Pioli offers assessment on opponents Porto and names ‘best thing’ about coaching Milan

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli believes that the upcoming two games against Porto will be crucial in determining the Rossoneri’s Champions League hopes.

Milan have left themselves with a tough job to do if they are to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition having lost their first two group games. The first was a 3-2 defeat at Anfield against Liverpool where the team led at half-time but emerged empty-handed, while they also led against Atletico Madrid at San Siro before a dodgy red card and an even more dodgy penalty gave the Spaniards three points.

That means that Milan need to get a win on the board as soon as possible if they are to stand any chance of finishing above two other sides in the group, while Porto are looking to bounce back from a 5-1 drubbing by Liverpool after a solid 0-0 draw against Atleti in the first game.

Pioli spoke to Sky on the eve of the game against Porto, with his comments relayed by MilanNews and translated below.

On tomorrow’s match: “It is very important but it is not decisive yet. The double meeting with Porto will greatly affect the group table.”

On Porto: “We studied them well. They are used to games like this, they have strong and fast attacking players. It will be difficult, but we have our own way of playing that we have to carry on.”

On the growth of Milan: “Our Champions League ranking does not reflect the performances in the first two matches. We understood that in competitions like this, details make the difference, this is where we need to grow to be able to compete in Europe as well.”

On the absences: “I’m sorry to have lost Rebic too who was fine. The squad is competitive, who will play is strong, I also have spare parts. We will see what choices to make, Ibra is better. We will see how we will start the match, then we will also have some changes to improve the game.”

On the maturation of his team: “For me it is the best thing, I train a group of players who always give their best. Seeing their improvement is a great satisfaction. Good coaches are those who make individual players grow and therefore the whole team. team. I am convinced that we can grow further.”

On the way to Europe: “The two games are easy to analyse: in Liverpool we suffered the first 20 minutes, but against the Reds everyone suffers. With Atletico Madrid we did better. We committed some inattentions in the defensive phase that they have compromise the final result. We met two very strong opponents, we were close to their level but something was missing. We have to be careful about everything.”

READ MORE: Milan looking to complete squad – latest on four targets and three potential exits

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