Pioli previews Roma clash and defends Romagnoli: “We don’t look for scapegoats”

By Isak Möller -

On the eve of the clash between Milan and Roma, which will be crucial for the Rossoneri, Stefano Pioli answered the questions of the media at the usual press conference. Despite the tough period, he remains optimistic. 

Milan have lost two consecutive games in Serie A and will be keen on bouncing back with a win tomorrow. Considering that Roma are in fourth place, it would certainly be a huge win not just for the standings, but also confidence-wise.

Pioli spoke to the media at the usual press conference just a few minutes ago, as cited by MilanNews, and was asked about the situation. He also made it clear that the players are eager to bounce back.

Tomorrow Roma-Milan, Dzeko won’t be there…

“It’s a team that has many attacking solutions. Dzeko is a point of reference, he was playing well, but Roma play well even without him. We will have to counteract with great compactness.”

Kjaer said that Milan don’t need to change the path. Is this the right idea?

“Absolutely yes, then you can change some positions on the pitch, we always have, but our path is very clear. What Kjaer said reflects all our conviction. It’s good to play against the strongest, we worked hard to finish. We are trying to become a winning team, the winners try new solutions and don’t get hung up on defeats.”

What match will it be tomorrow against Roma? A direct Champions League match?

“Yes, the standings show this. Last year, there were fewer teams fighting, this year they are all there. Roma are on an excellent path, it’s an important match, it’s a direct match. The points are worth more. It’s time to push and test ourselves.”

Can the attitude change based on Roma?

“Milan must make precise tactical choices, be aggressive or wait. Our concepts must not change, we have respect for our opponents, we will try to limit them and then enhance our characteristics.”

How do you explain the difficulty of creating opportunities?

“Only against Spezia we failed to create chances. We have to play more in the opposing half of the pitch, this is a goal for tomorrow as well. The more we are in the opposing half, the more we have the chance to score and less to suffer.”

Is the result or performance the most important?

“The two things must go hand in hand, if the result is achieved with Roma, the performance is necessarily positive. Only in this way can we overcome such a strong opponent.”

Does it bother you to be questioned for some negative result?

“Everything is normal. We have been praised a lot, we are rightly criticized because we weren’t able to play up to it. Nothing changes in the locker room, we have the motivations. The moment is decisive, from March onwards, yes. We want to be protagonists until the end, the criticisms must help us to give something more.”

Is it possible to see Tomori from the start tomorrow?

“He’s doing well, has good characteristics, he has entered with great speed. We will see, apart from Mandzukic, Maldini and Bennacer all are available. We will try to make the best choices.”

Do you look forward or backwards?

“We look to tomorrow, we want to try to win the games. We have to do a little more, the determination will not be lacking.”

What is the reason for the decline of Romagnoli?

“I don’t like talking about individuals in such a situation, we don’t look for scapegoats. A player might not be at 100%, Romagnoli played a lot. We have to work well in both phases of the game.”

Is the problem physical?

“We weren’t up to par on a technical/tactical level, not a physical one. We are not lacking in physical condition, playing so much we will find the necessary rhythm. We need to miss fewer easy passes and give more solutions to our teammates.”

What has changed for AC Milan compared to 2020?

“If you decrease the level of your performance a little, you can face defeats. We have to raise the technical and quality level.”

There has been more talk of Ibra about Sanremo than about the pitch, how is he mentally?

“You talked about it, not us. He expects a lot from himself and his teammates, he’s motivated and serene, he’s focused on tomorrow’s match as we all are.”

How do you explain Rebic’s wasted chances?

“He’s fine, in the last game and in Belgrade he was less precise than he used to. The important thing is that he gets opportunities, he’ll be decisive again, he has the qualities to be so.”

Why believe in the recovery of this Milan?

“Our journey started in January 2020. We have precise qualities and strong players, we start from this to return to a winning team.”

Is it possible to improve during the pressing phase?

“In the pressing, we have to be more decisive and stronger, from this it all comes. At the level of intensity we can do better.”

Missing bottom-up game creation a bit?

“Sometimes the team stretches too much with fewer players in the offensive phase, a management of the ball with the dribble starting from the bottom we will try to develop better.”

The game against Roma is scheduled for 20:45 CET tomorrow and Pioli is expected to field the usual starting eleven. Should they manage to claim the three points, then the situation will be very different for next week.

READ MORE: Calhanoglu needs a revival – his ‘stunt-double’ isn’t cutting it for Milan

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli

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