Stefano Pioli believes Milan can learn a great deal from their 2-2 draw with Lecce. “I saw positives, but we should’ve closed the game earlier.”
The Coach saw his debut on the Rossoneri bench, and also his birthday, ruined by a stoppage-time Marco Calderoni screamer in this 2-2 draw.
There was progress, as both Milan goals were from open play, as many as throughout Marco Giampaolo’s seven games in charge.
“I struggled a little with players who I used to work with, Babacar and Calderoni,” Pioli told Sky Sport Italia.
“It’s a pity, there were positives, but we wanted the win and didn’t get it because of our mistakes. I saw some good moves, quality and spirit, but if you leave the game open, you can have a nasty surprise at the end.
“Milan players are well aware of their capabilities and the fact they are wearing a prestigious jersey. They will be able to judge their own performances and we’ll analyse them carefully, but in a way we paid for our generosity, as we ran after the ball and didn’t keep an eye on other players. I think we had deserved to win it.
“Some of the positions we took were positive, others not so much. We tried to build from the back with a three-man defence, but that can change with a different opponent such as Roma next week.
“After only a few days of training, I did see some of the ideas we had worked on and that bodes well for the future, even if there is a lot of work to be done.
“I had hoped for a gift this evening for my birthday, but I saw some good things and I hope we can learn from these mistakes.”
The equaliser for 2-2 was a ferocious Calderoni strike, but Pioli pointed to issues in the build-up.
“We lacked a little collaboration on the final equaliser. Calderoni hit it well, but we had several opportunities to close that Lecce move earlier and if we had, we’d be here talking about a deserved victory.
“In the Press conference yesterday, I was asked many questions about how I found the team. I tell you after this match, there are many positives. The big error was that a side like Milan has to kill games off. We could’ve even held on for 2-1 and kicked it out of play rather than misplace those passes.
“This match will help us learn a great deal, for what we did and what we should’ve done. On the penalty, there were too many of us going after the ball and we left gaps. We weren’t set out well at all.”
Rafael Leao started the match and was replaced by Krzysztof Piatek, but will we see them play together for Milan?
“I think Leao and Piatek can play together when overall we are a more balanced team and I have a better idea of their characteristics.
“I replaced Leao because the medic told me he had a slight muscular issue and we didn’t want to risk any further damage, while Paqueta also seemed tired.”