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press-conference06 December 2021

PIOLI: "SACRIFICE, DETERMINATION AND CLARITY OF MIND"

The thoughts from the Coach and Fikayo Tomori at Milanello ahead of AC Milan v Liverpool

It's an occasion to chase a dream. It's AC Milan v Liverpool - on the final matchday of Champions League Group B - and progression to the round of 16 is still up for grabs. Should they win, the Rossoneri’s European journey is guaranteed to continue this season, whether in the Champions League or Europa League. Stefano Pioli and Fikayo Tomori spoke to the press ahead of the match tomorrow evening at 21:00 CET; the conference was broadcast live on Milan TV and our YouTube and Twitch channels.

STEFANO PIOLI’S WORDS

FROM 23 MAY TO 7 DECEMBER
"In terms of its significance and preparing from a mental point of view, this match could be compared to the game in Bergamo in May, but it’s also true that we’ve played many delicate and important games since then. It’s a match we’ve prepared well for."

FUTURE IN EUROPE
"We’re only focusing on tomorrow’s game. The Club’s objective is to become competitive again, both in Italy and Europe. We want to progress to the round of 16 in the Champions League; however, if we’re transferred to the Europa League, we’ll approach it in the best way possible. Nevertheless, only tomorrow matters, and we want to test ourselves."

FROM ANFIELD TO SAN SIRO
"In the reverse fixture, we were put under a lot of pressure by them, displaying a lack of movement without the ball. This is an aspect we need to improve on tomorrow. We have better knowledge of the spaces that are likely to arise on the pitch. Should we overcome their initial press, spaces could open up, allowing us to be dangerous."

TOMORROW’S APPROACH
"Tomorrow evening, AC Milan need to be strong because the level will be high. We’ll be up against a team that have been among the best in the world for years now. The more unpredictable we are, and the more successful we are in attacking the spaces, the more we’ll be able to create dangerous situations up front. We know what we need to do to hold our own against them. We’ll also have the great support of our fans: all the prerequisites to be positive and believe we can produce a great performance are there."

INJURIES
"We’re doing everything to try to facilitate recovery and enhance the players’ performance levels, including by managing how long they play. Now, we need to grit our teeth, trying to achieve the maximum possible until 22 December. Then, I’m sure the situation will improve."

TACTICAL SETUP
"I think we’ll need to have a lot of attacking players and not necessarily a fixed point of reference. Krunić, Díaz and Messias know how to interpret the spaces, moving between the lines and making themselves dangerous. This is something that could make the difference."

AMBITION
"We’re convinced that we’re a strong team and that they’re a really strong side. We want to test ourselves against the best, trying to pick up the best result possible. Victory needs to be achieved through sacrifice, determination, motivation and clarity of mind on a tactical level."

FIKAYO TOMORI’S WORDS

WINNING FOR KJÆR
"Absolutely. Simon is a very important part of this team. We hope to do as best we can this season, and we’ll try to do so for him too."

APPROACH AND MENTALITY
"We want to do well and win tomorrow, it’ll be an important match. We’ll approach it in the right way, with a winning mentality. They have a great attacking threat and it’s not easy to face them: having a great team spirit will be key. Not conceding is very important. I try to do my best, but it’s something that depends on everyone: it’s a team game."

HOW TO BEAT LIVERPOOL
"It won’t be easy, they play with great intensity and have a lot of quality. They’re a very strong side, but we’re also strong and can give them a hard time, as we did in the reverse fixture. Compared to the September game, we’ve grown a lot as a team, and that match was the first time that many in our squad had played in the Champions League. After five matches, and after the result against Atlético, we have greater awareness. We need to play our game and not simply think about stopping them from scoring."


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