PRESS-CONFERENCE PIOLI: “WE WANT TO PUT IN A BIG PERFORMANCE”

Stefano Pioli press conference before MIlanAtalanta

Our Coach spoke from Milanello on the eve of tomorrow’s showdown with Atalanta

Qualifying for the Europa League and the recent renewal of his contract aren’t sufficient reasons for concentration levels to drop. Atalanta will be the visitors to San Siro tomorrow, and, despite the fact that AC Milan will be missing a number of players, Coach Pioli has no intention of settling for anything less than fifth place.

HIS CONTRACT RENEWAL
“I’m having a hard time trying not to think about this, it’s what I wanted and what I was hoping for. But we’ve got a difficult and important fixture tomorrow, one that will count towards our present and our future. I absolutely have to stay focused on this season, then I’ll have time to think about the next one and the satisfaction of being this team’s Coach.”

PAST RESULTS AGAINST ATALANTA
“I don’t think we need to look at any particular statistics in order to find the right motivation to continue the form that we’re in (Atalanta haven’t lost at San Siro since 2014). We’re well aware of how tough a fixture this is, of our opponent’s strength and their impressive statistics. But it’s also true that we’re AC Milan, we’re in good form and we want to put in a big performance.”

THE REVERSE FIXTURE
“We’ve changed so much since then. It was a predictable result in my opinion, because it was an especially negative game for us and an especially positive one for them. They were extremely clinical in attack, while we were still at the start of our journey. Since then, we’ve changed our style of play and brought in some big players who have raised our level. We’re now a different AC Milan side, but tomorrow’s game remains a tough one.”

THOSE MISSING
“Theo brings very important characteristics, combining offensive physicality with the work he does in defence. Unfortunately sometimes you just can’t avoid a yellow and the consequent suspension. He won’t be the only one missing, but the players called up to the squad will be ready to give their all and put in the hard yards for the team, just like Laxalt did in the second half against Sassuolo. Suspensions and injuries will always come and go, but the squad’s doing well, we’re ready, we’re alive and we know that we’ll have to put in a massive performance on the pitch. I’m worried about not having many spare options in defence, but we have to grit our teeth and we’ll definitely be competitive.”

AC MILAN’S CURRENT FORM
“The importance of the match and Atalanta’s prestige mean that there’s no danger of us lowering our guard. The team have grown, we’ve faced all our opponents with determination and the right mentality. We’ll not be lacking in terms of our approach and desire to do well. Both teams are in an ideal condition from a mental perspective, but we need to keep on pushing. We can’t settle for the small moments of happiness that we’re currently enjoying and need to try to overtake those who are ahead of us.”

GASPERINI’S ATALANTA
“When it comes to Atalanta, I think that the most important aspect is the consistency and conviction they show when they play. They are assertive and aggressive on the pitch, combining this with great quality. Furthermore, they have excellent attacking options. I can only admire their work.”

EMPTY STANDS
“If our supporters were in the stadium, we’d undoubtedly be stronger. Our fans have shown us immense support, especially when we’ve experienced difficulties. It’s easy to lend your support when things are going well, but it’s not so easy when the league standings don’t reflect the Club’s stature. I can’t wait to have all our fans by our side again. I would have liked to face Atalanta at San Siro with our supporters in the stands.”

IBRA’S FUTURE
“He’s made an exceptional contribution from a technical and motivational point of view and also in terms of his character. We have time to reflect on and figure out what decisions are going to be made. The most important thing is consistency, and this is what we need to build on.”

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