AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has admitted that he saw positives from his side’s 2-2 draw with Lecce, but there is still ‘a lot of work to be done’.
The Rossoneri twice let the lead slip at San Siro and ended up dropping two valuable points against a team who entered the round inside the bottom three.
Hakan Calhanoglu gave Milan the lead with a fierce finish from inside the area, but Khouma Babacar equalised with a rebound from a penalty that Gianluigi Donnarumma had saved.
It looked as if Krzysztof Piatek had netted the decisive winner ten minutes from time, but Marco Calderoni’s screamer two minutes into added time denied Milan the win.
The result leaves the team 12th in the table with ten points from eight games ahead of next weekend’s trip to face Roma, and Pioli spoke to Sky Italia after the game.
“I struggled a little with players who I used to work with, Babacar and Calderoni,” he said, via Football Italia.
“It’s a pity, there were positives, but we wanted the win and didn’t get it because of our mistakes. I saw some good moves, quality and spirit, but if you leave the game open, you can have a nasty surprise at the end.
“Milan players are well aware of their capabilities and the fact they are wearing a prestigious jersey. They will be able to judge their own performances and we’ll analyse them carefully, but in a way we paid for our generosity, as we ran after the ball and didn’t keep an eye on other players. I think we had deserved to win it.
“Some of the positions we took were positive, others not so much. We tried to build from the back with a three-man defence, but that can change with a different opponent such as Roma next week.
“After only a few days of training, I did see some of the ideas we had worked on and that bodes well for the future, even if there is a lot of work to be done.
“I had hoped for a gift this evening for my birthday, but I saw some good things and I hope we can learn from these mistakes.
“We lacked a little togetherness on the final equaliser. Calderoni hit it well, but we had several opportunities to close that Lecce move earlier and if we had, we’d be here talking about a deserved victory.
“In the press conference yesterday, I was asked many questions about how I found the team. I tell you after this match, there are many positives.
“The big error was that a side like Milan has to kill games off. We could’ve even held on for 2-1 and kicked it out of play rather than misplace those passes.
“This match will help us learn a great deal, for what we did and what we should’ve done.
“On the penalty, there were too many of us going after the ball and we left gaps. We weren’t set out well at all.
“I think Leao and Piatek can play together when overall we are a more balanced team and I have a better idea of their characteristics.
“I replaced Leao because the medic told me he had a slight muscular issue and we didn’t want to risk any further damage, while Paqueta also seemed tired.”