Stefano Pioli has urged fans and sections of the media to have patience with the new signings, while he also reflected on a difficult victory against Fiorentina last night.
Milan left it late but they signed of 2022 in the right way by beating Fiorentina 2-1 at San Siro last night thanks to an own-goal from Nikola Milenkovic that came in added time at the end of the 90 minutes.
Pioli did not speak to the media after the match as he was rushed away due to a family bereavement, namely the passing of his brother-in-law Luca, and we extend our condolences to the head coach and his family.
Pioli was present to receive the Sport and Civilisation award given to him at the Teatro Regio in Parma this afternoon and he was asked some questions on stage, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.
Yesterday a victory arrived right at the end. Milan always believe…
“The team has definitely grown from a mental point of view and I think it knows how to recognise the opportunities. After the bad performance in Cremona, which was our most critical step and which damaged our rankings – with the last two games as victories ours would have been an excellent start to the season, leaving out Napoli’s exceptional season – yesterday we knew we had to show we could finish well and with the right attitude.
“We played with great intensity, meeting an opponent who created great difficulties for us: winning these matches mean believing in them, having spirit and having quality, because otherwise if you don’t have quality and high level team spirit, you won’t win these matches.”
How do you think your players will return from the World Cup?
“We have many goals to achieve: there is the league, the Italian Cup, the Super Cup, the Champions League… There is a motivated and stimulated group, so even those who return from the World Cup will do so with the right mentality to do the best they possibly can.”
The first part of the season is done, how do you assess it?
“It is an anomalous championship, strange and difficult: we are making some balances that are not correct, because there are still 23 games and there is room for all the teams. The start of Napoli is also exceptional, they are achieving incredible results. We’ll see how the players will come out of the World Cup and their staff…”
What will your program be like during the break?
“There have never been so many games in the history of football, so rest will be important. Then from December 2 we will resume preparation, playing many friendlies, training at Milanello for a week, then 10 days in Dubai and waiting for the return of the 7 national teams.”
What emotions does the song ‘Pioli is on fire’ provoke?
“It is something special and exciting, because it is not taken for granted; the song started with my players, then with the fans, who started singing it before the Scudetto win and this gives me great satisfaction. Of course, reviewing the images of the title last season… We gave ourselves great emotions, a wonderful dream.”
Even if Milan didn’t seem like the strongest team…
“No, in my opinion we were the strongest team, because in the decisive moment of the championship, when it was necessary to win 6-8 consecutive games, the guys were fantastic, showing cohesion, soul and so much talent that the other teams were not able to have.”
De Ketelaere and the other summer signings: how do you rate them?
“As a club, we have our own ideas and plans. When it comes to investing in young players everyone is happy, but then there is no patience to wait for them. We are talking about young people who come from different countries, from different cultures, so to play different, different habits … It is normal to have difficulties, but we are absolutely convinced that we have taken on talented, intelligent and willing players.”