Stefano Pioli is still ‘asking more’ from his Milan players after their 4-1 win in Lecce and shrugs off speculation about Ralf Rangnick.
The Rossoneri ran away with the 4-1 victory at the Stadio Via del Mare, with a flurry of second-half goals.
“We played well against an opponent that preferred to sit back and wait for us to come forward, so we needed the spaces to open up,” Pioli told Sky Sport Italia.
“Lecce had an opportunity to get back into it with the equaliser, but we managed to get straight back out in front. It’s an important victory, we needed the points and this boost.
“The objective has to be European qualification and catching up to those in front of us in the table. Roma seem quite far away, but then there is the head-to-head on Sunday. There are many points up for grabs in 11 rounds and we’ve got to try.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was still injured, so Ante Rebic was used as the centre-forward and scored one of the goals.
“Ibra has certain characteristics, so without him, we need to find other positions. We did it well today, not so much in the Coppa Italia, because we went behind too early and then went a man down.”
Rafael Leao came off the bench and scored with a diving header, his celebration an apparently response to critics.
“Leao has to do more, regardless of today’s goal. He came on with the right attitude, so I am happy. I have to ask more of him, because he has so much to give. We’re working on making Leao into more of a centre-forward, as he still struggles there.
“I have intelligent players like Hakan Calhanoglu, Jack Bonaventura and Samu Castillejo who move so well off the ball.”
Simon Kjaer went off in the first half following an awkward fall that seemed to twist his knee.
“I’ve been told it’s a bruise to the knee, hopefully it’s not serious, because there’s an important game coming up against Roma.”
Pioli could well take Milan to Europa League qualification and still be fired, as reports continue to maintain Ralf Rangnick will take over.
“I am not interested in what is being said. I am happy with the team, I worked from the start with passion and competence, then the future will be decided at the end of the season.”