Pioli discusses ‘difficult’ win against Lazio, Dortmund clash and Loftus-Cheek’s injury

By Isak Möller -

Stefano Pioli and his AC Milan secured yet another three points this evening as they beat Lazio by two goals to nil. The manager, once again, was very pleased with his players and the performance. 

It was a tight first half between Milan and Lazio but at the start of the second, the Rossoneri started pressing very high and were very successful. The opener eventually came through Christian Pulisic and Noah Okafor then doubled the lead later on.

Speaking to DAZN after the game, as cited by MilanNews, Pioli discussed the big win and also shared an update on Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who left the game with an injury. The extent of the injury is not known yet.

A Milan that improved in the second half…

“Honestly, we had prepared for a Lazio that would dribble less in the centre and work on the flanks instead. Sometimes in the first half, we forced it a little too much, we stretched out and had a few counterattacks. Certainly in the second half, we were more compact, energetic and with a higher level of desire. It’s not easy to play every three days, but I think we won a difficult match with great merit.”

What did you say to Adli when he came off?

“I said it was the first match he played at San Siro. He could have been a little more involved and we could have looked for him more. I have to carefully review whether it was he who didn’t find the right position or whether sometimes his teammates delayed certain solutions. But he is growing a lot and has become a starter for Milan, that is, one of the 20 players who can play any match. An important growth, he worked a lot to get here and now he must continue to grow.”

On Musah and his movements…

“In my opinion, when Calabria had the ball, both Pulisic and Loftus always worked as short options, so whoever received the ball was easily markable. We should have gone deep with one of them.

“Yunus has more insertion characteristics, a lot of running. He’s growing, I would like him to be a little more disciplined without the ball for how we want to work but we can allow some inattention for all the energy and quality that he put into the match.”

Once Adli left, you put Reijnders in front of the defence and not Musah…

“Yunus can play there in the centre, but I think his characteristics are those of a box-to-box midfielder. Tijji was a little tired and has great ball-handling. We have many alternatives in midfield, it would be a shame if Ruben stopped. One step at a time, tomorrow morning we will evaluate everyone.”

Loftus-Cheek’s condition…

“Yes, something pubic/abdominal, a little higher towards the abdominals. An important muscle group was touched, let’s hope for the best. But usually, injuries come when a player is doing very well.”

With Adli on the pitch, Milan must be aware of having a dribbling playmaker…

“We are a team that wants to dribble more. In my opinion, the strategy in the first half was to dribble less and look for depth based on how they were positioned on the pitch, but we didn’t always do it at the right times. In the second half, we took different positions and wanted to dribble more, Yacine touched the ball more and is someone who knows what to do with the ball.”

The dialogues with the players on the pitch…

“I told Kjaer that there had been a situation on the outside in which Calabria forced Hysaj out and Kjaer found himself facing Zaccagni open, due to his characteristics it was better to wait. Simon told me that he was in the right position to make that climb. Instead, I complimented Giroud, everything is fine. Center forwards are happy when they score, he hasn’t scored and maybe he’s less happy. He wanted to score on his birthday.

“Who starts in Dortmund? The more doubts I have, the better. It is important to have strong players on the bench who can come in and help the team in difficult moments. It’s a certainty that we have, I also have so much faith in Jovic that he just has to work hard to find the best conditions. I’ll see who will start with Dortmund.”

On Dortmund…

“Honestly, I saw them in difficulty against PSG, but I think that was thanks to PSG. I’ve seen the latest in the Bundesliga, it’s a team with great intensity and quality up front with Reus, Malen, and Brandt. They are a team that combine the intensity of German football with the quality of their attacking players, a difficult match for sure in a big stadium.”

Are you going to watch Inter now?

“No (laughs, editor’s note), I won’t watch it until we play them again on the return leg.”

Milan will take on Borussia Dortmund next, more specifically on Wednesday, and after the 0-0 draw against Newcastle the Rossoneri will be looking to grab their first win in the Champions League this season.

Tags AC Milan Lazio Stefano Pioli


    1. Oh yes he can. He’s the manager, not Kjaer and Kjaer himself has a couple of sloppy out of positions that almost cost us a goal.

  1. “I said it was the first match he played at San Siro. He could have been a little more involved and we could have looked for him more…”

    I could clearly remember a scenario when Pioli called Adli to the touchline, and judging by Pioli’s hand gestures, it seems he was telling Adli to stay around the centre circle. Don’t know if anyone saw that too.
    Because of Lazio CF and Guendouzi positioning, when Milan was passing out of defense, Adli passing route was cut off, the kid cleverly started drifting wide, especially to the LB position beside Tomori to create a passing option, then Mister had to just come in and put a leash on him

    1. Well noticed. Adli was adapting to receive the ball. The thing he’ll have to work on is his movement after reception. He had a harder time finding a lane for his teammates without forcing it.

      Pioli was of course Pioli.

      1. Glad I’m not the only one who noticed. Pioli is such a hinderance to Adli’s career, it’s almost disgusting. Bench him all season and then when he gets his chance only due to injuries, won’t allow him to adapt to the opponent’s game

        1. And Pioli decision was right. If Adli became wider and wider to the left, not just he clash with Leao, Reijnders, and Theo position but the central mid will be empty. Adli mistakes almost cost us when Lazio managed to used his absent with a couple of quick counter attack. Luckily for Adli, Lazio forwards wasn’t on their best day.

          But of course the ‘i’m smarter than Pioli’ mf’s are too blind to see that 🤣

          1. That is why there is the inverted role for calabria, when your colleagues change their position you cover for them. There was no need to call people MF

    2. It was a semi man mark by Lazio on Adli. If Aldi came into a certain space he’d be man marked from that spot onward which was central. But Aldi’s movements were poor in the first half. Whatever Pioli told him at half time worked because Adli move more smartly in the second half. Him moving wide when the other two mezzalas were not picking up what he was doing was creating problems for our defence and midfield ofc. It’s why on some occasions we looked susceptible to the counter. It takes a long time to figure out the role though but with enough time he’ll get it

  2. Dortmund is going to be difficult. Today’s second half was good, but so far we only won against sitting ducks, we need to step up if we want to make it out of this group.

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