Pioli labels his players as ‘lions’ and reacts to Tonali’s late heroics against Lazio

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli praised the amazing travelling support for not giving up, and he also revealed his belief that his players get ‘too little credit’ for their ability.

Milan kicked off the second half of their game against Lazio tonight facing the biggest test of their character all season as they trailed 1-0 to a Ciro Immobile goal that came inside the opening few minutes at the Stadio Olimpico.

Olivier Giroud restored parity with a goal not long after the restart with a close-range finish and then it was Sandro Tonali who made sure he stole the headlines with a winner in the second minute of added time, poking home after a header back across goal from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

After the victory against Lazio, Pioli spoke to DAZN to reflect on the performance and the magnitude of the result, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.

On the value of this victory: “It is right to be satisfied and happy for this victory. Our fans are fantastic. I am happy for my players they are lions, if I were them I would be angry because they have too little credit and instead they are showing to be strong players. My players are really too strong.”

On winning at the death: “Unfortunately we had a bad start to the game, we conceded a bad goal. But once again my players were compact and put the game back in place. Lazio put us in difficulty, they are a strong team. We have taken an important step forward, now let’s think about the next match.”

On Tonali’s goal: “In the first half we had a few occasions in which we could use the ball at the far post. In the second half we changed the way of building the action a bit. Before the match I told the team that we have to be more determined to get good chances. We are in the Champions League, this is important for us. Last year, at this point, we didn’t even know if we would make it to the Champions League. The last steps are the most complicated, but we will try.”

On the last minutes of the game: “Leao had a great game, then in the end maybe he was a bit tired. I tried to put some energy. I was convinced we could win. Even today we have created a lot.”

On Tonali: “I have many captains, I have a very available group. In Serie A there was no team with such a low average age to fight for the Scudetto. Let’s enjoy this moment and think only of the next match. We will have to be ready for the next game against Fiorentina.”

On the Scudetto race: “I told the team that we must try to win them all, it would mean reaching 86 points. The season is difficult for everyone, not just for us, just look at what happened today in Empoli. We are only thinking of us. and to our next match.”

On Giroud: “He is a great player and a person of depth. It was a perfect signing.”

On the defeat in the derby: “There was a lot of disappointment, we wanted to reach the Coppa Italia final. We always took something away from our disappointments and we did it again this time. The title race is still open.”

Tags AC Milan Lazio Milan Stefano Pioli
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