Stefano Pioli explains why Milan have become such a juggernaut after another victory, this time away to Celtic in the Europa League. ‘It all changed in January.’
The Rossoneri looked at times too comfortable at Celtic Park and took their foot off the gas entirely in the second half, allowing Mohamed Elyounoussi to score a goal, but still won 3-1.
Elsewhere in the group, Lille picked up a 4-1 win away to Sparta Prague.
“It was a game we controlled well with character and quality, although we made a few more technical errors and ran a few risks in the second half.
“It was very important for us to prove we were not a ‘normal’ team. A normal team shows less motivation and determination after such a thrilling victory as the derby, but we proved that we are taking it one game at a time and want to keep winning,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia.
Milan stepped up another gear following the lockdown and remain unbeaten in all competition since the restart.
“There’s no secret, it’s just that we’ve all been working in the same direction for some time now. The club, players, staff all feel like an integral part of this project and we all work together to keep improving.
“The club deserves credit for continuing the work we’ve been doing and bringing in some talented young players who can add more to the mix.
“Good results boost self-belief, but we know full well the difficult moments will come and we’ll have to work our way through them.
“It’s a young squad, but even a player like Gigio Donnarumma is 21 years old and yet already a mature person and player with plenty of experience.
“I think we’re doing well because we don’t waste a moment of the time we have together and always consider the next match to be the most important.
“Roma have a remarkable front line, so it’ll be another big test between two teams who want to play positive football, score more goals than their opponents and take the initiative.
“We want to continue our positive form and above all the journey that has seen us progress constantly since January.
“I think it all changed in January, when we brought in players who were more suited to our style of football and filled the gaps that we had in the squad.”
Pioli was asked how far away Milan are realistically from making the step up to Scudetto challengers and he did not shy away from the question.
“We think that we are at a good level, we know where we want to end up, as we are ambitious, but must also not be hasty or try to cut corners in order to get there.
“We continue to work on every detail, technical, tactical, physical, dietary, and will probably bolster the options further in January or next season. Having said that, there are currently four or five teams in Serie A that are stronger on paper, that’s beyond doubt, and we must focus on our journey.”