Pioli dishes out thanks and praises Milan’s ‘collective’ in declaring: “We deserved second place”

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli thanked the management, his players and his wife in reflecting on sealing a Champions League return.

Milan ensured that they will be playing Champions League football for the first time since the 2013-14 season with a colossal 2-0 win over Atalanta.

Milan went into the game knowing that only three points would guarantee a top four spot, with Juventus and Napoli facing favourable games against Bologna and Hellas Verona respectively.

In the end it would be a Franck Kessie penalty in the first half that would set the Rossoneri on their way, and they got a second spot kick in added time at the end of the second half that the Ivorian also tucked away.

The result also means that Milan leapfrog their Lombardy neighbours into second place for their highest finish since 2012.

Pioli was interviewed by Sky Italia at the end of the game, with his comments transcribed by MilanNews and translated below.

Mission accomplished, how did you achieve it? “We achieved it because we deserved it and we deserved second place in the standings. It was right, unfortunately we had thrown away last Sunday’s match point. I am really excited and happy. I have to thank the club for making us work spectacularly. Thanks to the managers, the technical area, the players, the collaborators and the fans who once again showed us today how much Milan is worth. We are satisfied to have them happy.”

Kessie the decisive man? “Never as tonight I believe it is right to enhance the collective beyond the individuals. When you have these satisfactions in a season it is also thanks to the players who have played less… Gabbia, Krunic, Dalot, Kalulu. Kessie is in the spotlight and deserves only the compliments for the season she has done.

“It is all we have done together, the strength not to break down in difficulties. I am very proud of the mental growth of the group. We played with Zlatan only 19 out of 38 games, taking away the champion from the other teams for half the season I would like to see what they would do. I thank the club, now there is satisfaction and we must enjoy it. I also thought that if we were fifth it would be a difficult summer. Now we enjoy it and then we will leave again.”

Have you ever wondered why you were better away from home?

“We asked ourselves, we tried to evaluate this situation well. We weren’t a team that made a lot of 1vs1s in the last quarter of the pitch. We miss the individual play when the teams close, in this data we are below average. We lacked some individual play. On the road, perhaps we found some more space, this is a situation that we will have to evaluate.

“I heard that this team took advantage of the absence of fans in the stadiums at least initially to find serenity, but I’m sure this team here with the enthusiasm of our fans at San Siro would have grown a lot. What the fans did for us this morning and the other times has filled us with warmth and passion, we have shown that we believe in it together with them. To conclude I want to wish my wife on our wedding anniversary, they are 34 years together. Grant it to me (laughs).”


READ MORE: Milan players ecstatic as UCL hymn plays in the dressing room

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli

9 Comments

  1. chernor says:

    job well done, but please maldini bring in another coach

    1. Red milano says:

      C’mon mate

    2. pooop says:

      With the injuries the squad had, and Zlatan injured on and off. Its great work by the coach. Some fans are realy retards.

    3. Kourosh says:

      You are crazy. Nobody could’ve done better.

  2. Cesar says:

    I hope Pioli leaves Milan he is a bad coach and Milan was lucky today and qualified for the Champions League. To make Milan more successful, you need a coach with authority and a man who will know what type of players Milan needs for the new season and the Champions League.

  3. Ed3lm4n says:

    Those who want Pioli out don’t know this Milan team. He is the right man for these players. With the win against Atalanta he has now won against every Serie A team. You can get lucky once, but not every week. There was a dip in February, but you can’t blame the coach when things go bad and then say it’s luck and only on the players if you beat Juventus and trash Torino. If you still don’t get that another coach wouldn’t have done better after finishing second, you’re simply biased and frustrated because of other reasons. This coach will stay and continue to build this team. He will see his limits some day, like every other coach, but that’s not today. You can’t just wish for somebody else every time there’s something you don’t like. If you can’t aknowledge this seasons great performance it’s time to move on as a supporter, not for the coach. Forza Milan

    1. F3n says:

      Ed3lm4n your comment is nice. Unfortunately Pioli lack tactical flexibility. Next season all the teams will know our tactic and it will be more difficult. Current Milan squad is built around young hot prospects and Pioli doesn’t have the intention and knowledge to develop young players which is fundamental separation with the project. For example he prefers to play Maite who is on loan instead of Tonali (Italian international). He prefers to play Krunic instead of Hauge. And lastly he players our of posions. Pioli do great job of creating team spirit and mentality of togetherness but this doesn’t do him coach capable of winning cups. Hope next season to qualify again for champion league but we can’t expect anything better from him. That’s why I also think that better coach is needed!

  4. Shackur says:

    Even as a fan we all have our own views and opinions, let’s not use insulting words because of what someone believes. (@Kourosh and @pooop) Guys the target at the beginning of the season is champions league qualification with little resources and it has been accomplished. I seriously would have wanted another coach but look Pioli is one of the lowest-paid amongst the top five coaches, his team is fourth in terms of highest-paid teams….and still, meet up his target. At least one reason this season is a success is no exodus of players/coaches out or in. I believe we should rather be grateful now and wish the club gets top players to beef up rather than our starting over and over again policy.

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