Following the game between AC Milan and Hellas Verona, Stefano Pioli spoke to the media in the usual post-match interview. He admitted that the Rossoneri could have done a lot better, although the win is the most important thing.
Milan took the lead within the first ten minutes as Olivier Giroud made the most of a mistake at the back, setting up Leao who made no mistakes with the finish. From there on, however, it was a very poor football game.
Speaking to DAZN, as cited by MilanNews, Pioli shared his thoughts on the Rossoneri’s performance and what they could have done better.
A hard-fought match with a strong victory…
“We always play to win, it’s an important victory because it’s been a tiring week from a mental and physical point of view. We met a team that is doing well at the moment, they attacked us a lot. Maybe at times our construction was a little too slow and we lacked some plays between the lines and some depth on the flanks. But we played as a team, we worked hard and it’s a victory that will do us good.”
How did captain Leao behave today?
“Well. I think the negativity around my players is exaggerated a bit. As far as I’m concerned, I take all the responsibility, I’ve always put my face to the result and I will always put my face to it. I coach a very responsible group that knows that one teammate’s mistake is everyone’s mistake.
“I’m lucky enough to coach a truly cohesive and compact group. Rafa did what he had to do. Sometimes he starts less well at the start of the game and then grows. Today he started very well and then sometimes he went out. He must be happy and he is: he feels good with everyone, he feels good with this shirt on, he feels good with the club, he’s fine with the fans and with us. He must know that when you become a great footballer you also have to endure high expectations.”
How is Krunic?
“Unfortunately, I think he has a muscle problem. He felt something in his flexor so there was definitely something there. I can’t know the extent and I think it will be difficult to see him in the next matches, but we have other characteristics and players available. Since the beginning of the year, I have been trying Adli in that role and he is doing well, now he will get his chance too. There are also other midfielders, we can change something up front… The important thing is that the boys are well together, compact, united, willing in difficult matches like today’s.”
“Right now, if Krunic is missing for a few games, we have two players who can play in that role: Adli and Reijnders. We will play every three days, everyone will play. Today I changed out of necessity, only yesterday afternoon we learned that Calabria and Theo would not be available the match. I saw a team that worked hard and stayed in the game with intelligence and clarity.”
On the pressure from the attackers on Leao’s goal…
“We took advantage of their mistake, that’s the principle of our defensive phase. Try to work well from the top to recover the ball immediately and be dangerous.”
“By centralizing Florenzi in the build-up, Tijjani, marked not by a defender but by a midfielder, had to go a little deeper. In my opinion, he was a bit too much between the lines.”
So is this formation only for emergencies?
“I have never believed that formations win you games, but it’s about the interpretation of the matches, playing with clarity and precision. For me, the very positive thing is that the team didn’t suffer much from changing today. This gives me the possibility in the future to use this formation. Now on Wednesday, there will be another difficult match.”
Milan will take on Cagliari next, with kick-off scheduled for Wednesday, and it remains to be seen what the XI selection will look like for that game. It will also be interesting to see if he will revert to the 4-3-3 formation.