Pioli: “We have been the best so far but we have to be the best tomorrow as well, we have 95 minutes to finish our work in the best possible way” | OneFootball

Pioli: “We have been the best so far but we have to be the best tomorrow as well, we have 95 minutes to finish our work in the best possible way”

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Stefano Pioli during a press conference at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

Stefano Pioli is getting ready for the last game, which will decide the Scudetto, and he believes he and his players will be able to sleep well.

Milan are one game away from winning their first Serie A title since 2010/11 and to achieve this objective, they’ll need to at least draw Sassuolo tomorrow (18:00 CET kickoff). Mapei Stadium will be full of Rossoneri fans, who will hope to see their team lift the Scudetto at the end of the night.

Today, coach Pioli held a press conference at Milanello, where he answered the various questions of the journalists, from Mauro Suma, through Sky and Milannews.it, and even questions from Twitch:

Coach, if you had been told in August 2021 about this current situation, would you have welcomed it? “We have been the best so far, without a doubt, but we have to be the best tomorrow as well. That’s why we’re prepared the game with a week of work and focus, serenity and attention, as we always have. I’ve always believed that in our industry: in work and in sport, what you managed to do yesterday doesn’t matter, all that matters is what we can do tomorrow. We’ve built and deserved a great opportunity, we still have to finish it.”

The squad during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

Which song can describe this path? “Right now I want to be very grounded and focused on tomorrow’s game. It’s a difficult game, we have come this far without anyone giving us anything and tomorrow Sassuolo will do everything to try to beat us as well. We have come this far with a solid foundation and this foundation must be the starting point also tomorrow.”

What kind of game do you expect tomorrow against Sassuolo? “I think our strength has been to interpret every single game with clear and good concepts. Each game, however, has its own story and in every game there is a different opponent. Sassuolo is the team that has more quality on the offensive trequartisti. We will have to be careful and create chances that suit our characteristics and qualities.”

Stefano Pioli during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

It is the most important match of your career? Will your players be able to sleep? “I think so, the way I’ve seen them I think so. I don’t know the best word, but my players are strange, but in a positive way, because i see the attitude, the same determination and concentration as well as the same serenity which is probably a result of their youth. I am sure that under the surface, they are thinking about many things and feeling many emotions. I have always slept very well before matches, and slept little after games. I hope I’ll sleep very little tomorrow night.”

Do you want to reassure the Rossoneri fans? “I feel like telling our fans that it will be a difficult match, but that together, as we’ve shown throughout this season, together we’re strong and tomorrow we’ll need everyone: I need all 27-28 of my players, with which we’ll be traveling to Sassuolo tonight, and all the fans who will be at the stadium, as well as those who won’t be able to be at the game. We know that at our back we have passion, warmth and great expectations. But there can be no assurances before the game, because the ball is round and because you need to prove you’re better than the others. We’ve done that so far, but we have 95 minutes left to prove ourselves and finish our work in the best possible way.”

Alexis Saelemaekers during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

Did the players tell you anything special before today? “Nothing in particular, because I keep seeing the same attitudes. It seems good to me, compared to if I’d see them different than usual and different from last week. In the last 4-5 games, we’ve experienced games of do or die and we have faced them with this spirit and serenity. Preparing for the match well gives you the opportunity to put everything you have on the pitch.”

How much does Ibrahimović want to be the protagonist tomorrow? “A lot, as we all do. It’s clear that we are going through an important moment, tomorrow a league campaign will come to a close. 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 in reaching an important objective.”

How important has Ibra been in this path? “A lot. He’s brought mentality, quality and he’s a player, above all, for his quality and football intelligence. He brought that personality that a young team needed. He is a point of reference, then his teammates were good at following him and becoming much stronger players than when Zlatan arrived.”

Rade Krunić during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

What do Milan need tomorrow and what shouldn’t they do? “Play like Milan and don’t think it will be an easy match.”

Do Milan deserve this Scudetto and why? “I will tell you tomorrow… as of today we are first with merit.”

