After the tough defeat against Atalanta, Stefano Pioli shared his thoughts with the media. He stated that Milan could have done a lot better, but that there also were some positives. Furthermore, he provided an update on Rafael Leao.
Milan came back twice to level the scores but it wasn’t enough to seal even a point against the Bergamo side. Luis Muriel scored the 3-2 winner in the 95th minute with a great backheel, following a Davide Calabria red card minutes before.
Speaking to DAZN, as cited by MilanNews, Pioli spoke about what went wrong for the Rossoneri this evening. He also issued an update on Rafael Leao, who should be back for the game against Newcastle in the Champions League.
On the late goal…
“With numerical parity, it seemed that momentum was on our side, then the numerical inferiority created problems for us. We need to be more clear-headed, certain mistakes have cost us a lot.”
On the performance…
“When you concede three goals, it means the team hasn’t worked well in the defensive phase, we weren’t ready and careful enough about Atalanta’s insertions. We restarted the match twice playing with intensity, energy and a certain quality. We should have gone home at least with a positive result, but this is a heavy defeat.”
Can the many absences be an alibi?
“There are absences but we played the game. Especially in the first half, I think we played better than our opponents but we weren’t able to score. In the second half, we committed some naivety, they are naiveties that weigh and that we will have to improve for the next games.”
Bennacer and Jovic restored the team’s momentum in the second half…
“If the match had ended 2-2, there would have been many positive things. There were many positive things in our match. But we absolutely wanted a different result, there must be an in-depth evaluation on our part. We were there, we were there in the match. Unfortunately, our opponents were better than us in the penalty area and these are situations that we need to improve quickly.”
Jovic and Giroud together…
“I think they can play together. But if they play together we have to change the midfield, maybe even the wingers… Now we’ll see, it’s clear that we have a very important match in Europe. We have a small chance but we want to stay in Europe, we only have one result available. Today is not the result we wanted, I’m very sorry. Now let’s move on to the Champions League and then we will return to the league with even more attention.”
On the league table…
“We wanted continuity, we wanted a string of victories to try to close in on the top. And if you don’t succeed, it’s clear that you have to look behind you. I won’t change my mind about our objectives, the first four places are our objective but we would also like to do something more. Right now we have to do many things better, and then we’ll think about the standings. Now we have to think about winning a lot of games.”
Will Leao return for the Champions League?
“Qualification does not depend only on us but with a victory, we know that we will remain in Europe. Leao should be fine, he did a good training today. He will join the team tomorrow, he should be well and ready to play but the next few days are important.”
How do you deal with being questioned often?
“It’s like this. I’m the coach of Milan and the expectations are very high. The results at this moment do not correspond to the objectives. I can’t help but concentrate on work and improve the situation by giving better guidance to my players. That’s all I can do.”
Milan will take on Newcastle in the final UCL group stage clash on Wednesday, and it’s not looking bright for the Rossoneri. A win won’t be enough to secure a spot in the Round of 16, as the already-qualified Borussia Dortmund also need to beat PSG.