Pioli discusses UCL draw, start to the season, defensive organisation and Roma’s threat

By Oliver Fisher -

Stefano Pioli claimed that he is not interested in all the speculation surrounding transfer deadline day, instead preferring to focus on his current AC Milan squad and the next opponents Roma.

Milan face their first big test of the season – with respect to Bologna and Torino – as they make the trip to the capital to face Roma at the Stadio Olimpico on Friday night looking to make it three wins from three heading into the international break.

After beating Bologna 2-0 in the opening game of the season, the Rossoneri put in a more convincing display last weekend by triumphing 4-1 against Torino in a game when even their head coach Ivan Juric admitted there was a ‘huge gap’ between the teams.

A fired-up Jose Mourinho side is a different prospect though, especially given that Roma have taken just one point from their opening two games and lost 2-1 to Hellas Verona last time out, a side many are tipping to struggle.

Pioli spoke to the reporters who gathered at Milanello for his pre-match press conference on the eve of the trip to the capital, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.

Is this game a watershed for your side after the work done in the summer and the early signs of the season?

“Every match must be a turning point. We are Milan and we want to play to win. Roma are strong, they only have one point but they had good numbers in the first two matches. We want to give continuity to the first two victories.”

What do you expect from your side tomorrow?

“We always want to play a certain type of football, it’s the opponents who change. We want to play our football, trying to minimise mistakes. We’ll have to be careful and precise, we’ll have to play the game and not suffer it.”

Is there anything you like about the other teams?

“I’ve only watched our opponents so far, then during the break I’ll watch the others. I’m only focused on tomorrow’s match.”

Will Lukaku at Roma complicate tomorrow’s away match?

“In terms of the atmosphere, not much because Roma have sold out many matches. We work to play certain matches in certain stadiums. Certain things don’t scare us, but they stimulate us.”

Tomorrow there will be no Dybala…

“With or without Dybala and Lukaku, Roma are strong, organised, very physical, dangerous, they concede little, strong on set pieces. We have to be prepared.”

What does Lukaku bring to Roma?

“It’s a significant signing on paper, then we’ll see what the field says.”

Did you expect this level of impact from the new signings?

“We worked a lot together to prepare ourselves in the best possible way. I always insisted on a certain idea of ​​the game and gave continuity to certain field choices.

“Let’s talk about important players, they are strong and intelligent. The whole system is working, even if there are still many things to improve.”

A year ago RedBird officially took over Milan…

“Cardinale has great charisma and personality. He wants to make the whole of Milan grow, this enthusiasm is a stimulus for us too.”

Has there been an improvement in the defensive organisation?

“Against Torino we were more compact. Tomorrow we face a different opponent, we will have to be good at reading the situations. We have prepared ourselves in the best possible way to face a dangerous opponent.”

You play before the other rivals. Is that a problem?

“No, as I see my team. I prefer to play early rather than late. The team is in good shape and mental health.”

How will you take on Roma?

“Many things have changed compared to last year’s match. The positions we’re going to take in possession are determined by the space they’ll leave us. Without the ball, the idea is to be aggressive, but you have to be careful.”

There is a negotiation ongoing for Taremi – what feeling do you have?

“I have such a capable management that between yesterday and today I haven’t heard from them, because they know I’m preparing for the match.

“I don’t know what they’re doing. I’m not interested in today, I’m interested in tomorrow night. I’m very happy and satisfied with the team I have. We’ll see tomorrow evening.”

Krunic had several suitors…

“For me he is a Milan starter. I have never had any other thoughts.” 

Can Pulisic play the false nine?

“Everything is possible in football, when there are two essential factors: the quality of the players and their desire to make themselves available.

“Right now I think it’s important to give the team certainties. We’ve changed a lot, between exits and signings we’ve changed almost the whole squad.”

Juric said he was surprised by Milan’s physicality…

“In modern football, quality and skill make the difference.”

How many goals can Loftus-Cheek score?

“I hope he can score many. He has the qualities to be a decisive player even in the attacking phase.” 

How is the integration of Musah, Chukwueze and Okafor going?

“They are working well. Okafor comes from an injury, perhaps he is the one furthest back, but he is improving. Musah and Chukwueze also had a strange summer, they didn’t play friendlies, but they are well and are ready to play from the first minute.”

What can you tell us about the Champions League draw?

“We will be on the plane during the draw, we hope that the captain gives us news! Last year we had a great Champions League. We want to face this year’s Champions League with great motivation and enthusiasm.

“Being in the third pot will probably see us in a complicated group, but that’s normal. You don’t always get what you want, but what you want to fight for.

“I’ve learned that you must never lose faith in the players; being positive, flexible, understanding how to help the team in difficult moments, can be of good help in giving the team a way.”

