AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has joked that his mother will remind him if he doesn’t win a trophy at the club this season, insisting the team are ready for two huge upcoming games.
Pioli gave an interview to the English newspaper The Guardian during which he spoke about a number of topics including his fatherly coaching style and what he demands from his players, with PianetaMilan relaying his comments.
“If I had to finish this season without trophies my mother would remind me, and that’s right. In every family there is a tender and a tough parent. My dad is the sweet one, my mom the really tough one. This is how it should be, this is how you get the most out of someone,” he said.
On the many players who describe him as a dad: “I’m sure to look beyond the surface. I go beyond the value of a footballer and get to the person. Even if we could consider them really lucky, they are young guys with their lives, their emotional factors, their personal bonds, their difficulties.
“I am strict, until I no longer see a chance to continue improving constantly. I do not tolerate mediocrity and I do not tolerate that no effort is made to improve.”
On what he asks of his players: “If I see players who are demanding with themselves, who are improving through their attitude, their work, then I’m not saying that I become like a friend, but I certainly offer them my support. When I don’t see that level of commitment, I have to ask for more.”
Tomori arrived at Milan in January 2021 he quickly became an important resource for the centre-back department given his speed and his aggression. By the summer there was no choice but to purchase Tomori for €28m and make his loan a permanent deal.
“I had watched videos and seen some impressive features. But Fikayo was a positive surprise from all points of view. At a football level, because he is a defender who has characteristics that the team needed: aggression, rhythm, ability to read the game,” he said.
“Then he is an extremely serious guy, extremely calm. We talked before about how a player is motivated. It was easy with him because he is always determined, always enthusiastic, always positive, always attentive.
“With him, really, our relationship is very simple. A few words are enough to understand each other, to develop the whole idea of work. He has grown a lot in these two years, but he can still improve. Since he is very fast, he sometimes takes too many risks by trying to anticipate the attacker too soon. But being a very smart boy, he will improve in this too.”
Marco Serra’s decision to blow his whistle early after Ante Rebic was fouled in injury time with the score at 1-1 proved costly, because Junior Messias saw his goal wrongly chalked off after he curled an effort into the top corner with the referee having whistled almost simultaneously, thus negating the advantage he should have played.
On Serra’s mistake, Pioli said: “The behaviour of my players was exemplary. They showed respect for sporting values and for a person who made a mistake. In sport we all make mistakes”.
On the big matches against Juventus and Inter: “It’s not a decisive moment, but an important one. My young players are growing well. But soon the time will come to stop calling them ‘young’, and simply call them footballers… ready to compete for certain levels.”