Head coach Stefano Pioli has insisted that AC Milan must not set limits for the upcoming season, and praised two players for changing the club’s fortunes.
Milan will be hoping to build off the last campaign in which they finished second in the league – the club’s highest placement since the 2011-12 season – and secured a return to the Champions League.
Pioli has been given a lot of credit for his role in the transformation of Milan’s fortunes, as he took over when the Rossoneri were a damaged group following Marco Giampaolo’s disastrous 111-day reign and he eventually led the team to a Europa League finish in 2019-20 and top four last season.
Pioli spoke during an interview with Fatto Quotidiano about a number of different topics ahead of the new season, and he began by sending a message to CEO Ivan Gazidis who was diagnosed with throat cancer earlier this week.
“All Milan are cheering for him. His strength is ours, we are proud to be part of his family. He will recover and we can’t wait to have him back with us,” he said (via MilanNews).
On the objectives for the season: “We are Milan and we must not limit ourselves. It will be very difficult because seven teams are fighting for four places. But the obstacles are too high for those who do not have strong enough ambitions.”
On his Milan: “Strangely, the spark between us was born in the Zoom meetings during the first lockdown. We took the time to get to know each other, we talked about our lives. Not just about football. And the group was born. Friends? No. We are not friends: we belong to a common idea of values. I feel there is empathy, maybe even a little magic between us.”
On Kjaer and his saviour of Eriksen: “I already knew Simon’s worth. He’s a man of rare intelligence and sensitivity, and he used those qualities to save a friend. He was lucid and precise even at such a dramatic juncture.”
Pioli experienced a similar scene in 1998: “I had a cardiac arrest after a game. I don’t remember anything and I only had the courage to see the images again many months later.”
On Ibrahimovic: “He helped me a lot. Ibra is an example in everything he does. He doesn’t want to miss a single pass in the rondo. I feel [he is a leader] in a technical sense, but also and above all in a moral sense.”