In a pre-match press conference ahead of the Milan-Bologna clash, Milan coach Stefano Pioli shared insights into his team’s recent performance, highlighted the artistic prowess of Rafael Leao, and drew parallels between his squad and tennis sensation Jannik Sinner.
After securing a thrilling victory against Udinese at the Bluenergy Stadium, AC Milan is gearing up for another challenging encounter, this time against Bologna at San Siro. Pioli addressed the media, discussing various aspects of the upcoming match and reflecting on the team’s recent achievements.
Pioli commenced the press conference by acknowledging the significance of individuals like Sinisa Mihajlovic and Gigi Riva, emphasizing their contributions to the football community. He also lauded tennis player Jannik Sinner for his remarkable victory over Novak Djokovic, attributing the achievement to talent and hard work. Pioli expressed his hope that Milan has fostered a similar mindset over the years to reach the pinnacle of success.
Speaking about the current state of the team, Pioli stated, “I believe we are experiencing a good moment, mentally well because victories have come. We focus on tomorrow, not the future. We understand the importance of performing well in this second half of the season.” He also addressed concerns about Rafael Leao’s goal drought, emphasizing Leao’s creativity and playmaking abilities. Pioli praised Leao as an artist and a genius, recognizing his contributions to the team in terms of assists. He acknowledged improvements in Leao’s overall game and expressed frustration with the excessive expectations placed on the young talent.
Pioli revisited the recent racism incident involving Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan, urging strong actions against such incidents. He commended Udinese for their exemplary behavior and highlighted the need for collective support towards Maignan. Pioli expressed satisfaction with Maignan’s serenity and pride in the support he has received.
Discussing areas for improvement, Pioli focused on the defensive phase, stating, “We need to continue with our style of play, defending by managing the game without forcing too many plays. At times, we seek the winning move even when there’s no space for it. We may never be a team as solid without the ball, but we must be with it.”
Pioli shared anecdotes about Bologna, reminiscing about his early coaching days in the youth teams. A victory against Bologna would extend Milan’s winning streak to five matches, a significant achievement for the team.
Commenting on Bologna’s Zirkzee, Pioli acknowledged the player’s potential and emphasized the need to consider him a strong opponent. Regarding the Scudetto race, Pioli maintained a pragmatic approach, stating, “We are not in that lottery; we think game by game.”
Pioli reflected on Jurgen Klopp’s departure from Liverpool, recognizing the intensity of Klopp’s work and the need for change. He discussed the impact of substitutes Jovic and Okafor, emphasizing the advantage of utilizing five substitutions to change and improve matches.
Looking ahead to the Europa League, Pioli expressed Milan’s ambition to be competitive in multiple competitions, capitalizing on their current form. He highlighted the challenging nature of the Europa League and the team’s determination to be an exception.
Pioli concluded with insights into the new arrivals in the transfer market, praising Terracciano’s diligence and Gabbia’s effective return to the team.