Pioli: ‘It was an important result against Roma’


Milan coach Stefano Pioli heralded his teams ‘important’ results against Roma: “It gives continuity to the first two games.” The Rossoneri have started the season in strong form, winning their first two games comfortably before beating Roma 2-1 at the Olimpico with goals from Olivier Giroud and Rafael Leao.

Speaking in the post-match, Pioli pointed to the new additions to the team, the squad depth and the Milan derby, which takes place right after the international break.

“The result is as important, just like the performance, it gives continuity to the first two games. I was subbing off both Fik and Ruben, unfortunately I was too late, but we suffered with personality, with generosity. An important victory against a difficult opponent. We wanted to start well and the schedule wasn’t easy, but now we’re satisfied, knowing that there’s a lot to do better and improve on.”

You risked a draw…

“I didn’t think about the January match, but last year here at the Olimpico we equalized in the final minutes. It’s not like we can spend the whole season thinking about what we did or didn’t do last year. Of course, I liked how we started, especially in the first half we created 3-4 important chances without suffering dangerous situations. There are so many things that went well, so many things we can improve. It’s just the beginning, but we’re starting to see some positive things.”

Calabria’s new position in the middle of the field…

“We want to build with Mike plus 5 players. Then whether it’s 4+1, 3+2 or 2+3… By now the boys know how to read the spaces and know how the opponents line up. These are mechanisms that we are trying to find. Today, we focused a little more on Calabria as an inverted full-back and this gave Theo more chances to read the space.

“With equal numbers, we controlled the game very well. We wanted it so much, to finish the first three games with three victories, then a bit of tension arose. But I repeat, we defended very well and conceded little. We conceded a goal on a deflection, even in 10 the team was compact and generous.”

How many goals can Leao score?

“I hope he can score many. He has to keep moving like he did tonight, he was a point of reference for our offensive phase. Finally, he found himself in the area following a cross from the opposite side. Sometimes he still forgets to go there. It’s great, he must continue like this. The desire for him and his mental growth is evident to me as I train him every day. Very serene, happy and motivated guys.”

Giroud’s deputy has arrived, Jovic…

“He was on our wish list of forwards. He comes from a somewhat difficult season, he’s a quality and talented player. Players like this and with the right motivation can always come in handy so I’m sure he’ll give us a hand. We have signed another centre-forward because we will play many games and we want to be ambitious.

“Last year, we had Giroud, Ibra, Origi and Rebic. This year, we have one less but we think we are covered in all roles. Upon returning from the break, when we will have 7 games in 21 days, there will be room for everyone, to keep the performance high you cannot play all the games every three days.”

On the derby after returning from the break…

“All matches are exams we must pass. This will be a difficult exam, there is an opponent of very high quality but we will prepare well. Of course, there will be a stop in the middle and we will have very little time to prepare for it. After the break, it’s better to face such an important game rather than a dangerous challenge from a concentration point of view, I’ll find the boys determined. The derby arrives very soon, there is great rivalry and ambition. We both want to win the second star.”

Milan will face Inter after the international break and will be without Tomori, for obvious reasons. It remains to be seen if the manager will go with Simon Kjaer or Pierre Kalulu for that clash.


Serie A obsessive.