AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has conceded that the result and performance against Inter were very disappointing, but he sees the game against Newcastle as a chance to put things right.
Pioli spoke during an interview with Sky on the eve of the game and he began with a reflection on the 5-1 defeat against Inter on Saturday evening at San Siro, which made it five derby defeats in a row, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.
“It’s normal that we had expectations, but the result and the performance were not what we expected and there is a lot of disappointment. We have we immediately started thinking about tomorrow’s match, experiences have taught us that nothing is impossible, we are Milan.
“[We are a] Responsible, united and strong group. We live with these emotions: the disappointment is strong, but we are aware that it is the start of the season and tomorrow we have the opportunity to demonstrate that we are not what we showed in the derby. I didn’t have the need to intervene, we have the chance to have a good season.”
Pioli was also asked what extra stimulus comes from playing in the Champions League and those big European nights at San Siro, as well as how he is feeling about Sandro Tonali’s return after his summer move to Newcastle.
“Playing in the Champions League is exciting in front of our fans, we know the environment we will find. I will hug Sandro before the match, he has given us a lot and we have grown together. I wish him the best in the next match.”
Given that it wasn’t pre-announced nor was it reported by any source, there was some surprise when Ibrahimovic’s car pulled up at the training ground today. He was spotted speaking to Pioli and CEO Giorgio Furlani while the team did their session.
“Zlatan was supposed to come on Friday but he had a commitment. He’s one of ours, it was an honour to coach him and get to know him.
“He certainly came to visit me as a friend, but then I don’t know. He is enjoying life and his family, but I think he still isn’t clear on what to do. He has just finished a career which saw him busy at 110%, but whatever he does will be a success.”
Pioli was asked about any selection decisions that could be made including whether Fikayo Tomori will return after he served a one-game suspension during the game against Inter.
“Tomori comes back and then we’ll see. There are other possibilities, we played the derby a few days ago. The players are available, the important thing is to feel good. Newcastle will make us take different positions, they are an English team, physical and with a lot of pace, we will have to be careful.
“Tomorrow will be a different match, the defenders will not have numerical parity and there will be other situations. In terms of cunning, attention and cunning we have paid and to play at certain levels you have to be careful and be precise. We have our characteristics, we carry on our game but always with great determination.”
Many believe that Milan will have a fight on to qualify from their group given the quality that PSG, Newcastle and Dortmund have.
“We couldn’t hope for an easy group, there is balance. PSG are favourites, the other teams are at an excellent level but we have our cards to play and starting well tomorrow would be important.”