Pioli sheds light on Milanello competition and discusses possibility of Ibra extension after Crotone win

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli praised his team for their performance in the 4-0 win over Crotone, and in particular Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Milan racked up their 15th league win of the season and it was Ibrahimovic who sent them on their way, scoring with a tidy finish in the first half and netting from close range on the hour mark to complete a sixth brace of the season.

Ante Rebic then got in on the act scoring a brace inside 70 seconds, with the first being a header from a corner and the second a simple finish thanks to Hakan Calhanoglu’s feed.

The result means that the Rossoneri respond in the perfect way to Inter and Juve’s victories that preceded, and they move two clear at the top of the league again.

Pioli was interviewed by Sky Italia after the game and reflected on the win, with his comments transcribed by MilanNews and translated below.

On Ibrahimovic: “What Ibra does, seeing him as he prepares and trains, it is difficult to be surprised. He is a champion. It is difficult to keep what he is doing, when he is well he has almost always scored two goals. He is helping the team to grow a lot. We are satisfied, the match was not easy at all. We deservedly won.”

On being top: “What we say to each other must remain between us, we have the goal of expecting the maximum and trying to win every game. We are aware that we give our best every day to grow, the game to win is always the next one.

“It is not the time to look at the table, a very challenging period will come. We hope to move forward in Europe as well. There is still a lot to do and a lot to push.”

Would you like to keep Ibra for another year? “Zlatan is fine with us, the best thing is that we work well. The players are happy, we are in a great club. Zlatan will decide his future, I think he is right to keep playing and to keep doing it with us with what is he doing.”

What kind of physical miracle is Ibrahimovic? “He is an athlete who has great motivations, he takes care of his body perfectly in everything: nutrition, recovery, prevention. He is an exceptional professional and is supported by an incredible physique.

“He is tired, yes. I have never seen him fail. The players almost compete to finish first at Milanello and leave last, but I’m always the one who arrives first (laughs). There is never a day that Zlatan misses something of his individual works. He is physically well and can continue to make a difference with those technical qualities he has.”

On playing Rebic or Leao on the right: “I think neither of them likes to play on the right, they are more inclined to stay on the left. Rebic has played there in the national team, Leao has already played there too. It can be a solution, but let’s see.

“If there is the availability of the players, we can play with many strikers, we need availability. Having players ready to take over is very important in a difficult championship and in a season like this.”

What will be the decisive moment of the season? “Returning to Meite and Tomori, I am lucky enough to work with a club that has chosen strong players. I have a complete squad and a very strong staff.

“The decisive matches will come later, now we are many teams in very few points. All the top seven are very strong and they can fight for the Scudetto. We continue to have the right mentality and be balanced, we will continue to think about the next match.”


READ MORE: Player Ratings – AC Milan 4-0 Crotone

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli Zlatan Ibrahimovic