On the eve of the clash between Milan and Atalanta, which will be decisive for the Rossoneri, Stefano Pioli spoke to the media at the usual press conference. For the manager, as well as the team, it’s a huge game.
Milan most likely need a win to secure their spot in the Champions League, unless Juve or Napoli drop points. It won’t be an easy task at the Gewiss Stadium after what was a disappointing draw against Cagliari.
During the press conference, as cited by MilanNews, Pioli spoke about the situation that his players find themselves in. After finishing the first half of the season as champions, they could finish outside of the top four once again.
There is a desire to respect all the sacrifices that this team has made in a year and a half…
“The final standings will give the final verdicts. We talked about the turning point all year round, we have prepared this match well, the team is motivated and will give their best.”
How was Milan’s week?
“A particular week, until Wednesday the disappointment was present. From Wednesday onwards it was transformed into concentration, there is a mixture of feelings within us: emotion, tension, concentration. We did everything to prepare well for the match.”
Why should Milan believe in the Champions League?
“Milan must believe in it because we have shown throughout the league that we are a strong team. Atalanta deservedly went to the Champions League for the third season in a row, Milan must believe in it because we have the qualities to be a great team. Since September we have played every three days, we have not lost confidence in our qualities. We have to make the last effort.”
What Atalanta side do you expect?
“An Atalanta that will play to the best of their ability. It has been a long season for everyone, even for them. They have a proven playing system. I expect a team that plays the best possible match, we must do it too.”
For many players, it would be their first experience in the Champions League, can it be an extra motivation?
“It’s clear that the week was full of individual and collective dialogues, the motivation is at the maximum. The motivations for the club, the individuals and for our fans, who fought with us and were disappointed for Sunday. Now it is the time to stay united “.
How is the team physically?
“Today, Rebic is more a no than a yes, we will see tomorrow morning. The others are fine. Tomorrow we will leave.”
On Ibra’s leadership…
“The importance of Zlatan in the growth of the group is evident. Tomorrow we all leave, all 26 players, the whole team, the whole club. The fans will not leave but they will be with us, all conditions are in place to do well.”
“A muscle problem in the calf, even this morning he was unable to do a complete session. Let’s see tomorrow, today more no than yes.”
“They are a strong team, last year we weren’t at their level yet. Now we got very close and tomorrow we will have the opportunity to prove it.”
On injuries during the season…
“Surely they had an impact, we had two blocks of injuries with many key players out for some games. This prevented us from making the right rotations, the injured players had more time to recover. From Monday, we will have to evaluate the work done and what can be improved.”
Will Ibra be on the bench?
“Zlatan will certainly be with the team but not on the bench, the important thing is to have a determined team. We will have to be very strong from a mental point of view, we should be lucid to overcome the difficulties of the match and play our kind of football.”
On the objectives…
“The club has always supported us with great presence and trust in our work. It has done so since the beginning of the year and this week, as it should be for a club that believes it has done an important job during the year. We have the qualities to be an attentive and lucid team to seize any opportunity that may happen to us.”
Can you already rate your team?
“No, the evaluations are made at the end. Tomorrow is too important, you will give the votes. It doesn’t matter where we are today. Today we would be deservedly in the Champions League but it counts where we will be tomorrow night.”
What qualities will you need to have tomorrow night to win?
“Mental strength, compactness and quality. Without quality you can’t win certain games.”
The different trend between home and away games…
“These are evaluations that we will make at the end of the season. Only the final positioning counts.”
What feelings did you have before the match against Cagliari and what feelings do you have today?
“We can’t think about what we could have done, only tomorrow’s game counts. We did everything to recover physical and mental energy, we need a lot of this tomorrow.”
What do you think about your future?
“My future is tomorrow, tomorrow’s match. We all have to think like this. We’ll start thinking about the future from Monday.”
Are the four clean sheets an important foundation for tomorrow?
“It must be a goal for the whole team, it must be a good base and then try to do more.”
The game is scheduled for 20:45 CEST tomorrow and since it’s the last round, Juve and Napoli’s games will start at the same time. Hopefully, Pioli has found the right solutions to beat the Bergamo side tomorrow evening.