Can it be said that the 5-0 defeat in Bergamo was the beginning of everything? “It can be said that from that game the players and I understood many things, the management helped us with the January mercato with Ibra, Kjær and Saelemaekers. The arrival of Zlatan and Simon raised the technical, moral and professional level of the team. From that defeat we started again with a different consistency and strength than before.”

Ismaël Bennacer during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

What effect did the words of the Sassuolo players have on you? “Sport is a competition, those who played against us gave their all: Fiorentina, Lazio, Verona and Atalanta. Sassuolo will also give their best tomorrow, it will be a match to be fought with intelligence, clarity and strength from start to finish.”

Have you managed to get everything from the players in the last hours as well? “Honestly, this week I didn’t need to make any particular interventions, it’s a group that has always worked with ‘us’ in front of everything… The players must continue to think that each one of them can be decisive, everyone has been decisive this season but tomorrow even more than before, each one of them could leave a mark, a decisive mark, in a situation which could become history. Obviously, those who start the match will begin with maximum focus, and everyone else will be ready to make their contribution, regardless of whether they come on in the 80th, 70th or 60th minute or even just a minute before the end. I have no doubt about that.”

Stefano Pioli during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

How difficult is it to make choices tomorrow? “It has been difficult all year except unfortunately in November when the choices were forced because of injuries. My medical staff had been critical and there was a reason for it, but they were good at finding solutions. It is always difficult to make choices with such strong and available players. I have clear ideas in mind and the important thing is to have different characteristics during the match in progress.”

How important has Milanello been in these 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 try to put their best available to others get the most out of them. It’s the ideal place to work.”

Ante Rebić and Tiémoué Bakayoko during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

Are you planning to have Rebić start? “I think I will field the right line-up and I will have the players on the bench to change the game. We have a clear idea of ​​what we want to do.”

Who has surprised you the most so far? “We are very clear about what we want to do, be active and proactive in both phases. The team has always shown that it believes in its own qualities in all situations, that’s the same thing we have to do tomorrow.”

Theo Hernández during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

In July 2020 you said that you were at the beginning of an extraordinary journey. What did you see then? “Several things that made me think positively: the synergy I have with the technical area, with Maldini and Massara with whom I talk every day, the support of the Club, and my many talented players: when they give you availability there is an opportunity to achieve something important.”

How are you doing? “Good, I’m fine. I will sleep well. I’m also aware of the difficulties we will face: I am very focused and motivated, as are my players.”

Fikayo Tomori during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

Kjær said earlier in the season that he was curious about how you could improve the team. What answer did you give? “I think the testimony to the growth of my guys is mainly the lasting absences of Zlatan and Simon. The team lost two important references in the dressing room… Others grew up a lot to try to make up for the two pillars of the team. The team has definitely grown a lot in this period.”

Will Milan play the same way as always or will they be more attentive as a dream is enough? “We prepared for the match to play like Milan, to try to be a careful and balanced team.”

Rafael Leão during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

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’ve 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… what other element will be needed to win the Scudetto? “Enthusiasm, which has accompanied us and will have to be there tomorrow as well. We have it in us and will have to put it on the field. I think it’s a team that has to play with its own emotions. We have to play with enthusiasm.”

The squad during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

We never talked about Mrs. Barbara [Pioli’s partner]… “If we never talked about her then it’s better to continue like this [laughs]…”

What has this ownership given you in these two years? “It has given us support, trust, made us work in the best possible way and never let us miss anything even in complicated periods like the lockdown. We have always felt protected and safeguarded.”

Do you expect a difficult game from a tactical or physical point of view? “Both things, Sassuolo have quality and technique. If you get the timing wrong they can surprise you with tackles. Tactically and physically it will be a complicated game. We know how to fight and suffer, I think the team will be able to play the right game.”

Stefano Pioli during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

Have you ever felt as loved as you do now at Milan? “No.”

What do you want to say to the fans? “Forza Milan! Forza lotta, vincerai… you finish it!”

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