Monday January 6 2020
Pioli: 'Milan wrong moves for Ibra'

Stefano Pioli complained Milan showed “a lack of quality” and made the wrong passes to feed Zlatan Ibrahimovic in a “disappointing” draw with Sampdoria.

The game ended goalless at San Siro and was barely an improvement on the 5-0 defeat to Atalanta that closed off 2019.

“Clearly we wanted to win and resume with a victory, so the fact we didn’t manage that is certainly disappointing,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“We largely dominated the game and played I think over 70 passes in their penalty area, but we lacked quality and when you don’t have that technical precision in your passing, you can’t win a game or create the right opportunity.

“We have to expect more from all the Milan players. I think the statistics showed we had only 70-odd per cent pass accuracy and that in the long run makes a difference. We needed this victory and it’s a pity that it didn’t come.”

Ibrahimovic made his ‘debut’ for Milan, coming off the bench with Rafael Leao for Krzysztof Piatek and Giacomo Bonaventura.

“As far as I am concerned, it was a positive impact. He brought character, support and presence to the squad. I think the team isn’t accustomed to having someone of such physicality in the box, so didn’t put enough crosses in for him, especially towards the end of the match.

“We all need to get to know each other and what we require. It’s not just quality of passing I mean, but also choosing the right passes for the players you are trying to reach.

“When we brought in the substitutes, we should’ve realised that it was necessary to change the way we were playing. Naturally, the 5-0 defeat to Atalanta was a disaster and those results leave their mark on you, take away some confidence. You have to go looking for good luck and we were always just that little bit short to get there.”

Milan director Ricky Massara said before the game that they were looking for a defender, but do they need more?

“I believe the Milan midfielders have the right characteristics and quality, we’ve had some good games, it’s just that they are lacking some confidence right now,” assured Pioli.

Suso was jeered by the crowd at San Siro repeatedly and seems more lacking in confidence than anyone else.

“We still have to study and develop how we will play going forward with Ibrahimovic. I feel the most important thing in a football team is to have the ball at the feet of the players with the most quality. One of our limits today, for many players, is that we reached the edge of the box to attempt a shot, cross or pass, but rarely managed to develop those opportunities fully.

“Ibra is a centre-forward, we’ll see then if we use him alone or with another striker by his side. He could play alongside Piatek, but we need the right balance and characteristics to keep it all working together.”

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