Pioli discusses lessons from first leg, risk of underestimation and turbulent last 24 hours

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli believes there is ‘no risk’ of his side underestimating Slavia Praha tomorrow night, while he insisted there is calm surrounding the team despite the headlines surrounding the club.

Milan travel to the Czech capital with a two-goal lead in the bag after the first leg, but that doesn’t even begin to tell the story of what was a very dramatic game at San Siro, and unsettling in equal measure.

Olivier Giroud, Tijjani Reijnders and Ruben Loftus-Cheek scored for Milan in the first half while Christian Pulisic added a late fourth, but Slavia played for 70 minutes with 10 men and scored twice while a man down, making it 1-1 and 3-2.

Slavia head coach Jindrich Trpisovsky made the bold declaration at full-time that his side will beat Milan in the return leg, and he is right to feel optimistic after last week’s showing.

Pioli spoke alongside defender Fikayo Tomori in his pre-match press conference at the Fortuna Arena on the eve of the game, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.

The first 30 minutes of the first leg were even. What lessons did you learn?

“We worked on that part of the match, we are ready but at the same time I think it will be a different opponent.”

The last 24 hours have been turbulent. Have you had to put the team in a bubble?

“Around us we saw calm, a lot of serenity and we concentrated on the pitch to better face tomorrow’s match.”

Are Milan at risk of underestimating the match due to the two-goal advantage they have?

“There is no risk. We have a decent advantage with a performance of determination and quality. They are used to attacking a lot, with intensity, but this means trying to find more spaces.”

Is there a previous performance you would like to see replayed tomorrow?

“There is no game of reference. We know what type of performance we have to put in tomorrow. We have to attack well, defend well to take the advantages we need.”

The Club World Cup will see Inter and Juventus participate. Why aren’t Milan in it? Were they not worthy of participating?

“I haven’t looked much at how the parameters for the Club World Cup work. Milan, having not made European competitions for some time, have not reached a certain ranking [UEFA co-efficient]. The objective is that, for its prestige, this club must get to play in the Club World Cup.”

Do you want a more cynical rather than beautiful Milan?

“We believe that playing better than your opponents can give you a better chance of winning.”

The Primavera re in the Youth League Final Four. Also, what are the similarities with Rennes?

“I congratulate Ignazio and the boys for progressing to the next round. It testifies to the work of our youth sector. There are some similarities with Rennes. We know what to expect. Tomorrow’s match counts and we are very careful about Slavia.”

After Empoli you told us that you only had one doubt about your team. How difficult is it to choose today given that you have the whole squad at your disposal?

“When you have many strong players, the choices are easy but you also have a plan B that can correct what you chose at the beginning. I chose the team this morning during finishing based on the positions and what we want to do on the pitch tomorrow evening.”


Tags AC Milan Slavia Praha Milan Stefano Pioli


  1. Just need to defend and counter. But Pioli didn’t ever seem to want to do that against attacking teams.

    Hopefully we don’t get caught in possession. Ultimately I think we go through but it feels like another uncomfortable win.

Comments are closed

Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.