Pioli discusses recent struggles, defensive issues and what it would mean to beat Inter

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has admitted that his side have not had the best of weeks, but believes the derby tends to be a different match that ignored form.

Milan began the year of 2023 and thus resumed the season with a win against Salernitana away from home but they were made to fight right until the end after taking an early two-goal lead. Then, they threw away a two-goal advantage late against Roma, were knocked out of the Coppa Italia by ten-man Torino and game back from two down to draw with Lecce on Saturday.

That means that the Rossoneri are not heading into Wednesday’s Supercoppa Italiana clash against Inter in the best of form, however the Nerazzurri are also looking to re-establish their identity somewhat too.

Pioli spoke on the eve of the game in his pre-match press conference to assess what is a difficult game that comes at a difficult moment, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.

What kind of a game will it be tomorrow?

“There’s a trophy up for grabs. We face our rivals, it’s always been energetic matches against them, so we’ll need a great performance.”

Is it a redemption derby?

“It’s an important match. We have the chance to win another trophy, it would mean giving continuity to the path we started. We know that the last week hasn’t been the best, but tomorrow is a different match, like every derby is. There is a trophy up for grabs and this raises the level of the match. And so we have to raise our level.”

How do you approach this game?

“What happened in the league doesn’t count for anything. Tomorrow is another game, we want to play it.”

Is tomorrow’s match a watershed?

“I don’t know, I know it’s an important goal. We lost the first, the Coppa Italia, and tomorrow there’s the second. The season doesn’t end tomorrow night. I think everything that revolves around us is always exaggerated, both positive and negative.”

Are Milan less hungry than last year?

“How does such a young team that has won only one trophy not be hungry? There’s only one thing: the quality of the game. If we lower the quality it becomes difficult to win games, it’s not a question of a full stomach.”

What is the reason for the dip? Is it also due to the long break?

“It could be, staying out for 50 days and then playing every three days isn’t easy. In the Coppa Italia we also had to play extra time. During a season there may be moments when you don’t play 100%. So far, apart from Napoli, everyone left points along the way.”

What match are you expecting? What worries you about Inter?

“It’s the eve of a final, you don’t even have to touch certain buttons. Inter are strong, they’ve always created difficulties for us, but we have our plan to carry forward throughout the game.”

Do Inter have any weaknesses?

“Inter are strong, but like all teams they have weaknesses. Obviously I won’t tell you (smiles).”

What is the real Milan?

“It’s not the one from Lecce, we’re sure it’s not the one of the first half in Lecce. We showed the qualities we have, so I expect a level team tomorrow night.”

How do you explain the difficulties of the defence?

“Difficult moments happen and we faced them as a group. Tomorrow is a final, it’s a moment of pride and enthusiasm. We have to try to defend better, we’re conceding too many goals, we need to find defensive compactness again. We made mistakes when we conceded goals We have to do better.”

Have you been more surprised by the big compliments or the criticisms of the last few days?

“Neither. I know this environment and I know that there is never a positive or a negative balance. We move forward with clarity, trying to solve problems with my best possible balance.”

Do you feel improved?

“Sure, all experiences help you improve. I’ve grown in many things, but I still have to grow.”

Is it a difficult moment for Milan?

“I’ve learned more from my negative experiences than from my positive ones. I don’t think it’s a tough moment for Milan, we’re here to fight for a trophy. Obviously, there’s a long way between winning and losing it…”

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli

1 Comment

  1. m.footballdatabase. eu /fr/match/resume /85040-ac_milan-lecce

    My first ever game for Milan. Milan 2-2 lecce. Paolo even scored. This was January 2000. I’m hoping history repeats itself. Check out the league table after that match.

    Excuse the spaces in the link this stupid site doesn’t want any traffic diverted

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