AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli praised his side for reacting well to going two goals behind against Hellas Verona to win 3-2.
Milan completed a fantastic turnaround in the second half having found themselves two goals down after a quick start from the visitors. Olivier Giroud’s header with just over 30 minutes left halved the deficit, and then an equaliser came from a penalty of Milan’s own before the winner came via an own-goal from Gunther.
Pioli spoke to Sky Italia after the game and reflected on what was a dramatic night for his team but in the end a positive one, and his comments were relayed by MilanNews.
“I am very proud of the team’s character. We have been good. Verona were better than us in the first half. We were a bit unlucky on the first goal, then in the second half we reacted. I saw the right face of the players at the end of the first half, we had to change pace and we did it. It’s a great test of maturity,” he said.
Alessandro Florenzi (after surgery), Alessandro Plizzari (after surgery), Tiemoué Bakayoko (muscle problem), (muscle problem), Junior Messias (muscle problem), Theo Hernandez (Covid) and Brahim Diaz (Covid) all missed the game through injury, and Rebic limped off in the first half.
On the absences, Pioli said: “We must have continuity to always be competitive. We have to think about one match at a time. Now let’s think about the Champions League and then we’ll think about the next championship match.”
Samu Castillejo entered the field in the second half and played a big hand in the second and third goals for the Rossoneri, and after a difficult period he was in tears in the middle of the pitch. While he was crying in the middle of the field, all his team-mates went to him and hugged him.
“He must be taken as an example. My choices penalised him, but he continued to work. I’m really happy for him and I’m happy that whoever enters is ready,” Pioli said.
“The club has built a great team. Even with the absences, I can always field a strong team. The merit goes to the technical area that has provided me with a great squad.”
On Calabria: “He is a very intelligent player. He was born as a midfielder and it shows. Changing positions and unmarking is important, he is good at doing it. Theo is also good at making certain movements. In the first half we were not very dynamic, in the second half we moved more.”
On the team’s reaction: “In the first half Verona was more intense than us, they won more duels. In the second half we increased our dynamism and we did much better.”
On the victory: “It is worth three points, it was very important. The fans gave us a great boost. We want to continue our growth, the season is long and the competition is great. We think one game at a time.”
On Ibra: “Everyone knows that his presence is very important. He is not yet in optimal condition, I hope he grows and is physically well. I hope he can play many games.”