press-conference21 December 2021


Coach's words on the eve of the Empoli game

The last chance to end 2021 and the first half of the season on a high note: the Rossoneri return to the pitch tomorrow at 20:45 (CET) in Empoli looking for an important victory. On the eve of the match, Coach Stefano Pioli has spoken in a press conference from Milanello. His words were broadcast, as usual, on YouTube, Milan TV and Twitch.

"Empoli beat Juventus, Napoli and Fiorentina. They are very dynamic, they move a lot and they are the only team that plays with a diamond in midfield. We'll need to be concentrating and have a lot of determination against a lively, fast and well-drilled side that can make things difficult for us. But we are good enough to go out there and play well, so it's up to us".

"We are lacking a bit of fluidity around the park and especially in the last 30 metres, where some quality can really make the difference. This year Hernández has become more attentive and tidier in defence, he is a more complete player. Apart from scoring goals, he also gives us a lot in attack; he's better, he's had a difficult few days but I hope he'll be in top shape to play tomorrow".

"I think it's also right, when the results we want aren't coming, to be less calm than when things are going well. We want to get back on track, and tomorrow, three points would be very important for that. I'm experienced enough to understand that in this environment there are no half measures, and that results do the talking. I think the team played well on Sunday, taking a few risks. We made some mistakes in the last period of the game that stopped us from getting the result we wanted.

"Leão is better and recovering, he'll be ready for the game against Roma after the break. Ibrahimović won't be playing tomorrow due to a knee injury. Romagnoli is doing well mentally and physically, he's a strong player who has all the characteristics to be important in this AC Milan side. Messias is very busy out on the wing at the moment and he did a lot for us on Sunday.

"Injuries aren't just caused by one thing. We've upped the level of prevention and recovery for the players, we had a lot of muscle injuries in November and that's something you can pay for in the long run. It's a problem we are overcoming and after the Christmas break, it will definitely improve. We have to stay focused on tomorrow's game, which is very important for our place in the league table, to finish the year well and prepare for the restart as well as we can."

"I believe that the standard in the league is very high and that there are several teams - including us - capable of winning 7, 8 or even 10 games in a row. I hope that in 2022 my players will be healthy and that we can keep on playing our game with consistency, but also fight and win tomorrow's game. The market? The managers have always been busy during the winter market. In my first year Ibra, Kjær and Saelemaekers came in; last January Tomori, Meïte and Mandžukić: if we can improve the squad we will do it."

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