Milan Franck Kessie Mike Maignan Stefano Pioli


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