AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has conceded defeat in the Scudetto battle but is proud of how his young team continue to battle for a top four finish.
Pioli had to do without suspended centre-forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic so Rafael Leao led the line with Rebic, Calhanoglu and Saelemaekers in support, and the difficulties going forward were there to see as several chances were squandered.
Things started off very well for Milan when Ante Rebic fired in his sixth league goal of 2021. However, the usual concerns appeared to be rearing their ugly head again when Mattia Destro scored for the third time this season against his old club, levelling before the break with a header from a corner.
Despite a resolute Genoa defence Milan found a way, though it needed an own goal from Gianluca Scamacca to restore the Rossoneri’s advantage and ensure that Stefano Pioli’s men stay second for another week.
Pioli was interviewed by DAZN at the end of game, with his comments relayed by MilanNews and translated below.
“We know that we have an important goal, we know that the matches that await us are very difficult. We wasted too much, a lot. We could have closed it in the first half, but the important thing is that the team has put in the field the desire and the right spirit,” he said.
On playing Rebic closer to Leao: “The opponents closed us more to the left and we pushed to the right. Then we know that Rebic is more of a second striker than a winger, these are his characteristics and we like them a lot. He gives us depth and he has a lot of quality, he scored a goal of enormous technical difficulty.”
On the Scudetto battle: “We haven’t fought for the Scudetto in 3 or 4 games anymore, Inter have taken too many points. It would be exceptional if Milan returned to the Champions League. We are the third youngest team in Europe, no team so young is above tenth.
“We have to grit our teeth again and bring home the final result. We have to overcome strong opponents like Juve, Atalanta, Napoli and Lazio. They will all be difficult matches, starting with Wednesday’s against Sassuolo. If you let me go home now I’m going to prepare (laughs).”