Pioli shares update on Rebic and responds to Scudetto hopes: “We want to stay in the lead”

By Isak Möller -

On the eve of Udinese-Milan, Stefano Pioli held the usual press conference this afternoon to answer some questions from the media. Given their current form, there is a lot to talk about for the manager. 

Milan have started the season in the best way possible, winning their first four games and drawing the fifth in the league. 23 games unbeaten certainly is a sign of strength, especially since they have won most of them as well.

They are currently two points clear off Napoli in second place and it will be important to win the next two games, as they will face the Partenopei after that. During the press conference, as cited by MilanNews.it, Pioli touched on several topics.

On Dalot’s praise: “It means everything, it’s what I see and what the players tell me with their behaviour. There is satisfaction but we know that there is still a lot to do. We must continue to be responsible and willing.

“We are experiencing a positive moment and we must exploit this enthusiasm, I hope it will reach our fans too. I hope they can spend a few carefree hours with us. It’s nice that the players are available.”

On Bennacer and the competition: “It has to be like this, raising your competitiveness in the team doesn’t allow you to relax. For us, it will be worth a lot because we will play very often. This allows you to always stay on track, it is important to see the will to grow.

“Bennacer has had many advantages from the new system, he has grown in his continuity of the reading of the game. He is a motivated and positive guy, I hope he continues like this because he has ample room for improvement.”

If he’s surprised by this Milan: “No, no, not surprised because I have always had so much faith in my players. I was hoping for this growth and these performances, then it’s clear that I like to be positive but it’s difficult for anyone to imagine these results.”

Importance of next two games: “For us, tomorrow’s match is the most important. Matches are not won on paper, all matches are worth three points. We want to stay in the lead after tomorrow.”

On Leao: “The thing that interests us most is to see continuous growth, Rafa is growing. He must not be satisfied because he can give more. There are many situations in which he can do better, but let’s talk about a path that is at the beginning. It’s right to expect progress but it’s also right to have patience.”

On Rebic: “He has done well in the last two training sessions, he is available. He will start from the bench, he will be able to play a segment of the match.”

On the Scudetto possibility: “My players are convinced that they are strong. Tomorrow will be another opportunity to prove it. Words are good only if proven by facts. We must have enthusiasm, our goal is to win and have fun, to play football that we like. The players must always think positively.”

On a Bennacer-Tonali tandem: “I have four complementary midfielders, there are no fixed pairs. It’s important to know how to do both phases, they know how to move and know how to read spaces. Match and match we will field the right ones for the single match.”

On Castillejo: “He had a muscle fatigue this morning, better not risk it given the many commitments we have.”

On Saelemaekers: “I don’t know if he is the best surprise, many have grown up. We have to focus on this situation, we work to improve our young players and keep the level of performance high. Alexis is growing a lot, he must be even more concrete in certain situations. He has all the qualities to be a very strong player.”

On Ibra: “Zlatan is fine, willing and hungry like everyone else to take the field and give his best.”

The game is scheduled for 12:30 on Sunday and it will be the Rossoneri’s first lunch-time game this season. Hopefully, they can continue their impressive form and add yet another three points to their tally.

READ MORE: Pioli names 23-man squad for Udinese clash – trio returns; winger left out

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli Udinese