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The final day of the league season is upon us and with this, the final pre-match press conference of the season from Coach Stefano Pioli. Ahead of the final 90-minute instalment of the Serie A season, at the Mapei Stadium against Sassuolo, the Rossoneri Coach spoke to the press at Milanello. Pioli's words were broadcast on Milan TVYouTube and Twitch from 14:15 CEST.

FINAL MATCH "We’ve definitely been the best team so far, and this will also have to be the case tomorrow. As usual, we’ve prepared for the game by working hard and remaining focused and calm. In our sport, what you’ve done until yesterday doesn’t count. However, we deserve this great chance, and now we need to finish things off in the best way possible. I don’t want to be poetic; instead, I’m fully focused on what we’ll have to do on the pitch. It’ll be a difficult game: nobody has ever gifted us anything, and it’ll be the same tomorrow. Sassuolo will play their game and rightly try to win. We’ve come this far by having solid foundations, which is what we’ll need to rely on."

SASSUOLO "Every match is a story in itself and involves playing a different opponent. Sassuolo move the ball well and have real quality in the final third. We’ll need to watch out for certain situations but also try to create meaningful opportunities ourselves. If you time things poorly when moving out from the back, they can surprise you with through balls. It’ll be a complicated game both tactically and physically. We know how to fight and dig in, and I think the team will know how to play the right game. Their comments? Sport is competition. We’re first in the league and everyone has given their all against us. Tomorrow, our opponents will undoubtedly do the same. We’ll need to fight and, in the process, be focused, patient and composed until the very end."

THE PAST WEEK "I’ve seen the same determination, focus and sense of calm I’ve always seen from my players. I’m sure that they’re experiencing special emotions. Personally, I don’t get much sleep after matches - as opposed to before - and I hope that’s also the case tomorrow evening. I haven’t had to intervene in any particular way this week; this is a group that has always put the team first. Everyone has played a decisive role this season, and now my players have the chance to finish things off in a game that could add another successful chapter to AC Milan’s history. I don’t have any doubts: everyone will be ready to give everything."

ATMOSPHERE "From my very first day at Milanello, the atmosphere has always been good; it’s the ideal place to work. The Club supports us and always makes its presence felt. Those who work here really do make themselves available to others so that the maximum can be achieved. I would say to the fans that it’ll be a difficult game. Together, we are stronger, and we’ll need everyone tomorrow, from the players and fans at the stadium through to those watching from afar. We’ll need to demonstrate that we’re better than the others. We have 95 minutes to prove it for one last time and finish off our work well."

THE EXAMPLES SET BY IBRA AND KJÆR "Zlatan brought mentality, quality, footballing intelligence and character, the latter of which, as a young team, was needed. He’s someone to look up to. He cares so much, as we all do. It’s clear that this is an important moment; the league is coming to an end tomorrow. You assess how things have gone after the season is over. There would be a difference between winning and not winning. All my players need to think that they can be decisive tomorrow. I think that the best example of the group’s growth is the fact that we’ve had to deal with Zlatan and Simon’s long-term absences. The team lost two important reference points in the changing room, but then others stepped up to try to make up for the absence of two real pillars. During this period, the team really did grow."

CHOICES "Except for November, when options were limited due to injuries - since then, we’ve always done well to find solutions - it hasn’t been easy to make decisions given the strength and willingness of the players, but I have clear ideas in my head. I think I’ll select the best team to start the match, and I also think I have the right alternatives."

APPROACH TO THE MATCH "Our last four to five games have had a knockout-tie feel to them, and this will also be the case tomorrow. We’ve gone out and played these matches to the fullest. We’re very clear about what we want to do: the aim is to be active and proactive in both phases. The team have always shown that they believe in their qualities in all situations, and we need to do this again tomorrow. We need to play like an AC Milan side should and certainly not think that it’ll be easy. In addition to having a spirit of sacrifice, a way of playing and passion, we need to display enthusiasm. This is something we’ve always shown, and we’ll have to do so again in tomorrow’s game. It’s within us and we’ll need to display it out on the pitch; we’re a team that needs to play with emotion. There has to be enthusiasm."

FROM REGGIO TO REGGIO "Two years ago, I saw several things that made me feel positive: the synergy that I enjoy with the directors - I talk to Maldini and Massara every day - the support of the Club, as well as many talented players. When there’s this willingness, it gives you the opportunity to achieve something important. Furthermore, the owners have given us their support and trust, allowing us to work as best we can while never failing us during very complicated periods. We’ve always felt safeguarded and protected. And I have always thought positively about the team; I have so much confidence in my players. In delicate moments, they’ve always been able to bring out the best in themselves despite how young they are, and there’s always been the desire to show that we’re a strong team.”

The AC Milan 2022/23 season tickets are now available: #UnaStoriaUnica, see you at San Siro!

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