The victory in Genoa against Sampdoria is behind us, just like the Champions League group stage draw. The Rossoneri are now focused on AC Milan v. Cagliari, the first match of the 2021/22 season at San Siro, which also sees the Rossoneri fans return to their stadium. Coach Stefano Pioli spoke to journalists at his press conference in Milanello to discuss the challenges the team will face tomorrow, with the game scheduled for 20.45 CEST. As usual, the press conference was broadcasted on Milan TV and on the AC Milan Official App.
"We've been thinking about the game all week. We have an objective – start the season well. We’re coming from a hard-fought but well-deserved victory. Tomorrow we'll face a well-structured team like Cagliari, who are difficult to play against. Against Spezia they pressed hard, but at this point in the season the league table doesn't create pressure. We don't know what their attitude will be like, we'll have to be good at reading the moment. It’ll be difficult to repeat last year's away results, so it's clear that improving the results at San Siro is a target and we want to try and start that tomorrow”.
"I am motivated by my players’ desire to work attentively and with quality all the time. Every match will make us grow and every challenge gives me ideas on what we can work on to improve. We can prepare the best we can, but still you can have to read the matches on the day. We've done well this summer, both in training and in friendlies; we've played with fluency, trying to keep the game under control. We have to try to be more dangerous, to try to do better in the final third”.
INDIVIDUAL PLAYERS / 1
"Pellegri showed up in good but not quite yet top condition, we're doing all the necessary evaluations to allow him to carry on working; he won't be called up tomorrow, I hope to have him fully back with the group after the break. Bennacer's condition has improved, he's ready to play; I expect a big performance from him because he’s got everything. Ibra and Kessie are doing well, I hope to have them back available with the group soon after the international break”.
INDIVIDUAL PLAYERS / 2
"Compared to last year I’ve found Díaz much more ready. We want to play and improve, and this also applies to Sandro – his growth is very important. It's normal to have difficult moments, but he managed to work on his mistakes and now he’s much more of a complete midfielder. To be competitive we need a lot of starters, Krunić is one of them; he plays in both phases of the game with great intelligence. I'll make my choices match by match, but everyone has to be ready”.
THE FANS’ BUZZ
"We've always felt the fans with us and I think it was a mutual thing. It was great to see them back with us in Genoa on Monday or at Milanello this morning, it will be exciting to have them back at the stadium tomorrow. We're young in terms of age but not as players or as a team. We'll only get positive effects from the return of the fans, we want to take all the energy we can from them, and make the most of the energy of San Siro”.
"Our minds are now only on tomorrow's game, we want to be ready. We really wanted to play in the Champions League. We know it's the most important competition and we'll do everything we can to be competitive in a difficult round. The history of this Club should not be a burden, but an incentive. We will play every European game to our maximum potential”.
FROM CAGLIARI TO CAGLIARI
"In these months we have grown in awareness, compactness and quality. The team goes onto the pitch with clear ideas and they try to carry them out, even during the inevitable difficult moments. We have to maintain enthusiasm, always working at our best; be fluid, mentally present – we want to excite our fans. We have definitely improved, last year we could have been a surprise but this year we are not: we have to reaffirm this, try and play proactive football and always be more dangerous than our opponents”.
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