Ahead of the match against Sampdoria at San Siro, matchday 36 of Serie A, Stefano Pioli spoke to journalists at Milanello in the usual pre-match press conference. Here are the coach's comments ahead of the match against the Blucerchiati:
"We are behind where we want to be, so we will have to be very focused and determined for the game against Sampdoria. Luckily, the season didn't end last Tuesday, we still have the chance to show who we are".
"We came to the Champions League in good shape. The result was not what we wanted. I think the difference against Inter was the two first halves. In the first half for the goals we conceded, in the second for the chances we didn't take advantage of. All the players gave their best, from the first to the last. Let's not look back anymore, that's the past: let's look forward".
TIME FOR THE LEAGUE
"I think we are lucky to be able to play. We were hoping to go to the final, but now we are prepared to bring our best to a game where we will have to show who we are, and respond. Sampdoria are playing with great dignity and pride. They are a difficult opponent, because they play aggressive, offensive football and have little to lose".
"This season we have learned some new things: last year we took a different path, the experiences of these months will help us in the future. We have increased our ability to control and dominate games this year, playing out from the back has worked; we have been lacking in the last quarter of the field and in converting chances, that is our original pity. In these years we have been on a path where there have been more successes than disappointments, we can overcome this moment together'.
THE TEAM OVER INDIVIDUALS
"When we missed Rafa it seemed right to put Divock on the outside, but it's not a definitive choice. In any case, I think it's wrong to talk about the individual at the moment, we express ourselves at a high level when we perform well as a team. One of our shortcomings is not being able to win the 'dirty' matches if we don't express ourselves at the highest level, but that was something that also happened last year.
HEAD IN THE GAME
"In these three years we have achieved great results and expectations are naturally very high. I have enormous trust in my players, I know that I coach a top club where I have to guarantee results and good play. When we have succeeded we have been applauded, when this does not happen it is normal to receive criticism. All budgets must be suspended until we understand where we will finish in the standings, these three games will be worth a lot for everyone: the only real and concrete thing is the game in front of us, we must think and focus only on this. At the end we will evaluate everything, to try to be as competitive as possible in Italy and in Europe. Now we need tenacity and determination to finish well in the league.
Separate to the sports-related comments, the coach also wished to address a thought to the situation in Emilia Romagna: "I wish the people who are suffering the best of luck, hoping that everything will be resolved as soon as possible".
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