Pioli insists Milan had a ‘great match’ against Atalanta and explains his substitutions

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli was happy with his side’s performance as they were forced to settle for a draw against Atalanta at the Gewiss Stadium.

Milan dominated the possession and the territory for much of the game against Atalanta, but they found themselves a goal down to a strike from Ruslan Malinovskyi that deflected off Pierre Kalulu and trailed at the break.

Ismael Bennacer drew the teams back level with a thumping effort from his left boot that crashed in off the boot, and despite the introduction of all five substitutes – all of them being forwards – a winner did not follow.

Pioli was interviewed by DAZN after the game and he reflected on the performance, analysing the good and bad from his side’s showing against their Lombardy rivals, with his comments relayed by MilanNews and translated below.

On the performance: “Bar winning, we played a good match, I’m satisfied. We conceded little, we played with spirit. Before we suffered from Atalanta’s pressure, today we have dribbled with ease. We should have been less frenetic in the second half, but in the first half it was right to use the depth. In the second half they got lower and needed more dribble and clarity. As Bennacer said, we wanted to win, we had a good game.”

On the changes: “I didn’t change them because of insufficient performances, but because I have strong players. We were 60 minutes to the second game of the season with this intensity and they did well. Messias played very well, Rafa broke even if I would like to enter the area more.

“I’m satisfied, but I also changed the positions: Theo, the two strikers, Charles on the trident… we have this chance and we just missed out on winning the game. Many small untapped possibilities. I liked the performance, Atalanta made two shots on goal: it means that we had a great match in both phases.”

On the movements and their timing: “I think we made the moves in the right times to clear their zones. The opportunity that Messias had is a cross from a distance with more players coming in. We have not always served these players at the right time, however the movements were there to create difficulties for the opponents.”

On De Ketelaere: “Charles is growing, I liked him a lot. He’s a boy who has just arrived, he must know his team-mates and his team-mates must know him. He has the ability to cover the ball under pressure, I’m sure he will give us a hand.”

On the transfer market: “I hope that Kjaer doesn’t take too long to recover and that Krunic recovers.”

A message to Mihajlovic, who was live from Bologna: “See you next Saturday, he will be a difficult opponent to overcome. May the best win!”

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli

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