Milan coach Stefano Pioli believes his team ‘still have work to do’, despite their encouraging 2-0 win over Bologna. Goals from Christian Pulisic and Olivier Giroud were enough to secure a valuable three-points in the Rossoneri’s season opener. Speaking to DAZN after the match, Pioli shared his assessment of the performance, saying he is satisfied with the squad depth Milan have, pointing to his players having the right attitude in games like this:
On the match…
“It was the approach we wanted: we divided the game into four halves. The first was important. We still have to work hard and Bologna played a good game. Now, we have the possibility of understanding where to grow further.”
The new right-wing of Milan with Pulisic and Chukwueze…
“Regardless of this, I always think that the more you give your best players possession, the more ways through you will find. We still have to work on our balance, but whoever has arrived can give us a big hand. I like the attitude of my players, there’s still a lot to work on.”
How reassured do you feel about the depth of the squad?
“I’m satisfied because when speaking with the directors, I asked for particular characteristics. Not names but specific characteristics in certain roles and they have arrived. Having one-on-one players on the flanks is important. A good group is being born, the old ones have done everything to get the new ones acclimatised.
“I knew that Pulisic was a talent when I spoke to him in the phone calls. I was convinced that we would sign a player with very high quality. He’s also very flexible, he can make us catch our breath: he can play very well on the left in place of Leao, he can play behind the attack… So that’s good.”
“He is an example, a technical leader, especially in terms of his attitude. He’s always available to work for the team. He’s happy, this is important and he feels good with us. He’s not so young anymore so we’ll need to find a way to make him catch his breath but for us, he’s a very very important player, I’m very happy to train him.”
“I talk to Rafa every day, I try to make him understand that he has superpowers. Superpowers must be made available to the team: if we all learn to sacrifice ourselves, if we all learn to work well off the ball, I think we can get some satisfaction because we have so much quality with the ball. It was incredibly hot today and he did a great job. Today it was 60 degrees in the changing rooms, not 40. We preferred to let them catch their breath on the pitch.”
Who fills the void left by Ibrahimovic?
“We miss Zlatan, that’s for sure. But I think the best thing he has done is that he has made us grow mentally. The absence of him is felt but we grew up thanks to him. If we speak from a character point of view, then Mike is the one suitable for mental leadership in this team.”
What could have been done better?
“In the second half, we could have handled the ball better and dropped down at the right times.”