AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has urged everyone to stop focusing on the Rossoneri’s future and appreciate the hard work and results that are happening now.
The media is once again awash with speculation regarding the future of Milan and of Pioli in particular, with most major outlets in agreement that he will be replaced by Ralf Rangnick at the end of the season.
In the meantime, Milan have won five of their seven league games since the resumption of Serie A including big victories over Roma, Lazio, Juventus and most recently Parma.
After going a goal down just before the break on Wednesday night the Diavolo roared back, scoring three times in the second half through Franck Kessie, Alessio Romagnoli and Hakan Calhanoglu.
Pioli spoke to reporters in his press conference before the game against Bologna, with the questions and answers transcribed by MilanNews.
Now the position in the table is better, would you still encourage players to do even more?
“There is no need. The group knows where we are in the standings, it knows that we are doing well, but we must continue and make as many points as possible. We have not yet achieved our goal.”
How would you rate Kessie and Calhanoglu’s performance?
“Modern football is like this, they have characteristics and abilities both in the offensive and defensive phase. They are intelligent players who know how to interpret game phases, are attentive and proactive, read some situations that change quickly.”
What has changed compared to before COVID-19?
“The work we started could not immediately give results. We struggled above all to realise what we created. We worked, we introduced new ideas and therefore it took time. Now we have become a team.
“There is too much talk about the future, now it is more important to live the present. Tomorrow will be difficult against a team that made a good match against Napoli. They are doing well, now we have to put everything on the pitch. We are doing well, but we must insist.”
Interestingly, a question and response in the third person: Is Stefano Pioli having fun?
“Pioli is fine at Milanello and with the team. Here I have found an extraordinary structure and an exceptional group. The next few days will be very important, we don’t have time to think about anything else. Let’s think about one game at a time and that’s it.”
Is the main target fifth place?
“We want to accrue as many points as possible, then we will sum up in the end. Reaching the Europa League directly to the group would be important, however, we must recover points.
“We must all be protagonists of these five games. Then we will see what will happen.
“Mihajlovic is making a masterpiece and continuing his work. He wants to play the game all the time. Tomorrow he will try to get us into trouble, but we will have to be good at bringing home the match.
“When I talk about the team, I also mean the spirit that exists and the desire to work together. Everyone wants to give their best for the team. We have been good at doing it in difficulties. It is more difficult when there are difficulties, but we have worked well.”
On the possibility of starting Zlatan Ibrahimovic from the first minute, he added: “The training of today and tomorrow will be important. He feels good, I will decide based on the initial line-up and also on the fact of having important changes from USA to game in progress.”
On the idea of reopening stadiums: “It would be nice, indeed beautiful. We have fantastic fans who supported us even when things were not going well. I imagine how nice it would be to play the last games at San Siro with our fans.
“Obviously at this moment it is important to continue to pay attention I don’t think it’s possible already this season, but I hope it can happen already at the beginning of the next season.”