Pioli shares thoughts on ‘important’ Lecce win; provides update on Kjaer and Leao

By Isak Möller -

Following the draw against Juventus, failing to find the back of the net, AC Milan responded this evening as they beat Lecce by four goals to one. Given how crucial the final phase of the season is, the three points were a must. 

Stefano Pioli’s men did well throughout the game, bar a few mistakes that could’ve cost them more, and deserved the win in the end. Speaking to Sky Italia after the game, as cited by MilanNews.it, the manager shared his thoughts on the performance.

“We played well against an opponent who preferred to wait for us. We could have kept Lecce from scoring but we managed to get back ahead immediately. It’s an important win, we needed the points.

“The goal must be Europe and to try to reach those who are ahead of us. Roma are far away but then there is the direct clash on Sunday. 11 games are many, we must try to do our best,” he began.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still injured and Pioli was thus forced to play Ante Rebic as the centre-forward once again. When asked about the matter, he admitted that the balance of the team changes without the big Swede.

“Ibra has certain characteristics. Without him, we had to try other positions, we did it well tonight. In the Coppa Italia, we failed because we lost a man early on,” he continued.

Hakan Calhanoglu was behind all four goals, adding two assists to his tally, and the manager praised his attacking trio. He also shared his thoughts on Rafael Leao’s appearance off the bench, getting on the scoresheet after a long drought.

“To develop our game model. we need intelligent players who move to put their opponents in difficulty. I have intelligent players, Bonaventura, Calhanoglu. I asked Castillejo to stay wide but then he was able to take advantage of the situation.

“Leao? He has to do more than tonight’s goal, but scoring is important, he entered very well, I’m happy. I have to expect more because he has so much to give. He has the physicality but still some difficulty in playing as a centre-forward, we are working on it.

“Kjaer? They told me that it’s blunt trauma to the knee. On Sunday, we should have Duarte at our disposal, tomorrow he will return to group training. I hope for Kjaer’s sake that it’s something minor,” he concluded.

READ MORE: Player Ratings: Lecce 1-4 Milan – Calhanoglu the orchestrator; star duo kept quiet

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli