AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has shed some light on his plan to integrate all of the new signings, and stressed the importance of movement off the ball to open up compact sides.
Milan put four past Torino last night en route to their second win in two games to open up the Serie A campaign. Christian Pulisic got the first, an Olivier Giroud penalty re-established the lead, while Theo Hernandez and another Giroud spot kick out the game beyond doubt.
Pioli spoke to Milan TV after the game against Torino to reflect on what was another night of success for his team, and we have transcribed his comments below.
“We need to think that each game helps us to develop, to get to know each other better and improve on what we prepare in training. It’s clear that, today, we played better than we did against Bologna,” he said.
“We need to keep this work up and make use of every day in training, and every match to always improve.”
Pioli was asked by the interviewer about how the Milan players were constantly moving around the field and away from their ‘normal’ position.
“This is normal against an opponent like Torino. We were in position and all of us were marked. By baiting them up the pitch and moving a lot, we created 1v1s where our players could show their quality.
“Movement without the ball is really important. We did it well tonight and Mike had a lot of time to make a decision. He made the right choice pretty much every time. It gave us a good base to try and cause them issues.”
There were San Siro debuts for a few different players including Tijjani Reijnders, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Pulisic as well as substitutes Noah Okafor, Samuel Chukwueze and Yunus Musah.
“The team is happy when they play at San Siro. I’m pleased for the new guys who got to have that experience for the first time because getting to the stadium, earning up, hearing the fans support us for 90 minutes in a game is an incredible feeling.
“I’ve always thought, to get things working, there needs to be balance, a give and take between the team and the fans. We try to give everything that we’ve got to make our fans happy because they deserve the very best.
“They’re further along than the other new players but as soon as I’m able I’ll give minutes to the rest… Okafor, Musah, Chukwueze. You can train, train, train, but only playing helps you to understand your team-mates, your opponents and the difficulties of Italian football. We’ll try to bring them in.
“The players need to rest, celebrate the win, and we need to prepare for the next game because it’s the last game before the first break and we want to play well in Rome too.”