AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has insisted that his side will play to win against Atletico Madrid as he reflected on the path of growth his side have been on.
AC Milan will play their first Champions League home game in seven years tomorrow night against the LaLiga champions, who ironically were the last team the Rossoneri played at home in the competition.
Pioli spoke to SportMediaset on the eve of the game as part of his media commitments and looked ahead to tomorrow’s match, with his comments relayed by MilanNews and translated below.
“We are back in front of the fans with great satisfaction. We expect a lot from ourselves and we will take a lot of energy from our fans,” he said.
“I think this team has been very good at exploiting the negative incidents to bring home something important and to continue to grow. We were less dynamic than usual with the ball and less aggressive than usual without the ball in Liverpool, that’s it. I expect the team to grow against an opponent who is strong, attentive and ready to take every opportunity during the match.
“I think we are showing that we always believe in it and we have to do this. There are difficult moments during a match, but whoever is in it with the most spirit has a better chance of winning until the end. This must be our mentality. winning matches in which there is to suffer and it is an important stage in our growth.”
Milan are facing an Atletico Madrid side who are LaLiga champions but have won just one of their last five games in all competitions, that being through a last-minute goal against 10-man Getafe, who have lost all seven league games so far this season.
Nonetheless, Pioli still knows what they are capable of: “I do not underestimate them, we are talking about a very strong team with a coach who has given a great mentality.
“I think they are one of the teams that recovers more points in the last minutes of matches, and when you do it with this continuity it means that there is a great mentality. They lost their first game of the season [in the last round], but I would have preferred the opposite. We will find an opponent injured and therefore determined and ready.”
Brahim Diaz is Milan’s man of the moment with four goals already this season and three of them being game winners, including the second goal during the Rossoneri’s 2-1 triumph over Spezia on Saturday.
On Brahim Diaz: “Both the club and I have confidence in the young players, even those who had difficulties last year. Brahim? I’m happy that he is doing well. He is a pure attacking midfielder, he is giving us quality and many solutions, in addition to working without the ball.”
On ‘Piolismo’: “I think Simeone has been at Atletico for more or less 10 years, you can’t compare them with me, my career at Milan has just begun. The relationship that has been created gives me satisfaction and motivation. In my head the relationship must last as long as possible, this is the most important thing. You have to give your all and try to bring home something important.”
On whether he is expecting a win: “We will play to win.”