AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has insisted that his side are only at the beginning of their journey together and that they must not lose focus in what is a crucial period.
Milan will be looking to take a big step towards securing qualification for the knockout stages of the Europa League when they host Lille on Thursday night.
The Rossoneri know that they will move on to nine points from a possible nine with a win over the Ligue 1 high-flyers and would be at least five points above third in the group with three games to go.
However, they will face a team that has certainly impressed over the last couple of seasons, and Pioli spoke to the media on the eve of the game.
The questions and his answers have been transcribed by MilanNews and translated below.
Is your team becoming more mature?
“Our goal is to always lead the games. We want to be proactive. We are a young team, but also mature in the way they are on the pitch,” Pioli began.
How important is tomorrow’s game?
“We know that in this period we would have had many games. Tomorrow we have an important match against a strong team, we are focused only on continuing our path in the best possible way.”
How do you judge this positive moment?
“It means that we are working well together. We have started a journey but we are only at the beginning. We must continue to have the courage to grow.”
Did you think you were first in Italy and Europe after two months?
“I always like to think positively. I have always believed in my boys. We always try to win, but we are only at the beginning. We are like those who have just started digging a well to find water, we want to find the source but it is still far away and we still need to work a lot.”
Will you make changes to the line-up tomorrow?
“Tonight’s training will be important. There will be rotations, because we need energy and freshness from a mental and physical point of view.”
How can your Milan improve further?
“From a technical point of view and choices in the last metres of the field we have to become more precise. We are doing very well at attacking in deep, but we need to be more precise and make the right choices to be more dangerous.”
Is there a danger that too many compliments can lower focus?
“No I don’t think so. Our strength has always been balance. We know we can still improve a lot, but we also know we are aware of what we are doing. We cannot change our attitude. We are young, we have not won anything and therefore we still have a lot to do.”
Did you expect this impact from Diaz and Dalot?
“They were signed for their qualities and we are satisfied that they were immediately ready. They quickly understood our mechanisms, they are young but with great desire and ambition. As for their future, there are those in charge to think about it.”