AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli believes his side conducted the game against Newcastle United exactly as was planned, without finding the finishing touches.
Milan came into the game against Newcastle needing a response after a dismal 5-1 defeat in the derby against Inter on Saturday, and they certainly managed to rectify a lot of those issues in their Champions League opener.
The stats show just how dominant the Rossoneri were with 25 shots to the visitors’ six, with nine of those on target to the Magpies’ one. Milan also had four big chances to zero, and the xG suggests the score should have been at least 2-0.
However, it was 0-0 due to Nick Pope’s heroics and some bad finishing, which makes progressing from the group a bit more difficult after PSG beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in the other game.
Pioli spoke to the reporters who gathered in the conference room at San Siro after the game to try and assess what was a positive performance from his team but perhaps two points dropped, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.
Did you expect this Newcastle?
“We know them well. They are usually very aggressive. We probably took some of the pressure off by moving the ball well and making them move.
“We conducted the game as we wanted. These are games you should win, but we weren’t able to finish the situations well that we could have exploited differently.”
How is Loftus-Cheek?
“Maignan said he felt something small, while Ruben said he only had cramps, in fact I was bringing him off anyway…”
What happened in Leao’s head for that missed chance?
“Football lovers like Rafa because he tries things that aren’t normal for other players. He does things that he can do and others can’t. It’s clear that the goal was gaping there.
“I feel sorry for the boys, they put in what they had. I’m sorry for the crowd because they cheered us on throughout the match. I’m sorry because it will be a tough group and we wanted the victory.”
How do you comment on the performance of the new signings?
“Musah, Loftus and Chuku need to play to get used to the mechanisms of their team-mates. They need to play and they have been ready, there will be opportunities for them because we play every three days. I have many players, maybe the others will probably play against Verona.”
Will Maignan have a scan?
“Maignan will do some evaluations tomorrow. I think it’s unlikely that he will play on Saturday, but I don’t know. Theo is ok, he’s fine, he takes a lot of hits every game.”