AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli believes that game against Atletico Madrid at San Siro is an important one, but ‘not decisive’ like some are making out.
Milan made their return to the Champions League after a seven-year absence earlier in the month as they were beaten 3-2 by Liverpool at Anfield and now they will host Atleti, who were ironically the last side to play at the San Siro against the Rossoneri in this competition.
The Diavolo are riding high with five wins from six in the league and they face an Atleti side that have won just one of their last five games across all competitions, that being a last-minute goal against 10-man Getafe.
Pioli did his press conference live at Milanello on the eve of tomorrow night’s Champions League match against the LaLiga champions, with his comments transcribed by MilanNews and translated below.
You are a team that is already mature, is that correct?
“We are having our experiences. So far we have been good at exploiting the opportunities to do something more. We are young, where we cannot get to with experience, we must get there with enthusiasm. That enthusiasm that ours will give us tomorrow too. fans.”
The Spanish champions arrive tomorrow. What kind of a game are you expecting?
“It is not true that they are in a bad moment. They are very prepared, they have a great coach. They have players of the highest level who are ready to punish even the slightest mistake. We will have to play a great game on a technical level and stay focused throughout the match.”
How do Milan need to improve to fight against certain clubs in the Champions League?
“The level is very high. The details make the difference, in Liverpool they punished us for the slightest mistake. We have to play simple and fast. Atletico Madrid are strong. We have to raise our level from every point of view to be competitive against a very strong team.”
How’s Giroud doing?
“Losing two weeks of training conditions you. The 45 minutes in La Spezia were useful, his condition will improve in the next matches.”
In terms of qualification, could tomorrow’s match be important?
“Tomorrow we will not lack the desire to play our game. Let’s get back in front of our fans. It is an important but not decisive match. We certainly want to change the 0 points from our ranking.”
How is Theo’s growth progressing?
“He is also growing a lot from a defensive point of view. On Saturday he played very well in the defensive phase, one of his best in this respect. Everyone knows his offensive qualities, he is also varying the way of playing a little. He is reaching levels. very high.”
How are the injured players?
“For Kjaer and Florenzi, training this afternoon and tomorrow morning will be fundamental. For the others it is more difficult, I think it is probable that they will return to the field after the break.”
Do you think you can stay at Milan for a long time?
“In my head, the relationship I have created with the club, with my players and with the Milan environment does not expire. We have the same ambitions, the same desire to get the most out of every match. Now, however, let’s think about tomorrow’s match which is very important and must be faced with energy and enthusiasm, knowing that a very high level match will be needed.”