New AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli set the objective for this season as a top four finish at his unveiling on Wednesday.
The Rossoneri confirmed his appointment via a statement on their official website, taking over from Marco Giampaolo whose sacking was confirmed on Tuesday.
Giampaolo lasted just 111 days in charge – the shortest reign of any manager in the club’s history – but it was Luciano Spalletti who appeared set to take over from him at first.
However, he had difficulties agreeing a severance with Inter, and reports on Tuesday evening then stated that everything has been agreed for Pioli to take charge.
The 53-year-old arrived at Casa Milan this morning to sign the contract, and was presented to the media not long after.
“I am optimistic, we will fight for Milan,” he told reporters, via MilanNews.it.
“The players must also be convinced. We must hold on in difficult moments, work intensely, to become a cohesive team as soon as possible.
“I adapt to my players. I have to improve them individually to make them grow even as a collective. There are all the conditions to do well, including the support of the club. The fans are demanding, it is rightly so, we must be up to it.
“I have watched all the matches of Milan this season, even though I was contacted by the club only on Monday night. I have to get to know the players, I am very demanding with them and with myself.
“I can’t stand superficiality and lack of ambition. We must do our best to get great results. Taking the job 31 games from the end so there is time to work and do well. Time must not be our enemy, but our ally.”
Antonio Conte decided to deploy the motto ‘head down and ride’ during his unveiling as Inter boss, while Giampaolo had his own spin on that: ‘heads up and play football’.
Pioli, though, is not interested about how victories arrive.
“We must fight to go to the Champions League. My slogan is ‘win’, just ‘to win’. Head up or down, you need to win.
“I am very demanding, but I also attach importance to personal relationships. There are players who can decide games. We can show off an enterprising game.
“There is great competition, the other teams are prepared, but we must have courage and together we must put something extra to highlight our qualities.”
When asked what formation he plans to play, Pioli kept his cards close to his chest.
“The numbers are more interesting to you than to me. We have features to exploit, the important thing is to have a certain team identity.”