Pioli praises his team for their growth: “I am very much in love with my players”

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli revealed his pride for his players as they took a big step towards the Scudetto with a 3-1 win away against Hellas Verona.

Things did not start well for Milan as they went a goal down in the first half, with Lazovic’s cross finding the head of his wing-back partner Faraoni, but they equaliser came quickly as Rafael Leao burst down the left and squared for Sandro Tonali to score on his birthday.

The winger then squared for the Italian midfielder early in the second half too to make it 2-1 and then Alessandro Florenzi came off the bench and marked his return from injury with a fantastic half-volley to seal the win.

The victory means that only four points are needed from the last two games in order to win a first league title since 2010-11, and Pioli spoke to DAZN after the game with his comments relayed by MilanNews.

On his team: “I am very much in love with my players. I know what they are putting in and what our path has been. I am satisfied with today’s victory, but we are already thinking about the next one which will be complicated.” 

On the spirit of his team: “Courage and belief derive from your experiences. Today we went under despite having started well, but we believe in us and step by step we are overcoming all obstacles. We must continue like this.” 

On the next match: “In the first leg against Atalanta, for the first 70-80 minutes, perhaps we played one of our best matches. They are strong, they are a team similar to Verona in the defensive phase. We will see how to prepare it.”

On Leao and Tonali: “They are young, but strong. I told them on the second day of the summer training camp. I found two different guys than at the end of last season. We have to continue like this, there are still six points available.”

On Tonali’s position: “Seeing the training sessions and the matches, you discover new characteristics also of the players. If we build with two midfielders, we make more use of the full backs. like Sandro did tonight. Tonali has an incredible energy and fit for insertions, he can become a great mezzala. He’s showing incredible growth.”

On the fans: “They are fantastic.”

Again on Tonali: “Who does he play like? It’s difficult to compare two players. When I met him for the first time, I asked him what his favourite position on the pitch was and he replied that everyone compares him to Pirlo, but he is more like Gattuso. Perhaps, if I really have to name a name, I would say De Rossi.”

On the next matches: “We are in the final stages that will determine our final position. This Milan was born from that 5-0 against Atalanta, it was a bad day, but from there we understood what we needed. Now we only think about the match, Atalanta, keeping our mentality.”

Tags AC Milan Hellas Verona Milan Stefano Pioli

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