AC Milan president Paolo Scaroni has expressed his pride at the second-placed finish but insisted nobody in the squad is ‘indispensable’.
A 2-0 victory away from home against Atalanta ensured that the Rossoneri will be playing Champions League football in 2021-22 for the first time since the 2013-14 season, with the team having also achieved a second-placed finish after a largely positive season.
Franck Kessie’s brace from the penalty spot would be enough in Bergamo as Atalanta became Pioli’s victims for the first time as Milan boss, ensuring that the Diavolo have beaten every other team in Serie A in 2020-21.
Scaroni was a guest during the “Lo sport che come” event at “Il Foglio Sportivo” and he was asked about a number of topics related to the current team, with his comments transcribed by MilanNews and translated below.
At the end of the first half of the season you were winter champions, did you think then that the target would have been the Champions League?
“When we were winter champions I realised we could push our hearts a little further. We have lived through difficult moments but always full of confidence in our team, in our management and in our club that has given it all,” he said.”
For many, the highlight of the season will have been the 3-0 victory in Turin against Juventus as the Rossoneri recorded their first ever win at the Allianz Stadium to put themselves firmly in the driving seat for a top four spot.
On the victory at the Allianz Stadium: “An important victory, but I don’t want to give importance to a single match, the important thing is to continue to work in the same way. Pioli’s Milan has shown that they know how to build a team in which you play a fun game, made up of young players in which everyone is useful but no one is truly indispensable. This seemed to me the real secret of the Pioli recipe, naturally built together with Paolo Maldini.”
On who is the ‘cover man’ – i.e. the main architect of the success: “The cover is up to the whole team put together. There have been many authors: Maldini, Pioli, Gazidis – we owe this young team to them. It is a team of people who all work for the same goal. This is more important in football than in any other profession.”
On the difference between points earned at home versus away: “I don’t have a rational explanation, I look at the overall figure: 13 points more than last year. That’s what counts in the end, especially in an era of empty stadia.”