Pioli labels Milan as his ‘home’, praises colleagues and reflects on ‘vital’ UCL experience

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has once again stressed his belief that the team are on the right path and are learning a lot from all the experiences and situations they encounter.

Pioli gave an interview to Gulf News while at the Dubai Expo where he, Brahim Diaz and Fikayo Tomori will spend a couple of days over the international break, and he began by talking about what it means to have two champion strikers like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Olivier Giroud.

“AC Milan needs everyone. Zlatan and Olivier know what it means to win and the sacrifices that are required to achieve great results,” he began.

“I think this team has great potential. We have never ruled anything out, but this is my current view: let’s pick up more points than last season, play every game as if it were absolutely decisive and then see where we end up. Not being involved in any more midweek fixtures will allow us to do targeted work and give our players more rest.”

Pioli, Tomori and Brahim will pay a visit to the local Milan fanbase while in Dubai through a number of fan-centred events as the global event prepares to wrap up on March 31. The trip will also see the Rossoneri delegation involved in a series of partner activations and meetings, an opportunity for the Club to be close to local partners.

“Dubai is constantly evolving, something that hasn’t gone unnoticed in the sports industry,” continues Pioli. “We are proud to be part of Expo 2020 Dubai with an AC Milan Academy, putting our experience and the values of our club at the disposal of local children.

“I am curious to see how the city has changed over the years. The impression I had was that of being surrounded by buildings in constant transformation, and of being in places where time and space had no limits.”

Back to football, Pioli believes that the strength of the work done in the last 2-3 years has been very much a join effort rather than simply his merit as a head coach.

“It’s been a job that has seen all of the components of our club involved. Elliott Management has put us in a position to work as best as we can, while everyone has also benefitted from the presence of club Executive Ivan Gazidis and his international outlook.”

The former Fiorentina boss has also benefited from the support of club legend Paolo Maldini.

“On a daily basis, I’m lucky enough to converse with him, he is an indispensable point of reference. I’ve always said that I’ve had the fortune to coach a great group, players who perfectly embody the values of this club. Together, we’re trying to write a new page in history.

“After just a few days at AC Milan, I felt something I’d never experienced before anywhere else: I immediately felt at home. This is what AC Milan is for me: home.

“Our objective is to make our fans happy. This is why we play. We are lucky enough to have extraordinary supporters, and we’ll never stop thanking them because their passion has always been contagious.”

Milan were back in the Champions League after seven years this season but despite leading three games, they ultimately only won one and fell short of getting to the knockout stages.

“We have learnt a lot, but, above all, we are aware that we need to do more because the bar is very high. It is all about the details in the Champions League. Getting used to playing certain matches allows you to acquire vital knowledge and experience.”

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli
Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.