Pioli wins prestigious Panchina d’Oro: “I am coaching a truly special group”

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has officially been announced as the winner for the prestigious Panchina d’Oro award for 2021-22.

The Panchina d’Oro (Golden Bench in English) is a yearly award given to the best coach in Serie A for the previous season, while there is also an award for the men’s Serie C and women’s Serie A coaches as well as the best coaches in men’s Italian futsal.

The winner for 2020-21 was Antonio Conte and given that Milan won the Scudetto last season Pioli was the red hot favourite to claim the prize. The ceremony is currently underway in Coverciano and it was confirmed that Pioli won with 33 votes out of 46.

The president of the Lega Serie A – Lorenzo Casini – and the number one of the AIC – Umberto Calcagno – gave the award to the Rossoneri coach who spoke to the crowd present.

“Good morning everyone, I’m excited because when I see what we did last year I still feel those emotions. I want to share this award with everyone who works with us at Milanello, with the club and with the management,” he said (via MilanNews).

“Also with my staff who are the engine of my work and above all with my players. I continue to believe that I am coaching a truly special group. Thanks to them and to all of you.”

On this year’s Milan: “We must have the same cohesion. When things go well everything is easier. It was not easy to overcome the difficult moment, but we have once again shown that we are a cohesive group. We came out stronger.

“We are there are still many games to play. Not only has the team been cohesive, I’m talking about the fans who have always supported us even when we have suffered heavy defeats. They have helped us, we have fantastic fans.

“It’s useless to keep talking about the negative moment. Let’s think about the next match against Atalanta which will be a difficult match. We will play as always to win.”

On the season finale: “We have to gain a lot of points. Our goal is to finish in the top four. We’re realising how good it is to play in the Champions League, so we want to play in it again next year. There are two ways: finish in the top four or win the Champions League. We will try to do our best between now and the end.”

On the Scudetto defence: “We were in line up until before the decline we had. But Napoli are doing something exceptional, otherwise we’d all be close in the table.”

On the change of formation: “It’s one more solution. We had to find solutions. Many things worked this week.”

On to who he dedicates the Panchina d’Oro to: “It’s for all those who have worked with me. You can’t do anything alone. I dedicate it to all those who have always followed me.”

On Thiaw: “He has good qualities. He’s only just starting out, but he has the qualities to make a name for himself.”

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli

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