Tags AC Milan Roma Milan Stefano Pioli


  1. ” Krunic had several suitors…

    “For me he is a Milan starter. I have never had any other thoughts.” ”

    Uh oh…..grabs popcorn 🍿🍿🍿🍿

    That aside, as I’ve always said calm the f*ckdown, it’s only two games lol

    1. what are you trying to say… if krunic is not good enough, just because it’s two games away. I tell you, krunic alone being a bad player on the field, can’t make us lose.
      if we lose, then it’s a team loss not krunic.
      He’s not that prolific player, however he knows his job.

      1. Bro, I reading comprehension. “That aside” means what proceeded it has nothing to do with what was written thereafter.

        I appreciate Krunic or as they say in these parts a Krunic lover, smh. I look at how players move on the field, the ones without the ball and I can tell u Krunic is an extremely intelligent player, very underrated and underappreciated. He does have limitations but to me he’s still the best currently as a DM (until maybe if Musah gets up to speed…..big maybe)

    1. Both are more expensive than any of our new players.

      I think the idea this season is to give great starting eleven and good depth, have players that can change the game from bench, rather than buying stand out stars. Which we have done decent.

      Next season will be time we get more expensive players I think. my hunch, we will buy a star player worth around 40m (CF?) next season and 2 players that is around 20m.

    2. Yea I wouldn’t blow the budget on those two players.with one being injury prone. The way they stretched the 50-60m from Tonali’s sale was impressive. We got 2-3 decent players at that price. If I had it my way for the entire 70m next season just go for Oshimen and it’s going to be problems for teams in Serie A and UCL. Bet

      1. You really suck… 70m for Oshimen… and no proper team to field him balls.
        is that how Napoli the team he plays for don’t have players to deliver.

        Napoli have players, left, right and middle to deliver balls to him..

        And Milan without the new players, how do will really feed him ball, if it will not be limited…
        Put on your thinking cap man

        1. Bro we just scored 4 and 2 before that 🤷‍♂️. Our RW is now potent. Oshimen is a proven goalscorer and young.

          Last year we had as many crosses they had (671 vs 681) so it’s not like the service on crosses are less (btw Fiorentina and Inter had way more around 880 fyi). We also had more through balls than they had but they picked up more free kicks. Our assist xA per game was comparable to theirs too 🤷‍♂️

          Put on your analytics cap man🧢 😂😂

          1. I believe you know there are differences in delivery a pass or cross, not just to cross hmmm.
            A cross that is destined, a perfect delivery… is it Messi or Selad to deliver such.
            Anyways start keeping the state for the delivery this season. Thinking cap man.

        2. Bro you’re the one that said this “Napoli have players, left, right and middle to deliver balls to him..” and then you said this “Milan without the new players, how do will really feed him ball”
          So you basically said Napoli have players right left and center who can feed him the ball and we can’t. And I provided you with a stat which indicates that as a team, for the whole of last season, we’ve had as many balls fed to our striker. Tell me how that does not make sense as a response.
          You also indicated (I’m trying to read from the grammar, seems it’s not your first language but that s ok) that it’s not just crosses but passes. I provided through balls as well in the stat, which is indicative of what we need to provide attackers in particular. I also provided the non-penalty xA which is an indicator of the potential for assist ie..passes that lead or should lead to goals. And we’re also comparable there too. So tell where is it that our team can’t supply Oshimen with the same or better service than he receives at Napoli?

    3. Not only do I think that Balogun would have been a great addition, I think Thuram (who was snatched by Inter on a free transfer) would also have been a great addition.

      The transfers we made have generally been very good, but we could have done better.

  2. Why is everyone so worried ,we are not a second rated team we are AC Milan
    We have a very capable squad ,,,just look at our team ..up front pulisic ,Rafeo leao and of course Olivier Giroud..We are a team that will score lots of goals not can ,but will ..Loftus cheek is going to be our best signing of all ,,,he is so physically strong tall and quick .He can as well as attack and create things ,also defend well ..we have Theo Hernandez,Tomori ,,thaaw Renders ,and possibly the best goalkeeper in the world..krunic gets a lot of stick ,but he does his job well ..We also have a very good manager in pioli .
    Just tell me why we can’t challenge for honours this season ..We have have the team ..
    What a start we have already made ,what a start from Olivier Giroud…His best season will be this one .
    OLIVIER GIROUD…You all seem to forget to easily ,but only two seasons ago we won the scuddeto,,,yes I thought we would ,when we signed Olivier ..remember the important goals he scored,,remember against all the odds last season we reached the champions leauge semi final ,again Olivier was partly responsible for that …Italian football is on its way up despite not have the money available the the English premier leauge has ,but inter reaching the final magnificent..yes Man City won ,but not without a fight .We are AC Milan we are ready for the challenge.
    So all you fans pleased start praising our team .
    Can we win the scuddeto this season ,of course we can ,,just look at the squad we have now ,we are able now to rotate players when needed ,,,all the players we have can do a good job ..

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