Pioli offers honest reflection after Parma draw: “We didn’t have the right approach and were a little sluggish”

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli is not seeing it as a positive night despite his side coming from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw against Parma.

Despite having the vast majority of the chances and possession, the away side found themselves two goals up through Hernani’s strike and Kurtic’s second-half header.

The Theo Hernandez show ensued then, as the full-back halved the deficit moments after the second goal with a thumping header, and in the first minute of added time at the end of the 90 he was on hand to hammer home a loose ball and rescue a draw.

Pioli spoke to the media after the game and despite his side’s spirited comeback – just like in the Hellas Verona game – he cannot see it all as positive.

“It remains an off night, as we are having some difficulties, especially Gabbia and Bennacer’s injuries,” he said (via Football Italia).

“As for the game, for the first time I’d say we didn’t have the right approach and were a little sluggish. Parma did very well on the counter, we could’ve equalised earlier and didn’t, but this is a team with heart and desire. It’s fine.

“Clearly, we wanted to win and we had the chances to do so. Parma had two shots on goal, but we also made mistakes on those two goals.

“We weren’t as sharp in the second half, but that can happen when you are putting so much spirit into the chase, throwing men into the box and trying to get it back on track.

“Parma deserve credit for making the most of their forwards, who have a lot of pace and are good at one-on-one situations. However, on the first goal, there’s clearly more of us in the box than Parma players, yet we got hunched up and didn’t cover the spaces.

“We had a lot of chances and should’ve scored earlier, it might’ve been a different game if we had, but it remains a genuine positive step forward in terms of mentality and character to get this back on track.”

Pioli was asked about whether his team are beginning to feel the affects of fatigue with such a rigorous schedule.

“I think the team is in good shape, both physically and mentally. I wouldn’t blame the Europa League, as I changed practically all the players on Thursday, so they can’t have been tired because of that.

“I don’t think we’ll have much time during the Christmas break to put some fuel in the tank in training, especially as we’ve got Juventus and Atalanta straight after the restart. It’ll be useful to rest more mentally than physically for a few days.”

Would Pioli sign on the dotted line if offered fourth place now?

“Milan haven’t been in the Champions League for a long time, it’s only right that the team is ambitious and proved it can fight it out with everyone, so we just have to continue like this. The only thing I would sign is a new contract!”

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli