Pioli insists Milan’s identity is ‘pretty clear’ despite tough draw and gives update on injury situation

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli blamed a lack of ‘pace and quality’ for his side’s sluggish performance in the 1-1 draw against Udinese at San Siro.

Milan’s title hopes were dented as they were held to a draw at San Siro on Wednesday night. It was yet another disappointing home performance in which the Rossoneri struggled to break down their opponents, with the absences of key players felt.

Rodrigo Becao’s second half header that looking like earning all three points for the away side, but a late penalty allowed Franck Kessie to level from the spot and rescue a point for Milan.

Pioli was interviewed by Sky Italia after the game, and reflected on the performance in what was a very difficult game for his side.

“It is normal to expect more, we knew the difficulty of the game, completely different from Sunday. The spaces were reduced, we needed more pace and quality in the duels, which we were unable to do,” he said (via MilanNews).

On the absences: “We didn’t have any particular characteristics in this type of match, without Ibra, Mandzukic and Calhanoglu to penetrate. The forwards they had today are better at exploiting the space.”

On Tonali’s injury: “Tonali came out due to a contracture, the others are all still to recover, difficult for Sunday, hopefully for next week. The commitments are starting to become many and difficult.”

On the doubts after the good victory in Rome: “There are no doubts, the identity is pretty clear, then the matches must be developed according to what the opponents do. Today we were less fast, with few personal initiatives aimed at overcoming the opponent. The doubts must not arise because in the last matches Udinese have lost only once.

“We leave disappointed by this performance because we are ambitious. The enthusiasm will return from tomorrow. Sunday we seemed the best in the world, tonight we are not so bad.”

There was a pause just before the hour mark to remember Davide Astori, who was tragically found dead in a hotel room three years ago on this day, while Pioli was the head coach of Fiorentina and he was the captain.

On the memory of Astori: “Sometimes coincidences make these moments strange. Even three years ago we had to play against Udinese, they say that everything passes over time, but that’s not the case for those who met Davide. He was a special boy and is always with us.”

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli