Pioli highlights why Milan should not be worried by Spezia loss and discusses return to Europe

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has stressed the importance of a reaction against Red Star after Saturday’s defeat to Spezia, but insists there is nothing to worry about.

Milan fell to their first away league defeat of the season as they were soundly beaten 2-0 by Spezia. Much like the Atalanta game at San Siro, the Rossoneri were outpressed and outfought in all departments who were good value for the win.

They will have to put things right tomorrow night in the Europa League Round of 32 first leg against Red Star and restore some confidence ahead of Sunday’s crucial derby against Inter.

Pioli answered journalists’ questions ahead of tomorrow’s Europa League match against Red Star, with his responses transcribed by MilanNews and translated below.

Are you excited to get back to playing?

“We are happy to return to play in Europe. The team must have the same desire to go through as the one they saw against Rio Ave. We want to be the surprise in Europe.” 

How is the morale of the team after the defeat against Spezia?

“We have to look forward as we always have. In sport it is not what you have done, but what you will do. We want to start well even though we know it is a tie that lasts 180 minutes. We play against a team that is dominating its league.” 

Are you already thinking about the derby?

“We wanted with all our strength to be here to play the Europa League. We must remain humble and have great convictions in our means. Let’s think about tomorrow, then we will have time to better prepare for the derby.” 

Was Romagnoli right when he said you underestimated Spezia?

“The worrying thing would have been if we had lost playing like Milan. On Saturday we didn’t play like Milan. Now let’s look ahead and think about the next matches.” 

How is Mandzukic?

“He’s a great professional, he’s got in well. He’s working hard, he’s very available. He’s ready to play tomorrow too.”

Will Ibra be in Belgrade tomorrow?

“Ibra will be called up. They will all come to Belgrade”

How will the next matches be?

“A period with many matches begins. All are important, starting with tomorrow’s. A decisive period begins for both Serie A and the Europa League.” 

How is your experience with players whose last name ends in -ic?

“I like them very much because they are hard workers. They are strong, they are great personalities. They respect you and say what they think, I like people who do this”.”

Will playing without a crowd be an advantage for you?

“We are sorry because we wanted fans. The fans would have loaded the Red Star, but we too, we miss hearing the fans at the stadium. I’m sorry that there are none tomorrow.”

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