AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has conceded that Porto were better than his side in most areas as the Rossoneri fell to a 1-0 defeat in Portugal.
An injury-hit Milan side never really got going in truth as the home side were better in every department and took advantage of Atletico Madrid’s home defeat to Liverpool, closing the gap between themselves and the Spaniards to one point thanks to Luis Diaz’s winner in the 65th minute.
Pioli spoke to SportMediaset after the game and gave his version of how he saw the defeat, with his comments transcribed by MilanNews and translated below.
“The incidents can determine the result, but we had been in difficulty. They did better for their clarity and technique, and for how they were on the pitch. We didn’t start well, we had to manage the ball better, there were situations to create some more danger but we didn’t succeed,” he said.
“The performance was not the best, at these levels if you don’t play with clarity it becomes difficult. They did better than us.”
The result means that the Rossoneri have played three and lost three in their return to the Champions League after a seven-year absence and are four points off second place with three games to play.
“We have to believe. It’s easy to say, but it will be harder to put him on the pitch. We have zero points, but the latter are 4 points ahead of us. Now let’s go back to the league, then we’ll think about the Champions League later on. We made the wrong evening,” he said.
Porto took the lead that their pressure had overall deserved in the 65th minute, and it came courtesy of the danger man Luis Diaz. A cross was not cleared well enough and was allowed to drop on the edge of the box where Bennacer was bundled over and Diaz stepped up to curl a precise shot inside the far post as Milan players pleaded for a foul.
On the refereeing, Pioli added: “I have to think about training the team well, as far as the referee is concerned I don’t want to talk about it. I have to be more focused on other things.”