Pioli: ‘We took advantage of the chances we created’


Stefano Pioli believes the difference for Milan against Napoli was their ability to take their chances in the 1-1 Champions League quarter-final match. The Rossoneri held a slender 1-0 lead from the first leg but promptly went ahead on the night thanks to a marvelous Rafael Leao run, capably finished by Olivier Giroud. Victor Osimhen pulled one back for the hosts late in stoppage time, but a 2-1 lead over the two-legs was enough for the Diavoli to set up a prospective Milan Derby against Inter in the semis. Speaking in the mixed zone after the match (as quoted by MilanNews) Pioli talked through the match, highlighting what gave them an edge and why Leao is set to become one of the best:

Feelings after this qualification?

“Great happiness because I have been together with these the boys every day for three years, we have done many things together and we continue to overcome difficult, important steps. Surely it is a gratification, we have to be happy especially for the quality of Napoli because they are a very strong team, they will win the Scudetto very deservedly and if we managed to eliminate such a strong team it means that we also put in high quality.”

In these two matches, Milan has shown that they are calm….

“I think it is the strength of my team, which sometimes scares me because I see them so serene that I wonder if they know that we have to play such an important game. But then afterwards they have this ability to be ready. In my opinion, if we continue to match this match preparation with this focus and serenity,   this group can win 100 percent. Then winning or losing depends on many factors but I have to say that I coach a fantastic group.”

Leao has been outstanding….

“Leao is Leao and we enjoy it all because he is that kind of player there. I had asked him for more work in the defensive phase and he did it and he can do it more. Rafa is becoming a champion and he will become one. It depends on him: when one has so much talent, so much technical and physical quality … alone talent is not enough but he is working so hard and he will become one.”

Between comments, predictions, fireworks, there was a lot of talk about you…. Now Milan is speaking…

“I think it was quite normal that someone had pointed to Napoli as the favorite in passing the round because in the league between us there is too much difference. However, we have always been very confident and celebrating early, I don’t think is something that can bring good luck.”

In what details was Milan superior to Napoli?

“I think we managed to take advantage of the chances we created and this changes the matches, the inertia, the mental attitude. Napoli played a great game, like in the first leg, but we put that sacrifice, that will to reach a goal that we dreamed of at the beginning of the season. And that allowed us to put everything and more on the field to overcome a very strong opponent.”


Serie A obsessive.