AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli was not exactly full of praise for the way his side managed the 4-2 win over Bologna at the Stadio Renato dall’Ara.
Rafael Leao scored with a deflected shot and the home side received their first red card of the night as Soumaoro hauled down Rade Krunic, with Davide Calabria doubling the advantage before the break to put the Rossoneri in a commanding position.
Nonetheless, the home side roared back and scored a quickfire double after the break through a Zlatan Ibrahimovic own-goal and a Barrow strike. However, Soriano saw red for a late stamp which made the home side defend even deeper.
As time ticked by, Ismael Bennacer put Milan back into the lead inside the final ten minutes with a precise first time strike before Ibrahimovic netted to kill the game in the 90th minute. Pioli spoke to Sky Italia after the six-goal thriller against the Rossoblu and began with a reflection on the game, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.
“We struggled because we thought, wrongly, that the game, with two goals and one more man, was over. Fortunately we have the qualities to take it back and we won an important match,” he said.
On playing with numerical superiority: “Even in numerical superiority we lacked clarity, we were too frenetic. With Ibra and Giroud ahead we made too many crossings, we had to play it more and move it more quickly. In the first 10 minutes of the second half we had to manage it better.”
On the victory: “It is a very important victory. We know very well that the matches after the European games are difficult. It is clear that we will learn a lot from the beginning of the second half, but the team created and played. Now let’s think about Tuesday against a team who have had more time, but we don’t care: we have to think about recovering our energy and we will work to do better and better.”
On the entrance of Giroud: “I had already intended to remove Krunic even before the second expulsion. I thought that their presence would give us more advantageous solutions.”
On Ibrahimovic: “He told me he was really tired, but I replied that the important thing is to win, living the games with intensity. We are a responsible and mature group, who understand that certain games must be managed better. The result is important: in the first half we did well, we started the second with the wrong attitude but this will help us along our path.”
On the goals in the last quarter of an hour: “It is an important fact, but it is always the head that makes the difference. We are showing that we always believe in it, that we never give up; it is clear that there is a bit of tiredness because there are a lot of players missing and we play a lot of games, but it’s the mentality that makes the difference and we want to win the games until the end.”
On the condition of the team: “The first half with Verona? We played it well, they are opponents that put anyone in difficulty. With Porto we had the worst performance of this season, but I think the only one. We must grow in the difficulties of every match, then counting on our qualities that are not few.”
On the difference with the Champions League: “Liverpool’s first 20 minutes were those of a team for the first time on such an important stage, then we played it great. With Atletico I can’t blame anything, on Tuesday we did a mediocre performance and at those levels it is much easier to lose.
“I believe that the Italian league is improving in terms of pace and intensity: there are more spaces and a different mentality; we are getting closer to the European game. In the Champions League we have a group with very great teams. Now we have two other league games, then we will try to keep the way to last 16 open.”
RATINGS: Bologna 2-4 AC Milan – Bennacer saves the day; Ibrahimovic disappoints