Pioli previews Verona clash and insists struggles are not attitude-related: “Bite the bullet”

By Isak Möller -

On the eve of the clash between Hellas Verona and Milan, which is very important, Stefano Pioli spoke to the media at the usual press conference. The draw against Udinese was frustrating, and now they need to bounce back.

The Rossoneri failed to break down the Bianconeri on Wednesday evening, without the likes of Hakan Calhanoglu and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the attacking phase. They were rescued by a 97th-minute penalty, earning one point at least.

Tomorrow, Milan will take on 9th-placed Hellas Verona away from home and it won’t be an easy game. Pioli spoke about the situation and the preparations for the game at the press conference, as cited by MilanNews.

There is a lot of talk about Milan’s 2021, but the team has won many games…

“It’s inevitable that if we compare the two halves, the results haven’t been as good, but there are also injuries, it’s a particular season. It’s time to bite the bullet and try to win more games from now to the end, the next two and a half months will decide the fate of the league and the Europa League.”

Tomorrow against Juric’s Verona …

“Juric is doing a great job, even changing so many players he has kept an attacking and technical team, a team to face with great attention. He stopped Juve, beat Atalanta and Napoli. We will have to be careful and put a lot of movement, they are good in duels.”

How do you explain the difference in performance against Roma and Udinese, is it the attitude?

“It’s important to analyze two things. To play certain matches you need to be able to attack the spaces. And if you expect the same performance against Udinese, an opponent who is better at closing down, it’s difficult to find rhythm and intensity.

“It’s wrong to talk about attitude, the team gave everything even against Udinese, but in terms of quality, we weren’t the ones the same as in Rome. We are proud to be the youngest team in the league, to grow you also have to go through certain difficulties.”

Better to look behind you now?

“We have always focused on our performances and our results, it’s our path that interests us. If we only think of doing the last part of the league by looking at the results of the others it would be limiting. Our race is difficult but we can say ours, we have the desire to win.”

What do you expect from Leao?

“Leao has to give his best in every single match, that’s what he’s doing. With Udinese he didn’t find the winning game, the Udinese defenders got the better of us. Leao knows he still has to work on this. To find a continuity of performance that is needed by him and the team.”

Would you bet on Milan in the Champions League?

“We bet on ourselves, we will give our best until the end. I keep repeating that there are seven very strong teams, we want to go to the Champions League. If we don’t succeed we will be disappointed, what matters is to move forward with confidence and positivity, then we’ll see what we can do.”

How is Romagnoli doing after the choice of Rome?

“He accepted my choice, not with satisfaction, but he accepted the choice with professionalism and then he was ready with Udinese.”

Is there a need for something more in Verona than in Milan-Udinese?

“We were slower than usual with the ball. We have to move a lot, Verona are looking for more duels and we have to give few points of reference, if we play a more technical match we will have our chances.”

How far away is Bennacer right now?

“He has had two injuries, we try to put him back on the pitch in the best possible condition, the boy is afraid, he is working hard to get back to his best. All those who are missing are important, we must believe in our qualities, we have already shown that we can play.”

How do you explain all these injuries?

“We are working on it, we are very attentive to workloads, unfortunately, the many commitments have put us in difficulty. It is the first time that we have these numbers, we are working to reduce them.”

What to tell the players now?

“To my players in the meeting, I will say that I would like to be 30 years younger and that I would like to take the field with them. I don’t know if they would be happy, but this must be the spirit.”

Does the tight schedule affect you?

“Playing every three days is part of the path. In Rome, we did very well, we didn’t succeed with Udinese but we will have the opportunity to make up for it tomorrow.”

Verona have put you in difficulty …

“Against Verona, we drew last year and in this season. It’s an opponent who creates difficulties for us but we will have to be prepared.”

Krunic or Diaz tomorrow?

“They have different characteristics, Krunic is fine, he rested on Wednesday, he is more likely to play.”

Few goals from midfielders in action, do you agree?

“It’s part of the game system, with two midfielders there are few insertions. It’s part of our game construction. We lack some conclusions, some goals from outside the area, we have to shorten the team better.”

Missing goals…

“It takes quality to score, we also need individual play, flashes and 1vs1s can resolve matches, especially when opponents close down. We have the qualities to succeed, we hope to do it tomorrow.”

The game is scheduled for 15:00 CET and as Inter managed to beat Parma, the Rossoneri really need the win in order to stay in the Scudetto race. The focus, though, should be on the top four spots and all points are crucial.

READ MORE: Romagnoli no longer an undisputed starter for Milan – Pioli’s strong message

Tags AC Milan Hellas Verona Stefano Pioli