Thursday January 23 2020
Pioli: 'Every game the most important'

Stefano Pioli has challenged his players to bring Milan “back to where they’ve always been” and continue to “improve our position” in Serie A.

The Rossoneri are playing Brescia on Friday night and are currently on a run of three consecutive wins.

The coach seems pleased with what he has been presented after the winter break, but is adamant that they must “treat every game as if it’s the most important” to help them climb further up the table.

“The numbers don’t lie. The interpretation of the games has been positive, and we must continue like this,” Pioli said at a press conference. “We haven’t done anything yet, there’s a long way to go and we must remain concentrated on the next game.

“Our goal is to improve our position in the League and bring Milan back to where they’ve always been.

“We have to think that every game is the most important. That’s the only way to look at it. It’s not the time to think about where we will be on May 24. We must keep our heads screwed on and continue to develop.

“We have to strengthen the positive things we’ve done so far and improve the situations in which we have been in difficulty.

“We only think about tomorrow, looking for the performance to improve our position in the League.”

Mario Balotelli is suspended for tomorrow’s match but Pioli pointed at Sandro Tonali and takes him “into great consideration” ahead of the battle at the Mario Rigamonti.

“They lose the possibility of having an important individual player. But they are even more compact and dynamic,” he said. “We expect a determined opponent who play for an important target. We will try to win the game anyway.

“Tonali is a player with great qualities and potential, we must take him into great consideration tomorrow.”

Pioli insisted he’s “not surprised” by the “impact” of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, as the 38-year-old has helped Milan with his experience after returning to the club this winter.

“He’s an added value, for his impact and his presence in the games, his attitude and professionalism in everyday life,” Pioli said. “He has done this team good, and his teammates connected with him straight away.

“I’m not surprised by all this; we are talking about a champion who is among the best players in the world over the last decade. I expected a lot from him. I have found a helpful and intelligent person.

“He came here with curiosity; he had studied beforehand and now he is more aware of what he can and should do.”

Ante Rebic came off the bench and scored a brace against Udinese, to help Milan pick up a 3-2 win against the Friuli. Now, he is in contention to start against Brescia.

“Of course, there are many players who are doing well right now,” Pioli said. “Like him and Leao. Ibra is also fine. I will make my decision tomorrow.”

“I think it all depends on the attitude you have. If you work with conviction, even enduring decisions that aren’t going in your direction, then you are ready when you are called upon.

“I have to choose a team that guarantees me the most. We are 24 players who train well, I have favoured other players and will continue to do so: it’s natural in my role.

“They must not suffer because of setbacks. The first XI are as important as those who enter. The attitude has improved, and we win the games because of this too. Since we want to improve, we must continue like this. Whoever shows this attitude, demonstrate that we have to work this way.”

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