AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has downplayed the nature of the problem that Rafael Leao sustained towards the end of the defeat against Fiorentina.
Milan had a chance to put pressure on Napoli by getting a win against a makeshift Fiorentina defence, but it would be their own mistakes that cost them. Alfred Duncan punished a drop from Ciprian Tatarusanu and Riccardo Saponara’s curling shot doubled the lead before the break.
Dusan Vlahovic scored to make it 3-0 but Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave the Rossoneri hope by scoring twice in six minutes to make it a one-goal game. An error from Theo Hernandez allowed the Serbia international to score a late fourth goal and condemn Milan to their first defeat of the season, with a late own-goal a mere consolation.
Pioli spoke to DAZN and reacted after what was a bitter pill to swallow, with his comments relayed by MilanNews, and he picked out three things that his side lacked from the early stages.
“The incidents were unfavourable and when this is the case it means that we have put in less determination, quality and attention than usual. In the first half we did everything we had to do, not having scored was the only drawback,” he said.
“It is not the classic game in which you lose because it is not your day, but we have shown character. I am convinced that we will react well, this defeat is hurting us a lot: we have the qualities to do well until the end.”
There was a moment of worry late on as the bright Rafael Leao went down under a challenge and had to come off.
“He just has cramps. He accelerates and tears constantly, there is a chance he may be tired and I think he can recover in a couple of days,” Pioli said.
Which goal made you the most angry?
“All 4. Fiorentina scored us the first time they got into the box. The fourth ended the game, when we were still in the game thanks to our spirit. We didn’t succeed, but we have to be very lucid and balanced. We made mistakes, so we always have to play with determination and attention. Today we paid for the episodes, not for the performance.”
Milan are the team that has conceded the most goals in the first 15 minutes…
“If the numbers repeat themselves in the long run it is no coincidence, we absolutely have to improve. It is right to be criticised because we lost, but we made a strong team performance, which creates a lot and which takes its own risks.
“We made mistakes by paying for them at a high price: if an opponent makes 5 shots on goal scoring 4 goals, it means that there had to be more attention. Maybe it wasn’t the luckiest evening possible.”
Despite the defeat, Ibrahimovic is always there…
“His charge is always there. The team’s performance was there, then we have to eliminate the mistakes that we paid dearly today. We had also started well, then on a corner kick we immediately scored. we started out slow and soft. Today the episodes were unfavourable to us. We have to make sure that the episodes come back to us favourable.”