AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has congratulated his team after they managed to overcome some tough recent form to secure a huge win against Roma.
Milan returned to winning ways at the best possible time as they beat fellow top four challengers Roma 2-1 in the capital on Sunday night.
In rather predictable fashion it was a penalty that gave Milan the lead, but there were once again no arguments about the decision as Davide Calabria was stamped on just inside the box, with Franck Kessie despatching from the spot.
Though the Rossoneri scored just before the break, Jordan Veretout equalised just after with a thumping finish from outside the box, but Ante Rebic would silence the critics by restoring Milan’s lead with an excellent low driven finish inside the far post.
It represents a huge three points for Stefano Pioli’s side who remain four points off first but more importantly opened up an eight-points gap on Roma in fifth.
Pioli was interviewed by Sky Italia after the game, with his comments transcribed by MilanNews and translated below.
On the win after the recent difficulties: “I told the team that two negative games cannot take away convictions and certainties. We hoped to do better in these two weeks, but not having succeeded must give us more strength. In the first half we also had to materialise. Moreover, an important victory, makes us pull out of two rather special weeks, congratulations to the guys.”
On Tomori: “He immediately started playing with this personality. I still believe that it is the collective that allows the individual to express himself in the best possible way. We deservedly won an important and difficult race.”
On the tactics: “We tried to be a bit patient on their build-up, but they have players of great speed and when we left again they sometimes caught us more in the opponent’s half.”
On the mistakes of naivety: “It is part of our growth path, we are a young team, it cannot have the shrewdness of a mature team. We are doing something really important, we have +17 points compared to last year, we are the team more young and the one who played the most. It was a performance of great spirit and quality, great satisfaction to be able to win. In the matches with Spezia and Inter we were not ourselves.”
On the injuries sustained by Calhanoglu, Ibra and Rebic: “All three have had muscle problems. At the moment they seem more tired, we will evaluate tomorrow. The period is demanding but I have many players, I hope to have as many as possible available for the next games.”
On expectations: “If we had been told that we would have been second in the standings months ago no one would have believed us. Indeed, if we had had 40 points they would have told us that our season was excellent, fighting for the Champions League after so many years. There are seven very strong teams, in the end only four will be happy, we hope to be among those four.”
On the group: “They are very young and responsible, they suffered these two weeks. We knew we had disappointed the fans, we struggled to digest him, but it was enough to speak clearly. The path is made up of obstacles. I want to congratulate Paolo (Di Canio), he has style and he looks like me with that beard (laughs).”