Stefano Pioli has revealed that he is ‘satisfied’ with how his AC Milan played in their 2-0 win over Shamrock Rovers on Thursday night.
With a number of key players missing including Rafael Leao, Ante Rebic, Alessio Romagnoli and Andrea Conti it threatened to be a difficult encounter for Milan to reach the third qualifying round.
Shamrock Rovers were also in fantastic form going into the game too, having won nine of their first 11 games to start the season, sitting atop the League of Ireland by eight points.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Hakan Calhanoglu were ultimately decisive, with both scoring either side of the break. The former netted first thanks to an assist from the latter, while the Turkey international essentially killed the game just over 20 minutes from time.
Pioli was interviewed by Milan TV at the end of the game, and his comments were transcribed by MilanNews.
“I’m satisfied, it wasn’t easy. The first official match brings pitfalls. Our opponents were better prepared than us but we played with the right clarity, even if maybe in the first half we could have played more vertically. It was a positive match,” he said.
“For them it could have been the match of their lives but it could have been the same for us too, the approach was right so as not to frustrate what we did last year. I liked the desire to be a team on the field. I am very satisfied, the match was very treacherous and we faced it well.”
There was a moment to remember for Sandro Tonali and Brahim Diaz eight minutes from time as both came off the bench to make their competitive debut for Milan.
“They are fine, they have only been with us for a short time. They need adaptation, they are serious and intelligent guys. They need a little time especially in the next matches because we hope to play often, every three days.
“Victory is our goal, we achieved it by playing good football. We weren’t lucky in the draw, today we played against a strong team. The next will be even stronger, we will have to put another high level performance on the field.
“Now we concentrate on regaining strength, we must be good at managing. We must feel privileged to be under pressure, now we recover and head to the championship, to the match against Bologna.”