Head coach Stefano Pioli has admitted that AC Milan were not at their best during tonight’s win over Torino but praised the team for the grit they showed.
Coming into the game against Torino off the back of two 3-2 wins and a 4-2 victory in Serie A against Atalanta, Hellas Verona and Bologna, you could forgive Milan fans for having gotten used to excitement and plenty of goals to celebrate.
Tonight did not follow that trend as a resilient Granata side arrived, one that had conceded just ten goals in their opening nine league games to begin the season, and they restricted Milan to just one good scoring chance. That chance fell to the man they didn’t want it to right where they didn’t want him to be as Giroud had the easy task of stabbing in a flick-on from a yard out to give the Rossoneri all three points.
Pioli spoke to DAZN after the game and reflected on the performance, with his comments transcribed by MilanNews and translated below.
Are you satisfied with the game?
“Very, very much. It is difficult to play against Torino, for us it was the fourth game in ten days with so many players who have played all of them. In the second half we weren’t dynamic and only took risks at the end. I liked the desire to take home a difficult but deserved victory.”
On Leao’s spirit and sacrifice: “He longer surprises me, I know and appreciate him very much. The whole team worked a lot. In the first half we were a bit higher in terms of pressure, in the second we lowered ourselves a bit and when it happens you can concede something: we left only the opportunity to Sanabria and something on set pieces.”
On the substitutes: “It’s part of our mentality and our work. If we have to play a certain type of football we have to prepare ourselves in a certain way. By playing every three days the training sessions are much more limited, but the players have this desire to interpret the matches in this way.
“Today there were many duels, I am very satisfied with the desire to suffer and always stay in the game. We had a more difficult moment in the second half, we gathered together and overcame it.”
Leao’s position: “From the moment we couldn’t dribble behind it was better to have more players close together to win the duels. In my opinion we could have moved better with the two midfielders. We didn’t have a great dribble but on the second balls we always fought as if it were the last ball and that’s right.”
On the balance that Saelemaekers gives: “He lacks a little more clarity in simple plays. He must be more clinical, his growth has been clear and important. He has dynamism, quantity and quality. Strong players don’t get it wrong with simple plays, we have to be that kind of team there.”
On the depth of the squad: “We have three important matches next week. The club and the technical area have been very good at building such a complete staff. I’m sorry I couldn’t get Leao to catch his breath, he’s spending a lot. I hope Rebic can be back soon.
“We must continue to have this spirit and this generosity. It’s difficult to play well against Torino, we adapted well and it was a good match. The other games I think can be different games with opponents playing in another way.
“I’m not watching Napoli, I saw them on Sunday for the first time against Roma, they have a very strong coach. Roma have a good team with many attacking solutions. It will be another challenging and difficult match in which we can have our say.”