Pioli praises effort; insists there was a ‘very narrow difference’ between Milan and Juventus

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has insisted there was a ‘very narrow difference’ between his side and Juventus over the two legs after Friday’s 0-0 draw.

Ten-man Milan emerged from Turin empty handed despite a battling performance against Juventus, who reached the Coppa Italia final on away goals.

The major drama came in the 17th minute when Cristiano Ronaldo saw a penalty well saved by Donnarumma, before Ante Rebic saw straight red within seconds for a dangerous high boot.

Milan battled incredibly hard against a man advantage and had their half-chances, but ultimately it would be Juventus who progressed due to their controversial last-minute penalty back at San Siro.

After the game Pioli spoke to the cameras of Rai Sport, and his words were transcribed by MilanNews. The boss began by highlighting the injustice of the first leg.

“It’s disappointing that I have to say it, but over two legs the penalty at San Siro proved decisive,” the coach said.

“We also felt the pressure of Juve’s passing game and possession, we were naïve with the penalty and red card, but then played very well and had two or three chances to score. If those had gone in…

“It’s a pity, as this was our objective, we didn’t manage it, so now we must qualify for Europe in Serie A. It was a very narrow difference over the two legs, they both ended with draws, it’s just that by conceding at home, we were then forced to score in the second leg.

“We held out exceptionally in defence, especially the centre-backs, and that must show us that we can be solid, because we need these skills going forward for the rest of the season.

“It’s disappointing, we really wanted to play the final. What we need now is to be more consistent, as so far this season, we haven’t taken home the results that we deserved, as our finishing hasn’t been up to scratch and we didn’t convert enough of our chances.”

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli