Pioli insists Milan were ‘rewarded’ for hard work in Napoli win and explains midfield choices

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli was full of praise for his side as they secured an ‘important’ three points with a resilient performance against Napoli.

The Stadio Diego Armando Maradona was boisterous and immediately filled with big game feel, but the Rossoneri passed a very tough test of their character by winning 1-0 thanks to Olivier Giroud’s first goal for the club away from San Siro and the Rossoneri moved top.

Pioli spoke to DAZN after the game to reflect on what might just be the biggest win of the season so far, with his comments transcribed by MilanNews and translated below.

What value should be given to these three points?

“Three points that are certainly important for the table and because we beat a strong team. The boys worked a lot and then we were rewarded.”

Who will cover for Theo when he is abent?

“Franck played a bit as a midfielder today, it was difficult for him to provide cover. He touched more to Sandro. On the left wing we have great characteristics of strength and quality, there are more advantages than disadvantages.”

On Tomori and Kalulu…

“It was a difficult game, when they caught us between the lines we struggled a bit. They had to face Osimhen in one on one and they did it with personality. We all worked well without the ball, we are very satisfied. We are only with one point more than last year, there is a lot of work to do. Our goal is to improve ourselves.”

On the pressure of Napoli’s build-up…

“The choice was to field a midfield of strength and quality. We tried to work behind their midfielders with Bennacer and Kessie, we worked hard and well, we were in the game until the end. A good performance, now two very delicate games arrive. Then we will try to recover energy during the break.”

On Milan’s record against the top sides…

“We did less well against the ‘smaller’ clubs, from here to the end, however, we won’t have many direct clashes. Our top positions will pass against the team that are below us. I wouldn’t put La Spezia among these defeats, it didn’t have to end like this.

“However, it is clear that there are difficulties for everyone, we are not a perfect team. We have to show that we have learned the lesson, attitude and quality will be important in the next matches.”

It was the perfect moment for Giroud to get his first goal away from San Siro as he popped up in the right place at the right time to turn home a feed from Davide Calabria.

“My idea and the club’s idea was to include players of depth who had already won something, who know what it means to work to win. A video call was enough for me, Paolo [Maldini] and Frederic [Massara] to understand what a professional we were seeing. The more players with charisma and personality you have, especially for us who are very young, it is important.”

It is a victory that could prove pivotal in the race for the Scudetto, with second-placed Inter still to play Juventus, but Pioli is not getting carried away.

“The favourite is Inter, the ranking is still virtual. I’m sorry that there are games in hand to be played, it would be more correct if we were all playing the same games at this point in the season.”

Tags AC Milan Napoli-Milan Stefano Pioli


  1. this is how I want Milan play with the right players, right formation, right substitutions. congratulations. Pioli has made the right decision this time

    1. It’s only happen when the starting 11 was healthy, but it’s rarely happening, our depth is a little sucks
      Our rw filled with messi and sale, our midfield is krunic, our cam is krunic and daniele,

  2. The commentator before the game: Pioli has never beaten Spalleti in their previous 10 meetings.

    Pioli: Hold my beer!

  3. I think everyone is over critical of Alexis. The only thing he lacks is the the final decision. Time and again he gets himself into great positions and does more than his fair share of work to help the team.

    We all said the same about Leao last season and now he is our most consistent forward.

    I can understand why the club are backing these young guys and giving them the time they need to develop.

    And if I’m honest, I don’t think I’m a better judge of potential/quality than Maldini.

    1. Perfectly agreed with you.

      Alexis still young which is normal he’s inconsistent and less accurate in front of goals. But he will learn his lesson and improve.

      1. That is the reason why the coach should know when to use players who can be clinical in front of goal. This is a very very sensitive stage of the competition. We can’t afford to waste chances such as the one on one opportunity saelmaekers had with the Napoli goalie at the closing stages of the game

  4. Milan have to keep it up, and we have to secure some vital signing at the summer to strengthen squad most especially the mid field and the attackers.

  5. We shd give sales time to improve. His quality is there to show just only to work on his moments infront of goal.
    Good work pioli

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