Saturday March 7 2020
Pioli: 'Big opportunity for Milan'

Stefano Pioli insists he “always felt the club supported me” despite Ralf Rangnick rumours  and Milan’s game with Genoa “is a big opportunity we must take.”

It kicks off on Sunday at 14.00 GMT behind closed doors, click here for a match preview.

“We had our training session at San Siro today so we know what to expect tomorrow,” the coach told Milan TV.

“This is a situation we are not accustomed to, but cannot use it as an alibi. This is an emergency for the whole country and we must show great concentration to remember our supporters might not be in the stands, but they will all be watching on television. We must try to give them some moments of joy in this difficult time.”

It has been a difficult time for the club too, with director Zvonimir Boban reportedly fired after a row with CEO Ivan Gazidis over the approach for Ralf Rangnick to take over Milan next season.

“I always felt the club supported me,” insisted Pioli. “I am working well at Milanello with concentration and determination. We must remain focused on what we have to do, not allow alibis based on external factors that have nothing to do with us.

“The lads know how important today’s game is for the club, our future and the team’s fondness for the club.”

Tomorrow’s opponents are Genoa, who seem to have been boosted by the arrival of third coach Davide Nicola.

“They have turned the tide lately with a change of management and in their last three games won two with only a hard-fought defeat to Lazio. Nicola is doing great work at Genoa. It’s also true that we worked hard on how to get best set out on the pitch and dominate a side that will sit deep.

“We must be ready to make the most of any situation. This is a big opportunity and we must take it.”

Milan have changed a great deal since the January transfer window, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Simon Kjaer and Asmir Begovic arriving.

“Working with Zlatan is motivation for me and my players, as he has such hunger to win and determination to seek perfection, even after achieving so much.

“The January market not only improved the squad in terms of technique, but also having experienced people in the dressing room who can help everyone focus on the details.”

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