AC Milan got their season underway with a win but it wasn’t without a fight as they beat Udinese 4-2 in a six-goal thriller at San Siro.
Milan started their title defence in the worst possible way as they trailed inside two minutes through a Rodrigo Becao header from a corner, but a penalty from Theo Hernandez and a first-time finish made it 2-1, though Masina’s header made it 2-2 at half time.
After the break the Rossoneri quickly regained the lead through Brahim Diaz’s close range finish and then a second goal from Rebic on the night effectively put the game to bed, with Milan treating the 70,000+ crowd to a spectacle in their first game back.
Pioli spoke to the reporters who gathered in the press room at San Siro to reflect upon a hard earned three points to begin the season and the performance that brought it, with his comments relayed by MilanNews and translated below.
You made it seem easy what certainly wasn’t easy…
“We complicated the game despite showing that we were superior to our opponents. We conceded two goals due to our carelessness and technical errors. It was not an easy game, but we were team creating dangers with ease, but making mistakes to fix.”
It was a great performance by Rebic…
“He presented himself very well. If Giroud hadn’t had the problem this week I don’t know what choices I would have made, but Ante is complete, he’s strong. He sees plays that aren’t easy to see, runs and chases. It must continue in this spirit.”
Thoughts on De Ketelaere and Origi?
“I hope to struggle, to have difficulties in choosing, the players know that they have to compete against each other. We have a strong team and now we miss Zlatan. There have been moments with many injuries. The new players need to play: some are a little more ready, Origi has done a few trainings with us, Charles has recently arrived, Yacine is strong…”
Leao and Maignan among the candidates for the Ballon d’Or: how satisfied are you? How much more can they grow?
“Very happy for them, it’s a great satisfaction. I would have put Theo Hernandez in the 30, but I don’t know how many defenders there are on the list. We are aware of our path, we have done many good things, but we could do better. We are not perfect, but we must work to be as perfect as possible.”
Was the team a bit unbalanced?
“It has nothing to do with it. When you train you have to put risks and benefits on the plate and we think that this way we have more benefits. I don’t think we are unbalanced in this way.”
How did Origi and De Ketelaere get on?
“They came on and did well. Divock is more mature and comes from a very high level league and a type of team with a similar game to ours. Charles is a great talent, he is very curious; he has had a particular summer, his condition he has to go up but he has everything to do well.”