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press-conference06 March 2021

PIOLI: "I WOULD LIKE TO PLAY TOO"

The Coach's thoughts on the eve of Verona v AC Milan

After their matches against Roma and Udinese, another tricky match awaits AC Milan. Up next is a trip to the Bentegodi to face Verona, with the Rossoneri looking to immediately return to winning ways at the start of a highly intense period where they'll be fighting it out on two fronts. Ahead of tomorrow's 15:00 CET kick-off, Stefano Pioli answered questions from the press. His words were broadcast live on the AC Milan Official App and Milan TV.

THE OPPONENTS
"We’ll need to be very attentive against them. Jurić is doing a fantastic job, he’s continued to field an attacking and technically gifted team even when different players have taken to the pitch. Verona held Juventus and got the better of Atalanta and Napoli. We drew with them last season and this campaign too. They’ll create difficulties and we’ll need to be prepared, remain focused and move around well. They’re more aggressive in defence than Udinese and good at winning duels. Our movement will have to be good."

THE ROSSONERI’S CURRENT SPELL
"It’s an unusual season. If we compare our results in 2021 to those we achieved last year, we’re not doing as well. However, it was difficult to envisage us maintaining the same results, and we’re suffering from injuries. We now need to grit our teeth and try to win more matches from now until the end of the season: the next two months will decide our fate in the league and the Europa League. We’ll give everything until the end. There are seven very strong teams and we want to qualify for the Champions League. If we don’t achieve this, we’ll be disappointed. The important thing is to move forward with confidence and positivity, then we’ll see what we’re able to achieve. We want to reach a point where we’re satisfied with what we’ve done."

ROMA AND UDINESE
"To put in certain performances, you need to be able to attack the spaces. You can’t expect the same kind of performance against Udinese, a team that is better at sitting back and defending: in games like this, it’s difficult to find the required rhythm and intensity. It’d be wrong to question our attitude: the team gave everything against Udinese, but we didn’t display as much quality as we did in Rome. We’re proud to be the youngest team in the league, you need to endure certain difficulties in order to grow."

TOGETHER
"We’ve always focused on our performances and results, we’re interested in the path we’re going down. We’d be limiting ourselves if we spent the rest of the season looking at the results of others. Our next match is a difficult one, but we have the desire to win and are backing ourselves. What will I say to the boys? I’ll tell them that I wish I was 30 years younger so I could take to the pitch with them. I don’t know if they’d be happy, but this is the spirit we need to have. Where we end up will also depend on spells like this: overcoming this situation together will result in even more satisfaction."

INDIVIDUALS
"Leão needs to give his all in every game and training session, and he’s doing that. On Wednesday, we got players into the box but Udinese often got the better of us. We need to read the game better and work on our performance. Romagnoli accepted the choice I made for the Roma game with a lot of respect, even if he wasn’t happy. He’s worked really hard and was ready for the following game. Tonali is fine and progressing well. He was just fatigued, he’s fine both physically and mentally. We’re trying to get Bennacer back to full fitness after his injuries. It’s normal that he has a bit of fear and he’s working hard to get back to his best."

INJURIES
"We’re very aware of the workload, unfortunately having so many games has been problematic for us. Playing every three days is just part of it. It’s the first time that we’ve had so many players out and we’re working hard to ensure we get them back. All of the injured players are important for us, we need to believe in our quality and have already shown that we can produce some good football in difficult situations."


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