Pioli previews Sassuolo clash and reveals he told Milan players to be ‘the best’ | OneFootball

Pioli previews Sassuolo clash and reveals he told Milan players to be ‘the best’

Logo: SempreMilan


On the eve of the crucial clash between AC Milan and Sassuolo, Stefano Pioli spoke to the media about the Rossoneri’s situation. As we know, they need just one point tomorrow to clinch the Scudetto.

Milan are very close to securing their first Scudetto since the 2010/2011 season, which was Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s first year with the club. Eleven years later, he’s close to lifting the trophy yet again and his importance has been undeniable.

Speaking at the usual press conference, as cited by MilanNews, Pioli shared his thoughts on what will be a tough game for the Rossoneri. He also spoke about the starting XI for tomorrow’s game, and what he has told the players.

On the current situation…

“We have been the best thus far, we must be the best tomorrow as well. It told this to the boys. We prepared for the game during a week of work, serenity and attention as we always do. The past doesn’t matter but what we do tomorrow counts.”

A song that describes your mood today?

“Right now I want to be very down to earth and focused on tomorrow’s game. It’s a difficult game, we got this far without anyone giving us anything and tomorrow Sassuolo will do everything they can to beat us. We have reached this point with solid foundations and on these foundations, we must also attack tomorrow.”

What game are you expecting tomorrow?

“I think our strength has been to interpret every single game with clear and beautiful concepts. In every game, there is a different opponent. Sassuolo is the team that has the most quality in the final third.”

It is the most important match of his career. Will his players be able to sleep?

“I think so, the way I saw them I think so. My players are strange, but in a positive sense. I see the same attitudes and the same serenity that is given at a young age, I’m sure that inside them they are experiencing particular emotions. I have always slept well before matches and shortly after.”

Do you want to reassure the Rossoneri fans?

“I would like to tell our fans that it will be a difficult match and that together, as we are showing this year, we are certainly stronger. We need everything and everyone. I will need my 28 players and all the fans who will be in Reggio Emilia tomorrow. There are no certainties because the ball is round, but we have 95 minutes to demonstrate and finish our work in the best possible way.”

Is there anything that struck you about the players?

“No, because I keep seeing the same attitudes. It seems good to me, if I had seen them different than usual, different from last week it would have been another question. In the last 4-5 games, we have faced the games with this spirit and serenity.”

On Ibra…

“He cares a lot, like all of us. It’s clear that we are experiencing an important moment, tomorrow a season will conclude. The assessments are made at the end of the season. There would be a difference between winning and not winning. All my players must think that tomorrow they can be decisive.”

How important was Ibra?

“Very important. He brought mentality, quality and he’s a great player above all for his intelligence. He brought that personality that a young team needed. He’s a point of reference, then his teammates were good at following him and becoming stronger.”

What do Milan need tomorrow and what shouldn’t they do?

“To play for Milan and don’t think it will be an easy match.”

Do Milan deserve this Scudetto and why?

“I’ll tell you tomorrow. Today we are first with merit.”

Can we say that Bergamo was the beginning of everything?

“It can be said that from that game, the players and I have understood many things, the management helped us with the January transfer market by bringing in Ibra, Kjaer and Saelemaekers. The arrival of Zlatan and Simon raised the technical, moral and professional level. From there we started with a different continuity and strength than before.”

The comments of the Sassuolo players…

“Sport is competition, those who play against us give their all: Fiorentina, Lazio, Verona and Atalanta.”

On the group…

“Honestly, this week, I didn’t need to make any particular interventions. Whoever is at my disposal will be ready at any time, I have no doubts and there shouldn’t be any.”

On Bennacer and how difficult it is to make decisions tomorrow…

“It has been difficult all year except, unfortunately, in November when the decisions were forced due to injuries. My medical staff were put to the test and then they were good at finding solutions. It’s always difficult to make decisions with such strong and available players, but I have clear ideas in my head.”

How important has Milanello been in recent weeks?

“From the first day I entered here I felt the right air, it’s an ideal place to work. The club supports us and is always present, those who work here always give their best. It’s the ideal place to work.”

On the pressing against Sassuolo and the possibility of Rebic…

“I think I will field the best team to start the game and I think I have the right alternatives.”

What surprised you the most this year?

“We are very clear about what we want to do, active and proactive in both phases. The team has always shown that it believes in its qualities in all situations, it’s the same thing we must do tomorrow.”

How are you?

“Well, I’m fine. I’ll sleep well. I’m aware of the difficulties we will encounter: I’m very focused and motivated as my players are.”

On Kjaer…

“I think that the testimony of my boys’ growth is given above all by the long-lasting absences of Zlatan and Simon. The team has lost two important references in the dressing room. Many have grown while making up for their absence. In this period, the team has certainly grown a lot “.

Try not to lose or risk it?

“We prepared the match to play for Milan, to try to be a careful and balanced team.”

Was there a moment when you thought this team could do it?

“I have always thought very positively about the team, I have a lot of faith in them. In delicate moments they have always been able to do the best of themselves despite their young age, with the desire to show that we are a strong team.”

Sacrifice, play and passion. Add another…

“Enthusiasm, which has always accompanied us and will have to be the same tomorrow. We have it inside and we will have to put it on the pitch, I think it’s a team that must also play with its own emotions. We must play with enthusiasm.”

Are you expecting a difficult match from a tactical or physical point of view?

“Both, Sassuolo have quality and technique. If you miss the timing they can surprise you with holes. Tactically and physically it will be a complicated game: we know how to fight and suffer, I think the team will know how to play the right game.”

Have you ever felt so loved as now at Milan?


What do you want to say to the fans?

“Forza Milan, always fight-”

The game is scheduled for 18:00 CEST tomorrow and there will be around 18k Milan fans at the Mapei Stadium. Incredible numbers, considering that the stadium can host a total of 21.5k tomorrow. Hopefully, they will have something to celebrate.

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