Pioli pinpoints what made the difference in draw vs. Roma as he confirms rotation against Sparta

By Oliver Fisher -

Stefano Pioli has claimed that dead ball situations made the difference as his side squandered a lead three times to draw with Roma.

Milan saw their 100% record in Serie A come to an end but not their unbeaten run, as they were unable to hold a lead on three separate occasions.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored brace and Alexis Saelemaekers fired home early in the second half, but it not enough to take all three points.

The Swede scored inside two minutes before Edin Dzeko levelled after a Ciprian Tatarusanu error, and Saelemaekers restored the advantage within two minutes of the restart but Jordan Veretout equalised after a contentious penalty.

Milan thought they had done enough when Ibrahimovic tucked away a penalty of his own following a foul on Hakan Calhanoglu, but Marash Kumbulla bundled home a late equaliser.

Pioli was interviewed by Milan TV after the game, with his comments transcribed by MilanNews and translated below.

“The summary of the game is that I never stop except on the final result. There is a bit of regret, Alessio’s shot would have allowed us to win a complicated but well-played game. In the first half we could have been more lucid in our choices,” he said.

“If it had ended 4-3 I would be even more satisfied. We are growing, we played against a strong team that finished above us last year. We have a strong identity and players, we managed to limit Roma’s attacking players. Dead balls made the difference, but we too had our chances with Kjaer, Kessie and Romagnoli.

“I will make changes also on Thursday, mentally it becomes difficult playing every three days. It is important that the team asserts itself on the pitch no matter who comes in, we have our principles and we must find them.

“There will be changes on Thursday also because on Sunday there will be a difficult match at 12:30. This year the most difficult matches will be those like against Udinese due to our commitments, we will have little time to prepare it.

“But we will think one game at a time, Sparta Prague are a good team and a difficult game awaits us. They had a week off.”

Tags AC Milan Milan Roma Stefano Pioli