Pioli praises players ahead of Samp clash but warns ‘we have not won anything yet’

By Isak Möller -

On the eve of Milan’s encounter with Sampdoria, Stefano Pioli spoke to the media at the usual press conference this afternoon. Given their recent form, of course, they will be looking to add another three points to their tally. 

The Rossoneri managed to come back from behind and eventually win 4-2 against Celtic on Thursday evening, showing their mentality. A few flaws were also highlighted, which they surely have worked on in the few training sessions since.

Tomorrow’s game will be a bit tougher for Pioli’s side, as the latter highlighted during the press conference (via MilanNews). That being said, Milan have loads of confidence after what has been a great start to the season.

What game do you expect tomorrow?

“It will be a difficult match, Sampdoria have well-trained players. We will have to be very lucid and tactically precise, the opponents are valuable.”

Can Milan be the new Leicester?

“I’m not saying that Leicester is unrepeatable, but I keep repeating that we are only at the beginning, let’s think about tomorrow’s match and face it in the best possible way to get the most out of it.”

The team manages to keep the right approach each game…

“The team has been very good at finding individual motivations for each match. We are focused on staying better and better on the pitch, trying to be proactive, to stay well on the pitch. All the efforts are needed to achieve success, without sacrifice you can’t.”

What do you say to the players?

“I keep asking my players to play well, to be determined and have a good approach to competitions. All teams want to win, the difference is in their preparation.”

A thought to those who work at Milanello…

“I want to thank all the gardeners and those who work at Milanello for allowing us to train regularly despite the heavy snow.”

Do you expect a more decisive Rebic?

“He had an annoying injury, it took away his best condition. He is doing very well for the team, on Thursday he moved very well but he was not served enough. I hope he gets back to scoring soon but he is doing well.”

Do you think Milan are undervalued?

“I’m interested up to a certain point, in football, there is no middle ground. One of our strengths is balance, this morning the training was perfect, the right preparation. A complicated match awaits us, we will have to play it at our best to get the most out of it.”

Ibrahimovic revealed that you convinced him to stay…

“With every player I try to be direct, when you speak from the heart you are more easily heard. I told him that for what we had started and demonstrated it would not be right to interrupt, in addition to all the contribution he had given. I told him to think carefully and that me, Maldini, Massara and Gazidis would have done everything to convince him. We are both happy here.”

Hauge is doing very well, who can you compare him to?

“He has important qualities, strength and qualities in one-on-one. He can still grow a lot, positions change but he’s a very intelligent and available guy. We have strong players in that role, but it’s better to rotate given the many commitments we have. It is difficult for me to make comparisons, the important thing is that he is proving to be useful for the team.”

Is it possible to see Diaz or Calhanoglu as a false nine?

“I use the players where they can express themselves better. Diaz and Calhanoglu are two attacking midfielders, one prefers the centre-right, the other the centre-left. Then many times we play with the false nine, often even when Ibra plays. The important thing is that two players give solutions between the lines and others in depth.”

Thursday’s race brings a lot of experience…

“We have been good at always taking something away from each game for our growth. On Thursday we suffered something, but at the same time you can go under in the result and recover with the attitude.”

How are the injured?

“Surely Ibra, Leao and Kjaer will not be available tomorrow. Kjaer must be re-evaluated in a week, we will have clear ideas. The boy is calm and sorry, he is a rock, he always wants to be present.”

What is Musacchio missing to return?

“He is close to coming back, he has had a very long, dangerous and important injury. He is getting close to returning to the list.”

Theo is improving further…

“I see a player who is increasingly attentive and focused, with the right approaches, he is growing, he has important technical and physical qualities, he must continue this path of growth. Almost all Milan players can still achieve important improvements, Theo is one of those.”

Would you have thought of a Milan like this last year?

“I have always been convinced of the qualities of the players, you always hope to get the best. Unfortunately, we have not won anything yet and there is still a lot to do, we are a willing group and we want to be ambitious.”

The game is scheduled for 20:45 CET and as the Rossoneri are currently five points ahead at the top, they will be looking to further extend their lead. However, it will require concentration from the first minute, which they lacked against Celtic.

READ MORE: Hauge prepares for first league start with Milan – preferred ahead of Diaz

Tags AC Milan Sampdoria Stefano Pioli