Pioli explains why he would rather draw Bayern Munich than Inter or Napoli

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has admitted that he would rather not face Inter or Napoli in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Milan will be among the final eight teams in the competition for the first time since the 2011-12 campaign after they beat Spurs 1-0 on aggregate in the last 16 stage, holding out last night in north London for a goalless draw that secured progress.

A number of daunting sides await in the draw that will take place in Nyon at 11am on Friday 17 March 2023 from UEFA’s headquarters in Switzerland such as Bayern Munich and Chelsea as well as possible Real Madrid and Manchester City.

That has led to some fans saying they would rather face a more well-known opponent like Inter or Napoli but Pioli does not agree as he revealed in his post-match press conference, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.

Is anything possible for this team?

“Yes, because that’s the way it is. There’s nothing for granted in football, but we have to do what we’ve done up to now. Now it would be very important to get through the quarter-finals.”

Milan showed application in both games…

“Yes, now we have to do it in the league too. There we are behind, we have to score a lot of points and try to finish in the top four.”

Milan didn’t let Tottenham play…

“Their positions were right for us, we won many duels, leaving little to our opponents.”

What did you say to the team at full-time?

“I congratulated everyone, hugged everyone. It was an important match that we wanted to win and we went to celebrate with the fans who supported us.”

It was a great performances by Thiaw on Kane…

“Very good. Kane is a very strong striker but suited to Malick’s characteristics. He has personality, very good characteristics and he applies himself. He will grow further.”

It is possible that three Italian teams will advance to the quarter-finals of the Champions League…

“Correct and deserved because yes, Italian football is growing. I hope I don’t meet the Italian teams. Milan hadn’t made it to the Champions League for years, last year they struggled more. Experiences have improved us, let’s face these challenges with the right spirit.”

Pioli also spoke to SportMediaset directly after the game to reflect on another resilient defensive display from his team against one of the most feared attacking trios in European football.

How do you feel after such a performance?

“They played an excellent game, I’m happy because the boys deserved such an evening, they never gave up even against such a strong opponent. Getting through to the round must give us strength and confidence to put into the league and to try to continue in the Champions League.”

Have you refound the spirit of the Scudetto?

“The base belongs to a very cohesive group, which wants to look ahead without falling into difficulties. We are behind in the league and we have to change gears and start up again with positive results as early as Monday. The group knows its potential and is also aware of what it can’t do when it doesn’t show his qualities. Last year’s journey in Europe certainly helped us, we face our opponents with superior mental strength.”

What happened to you on Saturday night in Florence?

“Fiorentina did better than us and we did too little to overcome their aggressiveness, we moved at the wrong times and suffered against them. We weren’t thinking about today, it wasn’t our best day. When things like this happen it’s easier to get yourself up for the next game, this mentality is right anyway: better to prepare for the next matches than to stay and think about the last ones.”

Who would you like to avoid?

“I’d rather not meet the Italians, hoping they get through anyway. Playing in Europe is nice because you face those you don’t usually meet and for us these are important steps. But we’re in the top eight and there’s only strong teams left, in my mind there’s no he is a favourite. We will await the draw with the right curiosity but also serenity.”

Better to avoid a double derby…

“The derby has nothing to do with it, not even Napoli, that’s the concept. If Bayern Munich are drawn against us at least we challenge an opponent who stimulates us and we don’t know… But now let’s think about the league, it’s too important to lose energy elsewhere.”

Is it another Milan with Leao and Diaz?

“They are important players and have almost unique individual characteristics. Brahim jumps past opponents with his first touch and works very hard, Rafa’s ability to go into space can give us advantages but to enhance individual players you must also play well as a team.”

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli


  1. Pioli is right only Italian teams know our gameplay inside out, other league will just take their games to ours

  2. What does he smoke? Bayern would demolish us in a way we never had to experience throughout our history in European competitions

  3. Disagree with Pioli on this one – I’d take Inter or Napoli any day over Bayern. Wouldn’t surprise me if we beat Napoli in a couple weeks.

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