Pioli reveals Milan want to secure three renewals ASAP and gives injury update – full transcript

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has revealed that the club wish to secure the renewals of Gianluigi Donnarumma, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Hakan Calhanoglu as soon as possible.

The dust is just beginning to settle after last week’s chaos, during which the plans to appoint Ralf Rangnick that had been in the air for months were scrapped in favour of giving Pioli a new two-year deal.

In amongst all the media speculation, Milan have been flying. They have not lost since the resumption of Serie A, winning seven of their 10 fixtures and including wins over Lazio, Roma and Juventus.

The most recent result was a 1-1 draw against Atalanta in which five key players were missing from the starting XI, and Pioli began his pre-Sampdoria press conference by reflecting on the game.

“I was very satisfied. Atalanta are a great opponent, we played with the same physicality and quality. We played a lot, but we were a team from start to finish. Now we have to do well also in the last two,” he said (via MilanNews).

“There are still two games to play. We face every game with the right conviction and concentration, the details will continue to make the difference. The games must all be played with great respect.

“Samp have put Juventus in difficulty, they are fine, they play calmly because they have already achieved their goal. Ranieri has done a great job. We will make the right evaluations on the season. In the next season we will have to consolidate the results we have obtained from January onwards.”

What has changed since the first game between the two sides at San Siro, which ended 0-0?

“We created a lot in the first leg, but there were too many stoppages. Many things have changed since that game, we have more confidence. We have to continue like this, it would be an excellent viable for next season.”

Do you still believe in fifth place?

“We must believe in making as many points as possible. Unfortunately it does not depend only on us, but our results depend on us, so tomorrow we will need a great game. We are very focused for tomorrow, then we will see what the opponents will do.

“Our month of September would clearly change if the season starts on September 12th. Three preliminaries would be added to the league games, it means playing a lot. If we have to play the preliminaries we will be ready anyway.”

Can the two extra days of rest make a difference? 

“We have played a lot in the recent period. We also happened to play against opponents who had more rest than we did, but we did well anyway.”

In which area has Ibrahimovic helped Milan the most?

“In many things from the field point of view, he gave us solutions that we didn’t have. Ibra is an important presence both physically and technically. He also creates many spaces for his teammates. From the point of view of personality and character he was certainly decisive.”

Do you like the new shirt?

“It is very beautiful. It recalls the history of the club and the city. We will wear it against Cagliari. We hope that this shirt can bring us back to past successes.”

On Kjaer’s recent performances: “It is doing very well, it was another purchase in January that gave us an important contribution. Now all the players know each other well and everyone must be ready.”

On the injured players: “Castillejo came back against Atalanta and will be available again tomorrow. He missed many games because he was close, but in the end he was only two weeks away.

“Paquetà will also be there and Duarte is also better. Despite the absence of Romagnoli and Conti that do not give us many alternatives in defense, we are doing better for tomorrow’s game.”

Do you hope that the renewals of Ibrahimovic, Donnarumma and Calhanoglu will arrive before the end of the season?

“The club wants to resolve these situations as soon as possible. We will get together next week, now we have to think about the current season. Then there will be time to establish next year’s teams.”

How much do you like the positive words of your players towards you?

“We are all strongly on the side of Milan.”

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