Pioli names three players crucial to Milan’s turnaround and discusses renewal of star trio

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has hinted that the club will try to renew Zlatan Ibrahimovic while picking out three players key to the club’s turnaround.

Since football resumed post-lockdown Milan have the best record in Europe having gone 20 games in a row without defeat in all competitions, winning 16 of them including a huge 2-1 win over Inter on Saturday to move them top of the league.

Pioli spoke to Radio Anch’io Sport on Monday morning about a number of different topics including recent form, his stay at the club and some renewals that need addressing, with his comments transcribed by MilanNews and translated below.

“Our start to the league was important, we are satisfied, but we are only at the beginning. We are thinking about one match at a time. Now we must concentrate on the Europa League, then we will see what happens,” he said.

It must be remembered that a few months ago it was not even guaranteed that Pioli would stay into this season as they club appeared set to hire Ralf Rangnick.

On remaining as boss, he added: “There is a work group that has always thought only about working. The break allowed us to get to know each other better, we were together and we improved our mechanisms. We worked well and now we are achieving positive results.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic showed his decisiveness once again as Milan continued their perfect start to the Serie A season with a 2-1 win over Inter at San Siro on Saturday.

“Ibra is giving us a lot, but the growth of all the others is also evident. Our work is there for all to see, we try to bring out the best in each player.”

On the growth of Milan: “This Milan was born in January 2020 with the arrivals of Ibra, Kjaer and Saelemaekers. From there we have grown, it is a journey that began a few months ago and now the results are coming. We know that there will be difficult times, but we are a united group that wants to do and always wants to win the next match.”

On the January transfer market: “We shared everything with the club, we tried to strengthen the team and we succeeded. We started from afar with some renewals and some redemptions. Our investments were for the present and above all for the future. Now we think about winning as many games as possible.”

On the turning point of his Milan: “Since January we have changed our way of playing, we have changed form with Ibra who often exchanges positions with Calhanoglu. The boys now know each other better, they have more confidence, obviously the positive results help to have greater awareness in our means.”

On Ibra’s future: “Not even he is thinking about the future now. The best thing is to see him happy to train and play, then we’ll see what happens next season. It’s still early now.”

On Tonali: “He had a difficult summer. He is a player with great potential, he has great qualities and knows how to move the ball fast. For me he is a starter, my luck is to have many starters. We are not even anchored to only one game system, we will see along the way.”

On the many goals scored in Serie A: “There is the will to adapt to a more modern and European football. Everyone wants to try to play the game and therefore it is normal to leave more space behind. It is important to enhance the spectacle, for me it is better to think about scoring one goal more than the others than to concede one less.”

On his work: “We always try to be close to the players to work in the best possible way. We love what we do and we try to do it as best we can.”

On Donnarumma: “The club knows how important he and the other expiring players are. They are working to fix the situation. Gigio, Calha and Ibra are important to us and we will do everything to move forward together.”

On the Europa League: “We are Milan and we have to play every competition with ambition. Playing so much will not be easy and I will need all the players, but I will always play the best line-up.

“We want to do well in Europe, we are in the team. Europe that matters less, but we want to try to win it. Our group is balanced, Lille are first in France, we must try to start our journey well.”

On Bakayoko: “We think we’re okay like this. I have confidence in the four central midfielders I have. I have never dealt with the economic aspect.”

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli