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Pioli: ‘It was a nice victory and a good game’

Milan coach Stefano Pioli was proud of his boys in their 4-0 rout of Dinamo Zagreb, calling it a ‘nice victory, a good game.’ The Rossoneri looked in control from the start with Gabbia’s first career goal opening the scoring before Leão, and Giroud added to the tally before a Ljubičić own-goal.

Speaking to Sky Sport Italia after the game, Pioli was positive but cautious, knowing that Milan still need at least a draw against Salzburg to progress to the last 16:

We had a difficult start, because they surprised us a little with their positions. Then we settled down and did well because we have strong players. Nice victory and good game. Now another step in front of our fans against Salzburg,” he said.

Are the team mature?

“Yes, but by now the team are used to playing decisive games; we have played so many that we don’t make mistakes. We are aware of our qualities and we never underestimate anyone. Getting through the group stage would be the important step.”

A draw would be enough against Salzburg…

“Let’s think about Torino, then we’ll think about Salzburg. Torino gave us a hard time last year, then with Salzburg we should play for Milan without thinking about a draw, because it’s not our mentality.”

What do you take away?

“Many positive things, but many things in which you can do better. I think you can give less being more compact.”

Was the Dinamo game a crossroads?

“No, it will be the one against Salzburg because it would allow us to do better than last year and it is our goal.”

Great performance, what gave you the most excitement?

“How we faced the difficulties. After fixing some positions, we resumed attacking with many players. It’s a heavy, important victory and we know.”

Were you satisfied with De Ketelaere?

“I took him off because he was booked. I am satisfied with his growth and will continue to improve.”

Is victory one more step of growth?

“I think it is clear that our growth depends on qualification. We have to play with our mentality and it is the next step, where we would show that we are doing better than last year. We must close the discussion next Wednesday without forgetting the league. We need concentration for the match against Torino. Then we will have the time and attention necessary to take care of the next Champions League match in the best possible way.”

Is it a double-edged sword knowing two out of three results next week gets Milan through?

“Two out of three results isn’t a double-edged sword. We are not mentally and tactically built to manage, we have to play our best to get a win.”

Is Gabbia an example of your work?

“I continue to be convinced of the strength of my group. I emphasise Matteo’s seriousness, but also his skills. He has a sense of position, physicality and skill in aerial duels. He has always worked at his best in training and is taking everything he is sowing.”

An evaluation on Ante Rebic?

“Ante is a strong and intelligent player. We talked about him in the summer. Unfortunately he is not always very well and when he is well, I have to use him on the right as well. Because Ante is strong. All at the beginning we struggled a bit because we had to change positions.”

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