AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has insisted that his team must keep their focus and concentration in order to continue their good run of late.
The Rossoneri will be looking to build off what has been a positive last three games in all competitions and continue their charge towards the European spot.
A 2-0 win in Cagliari was followed up by another win and a clean sheet – this time 3-0 – in last week’s Coppa Italia game against SPAL. Then, Ante Rebic was the hero on Sunday as Milan edged a thriller against Udinese 3-2.
Now sat just two points away from Cagliari in sixth, Milan face a Brescia side struggling on their return to the top flight, with the Biancazzurri second-bottom in the table having not won in their last five games.
Pioli spoke to reporters at Casa Milan ahead of Friday’s trip to face Brescia, and his comments were transcribed by MilanNews.it.
“Our interpretations are now positive, we want to continue like this. We haven’t done anything yet, we have to keep our concentration,” he said.
“At all the conferences there was talk of a crossroads, we must think that every game is the most important and turn the season. It is not the time to think about where we will be on May 24, but we must keep our heads on the handlebars and keep pushing.
“We have to improve the situations that even in these games have seen us in difficulty. We have to think about tomorrow’s game to improve our ranking also through performances.
“The important thing is that the victories came through good performances, we are doing many positive things, we have to improve many others, we needed these results, we had to have the clearest head possible.”
What exactly is ‘the Ibra Effect’?
“Ibra is an added value, for the presence he puts into the game and for the professionalism he shows every day. He is doing very well for the team and his team-mates have been good at exploiting the spaces he creates.
“He is a champion, among the best in the world, I expected a lot from Ibra and I found a very helpful person, he entered with curiosity, he studied and now he is more aware of what he has to do.”
As mentioned, Rebic was the man who sent 60,000 fans home happy against Udinese. Could he start tomorrow?
“Now I have many possibilities and many players who are doing well. He has shown that he is well, as well as Leao and Ibra.
“It all depends on the attitude, I have to choose the team that gives the most guarantees. I made other choices, the players cannot suffer psychological repercussions after finding out they have been excluded, the first eleven are important but also those who enter the game in progress.
“As we want improve and have a second half of the season different from the first these attitudes must be maintained, those who work in this way will be called into question otherwise I will make other choices.”
Pioli was asked about reports suggesting that Lucas Paqueta is currently struggling from stress and anxiety.
“We are focused on what we are doing, everyone is available and involved, as well as Lucas. Aall players think they deserve to play. If you work well then when you are called into question you get the right satisfaction.
“For the quality he has, he has to become more decisive, in the final phase either you score goals or assist. It’s missing in situations where a player like him has to have the winning play.”
The Milan boss was also asked about the future of Ricardo Rodriguez and Suso.
“I’m not the one giving updates on the market, Rodriguez had a small physical problem, yesterday he trained, he should be available.
“Suso is training very well, he is available to play.
“There are 8 days left, I don’t know what can happen, the team must remain focused and we must not lose energy on things that we can’t control.”
Pioli then discussed Friday’s opponents Brescia, and two players in particular.
“Tonali has great qualities, he must be taken into great consideration for tomorrow’s game.
“Without Balotelli Brescia loses quality but will certainly find more compactness and dynamism from the point of view of aggression, we expect a very determined opponent, we too will be very determined, we will try to win this game.”