Stefano Pioli has claimed his Milan have changed since the 2-1 defeat to Lazio at San Siro, praised Simon Kjaer’s impact and hopes to get even more minutes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Saturday.
Milan have scored eight goals in the last three games and only conceded three in four, but Pioli thinks his players can do more coming from a 2-2 draw against SPAL.
“It’s part of our DNA, the only data are the opportunities created and the shots made, or the ones of the opponents and for some time the numbers have been favourable, so we have the right mentality,” Pioli said at a press conference.
“Let’s try to control the game. In Ferrara we had many chances but had to score more. Now, the more difficult games are coming and therefore we must be more cynical and determined.”
Pioli reinforced the defence by bringing in Simon Kjaer in January and claims the Dane has formed a great partnership with captain Alessio Romagnoli.
“He’s a player who, together with Romagnoli, forms a pair of smart players. They communicate well and have contributed to good results.
“But I always believe that the hard work in front of the defenders is important too.”
After another setback against one of the teams fighting for salvation, Pioli couldn’t avoid questions about points lost against the lesser sides in the division.
“Maybe because we are talking about easy games, but the truth is that in Italy, there are no simple games.
“In the end, the points count, you have to play your best and make decisions with the whole squad. Now a mini tournament of nine games will start, each game will be worth a lot.”
Pioli has claimed the absence Lazio’s important duo Ciro Immobile and Felipe Caicedo will not change his approach to the game on Saturday.
“Lazio are so complete, and the two comebacks demonstrated it. Even without [Ciro] Immobile and [Felipe] Caicedo, Lazio will not change the way we set up.
“We need to be aware and composed. We must play with absolute precision.”
Milan have three tough games on the bounce, as a home game against Juventus follows before they complete the week with an away match against Napoli.
“The plan is to do well tomorrow night; we can’t think about the other games. We have few days to recover and then we’ll think about the other matches.
“We need points because the table is tight both above and below us.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic came on against SPAL and looked determined to contribute in the run-in. Pioli agrees and claims he will get even more than the 30 minutes against the Aquile.
“His condition will improve with the minutes he plays. He played 30 minutes against SPAL, yesterday he trained well. I hope to give him some more minutes against Lazio.”
The reverse fixture ended in a 2-1 defeat at San Siro, but Pioli thinks his side have changed since then.
“It takes time to build a team, we are different from the first leg because we have changed tactics, positions and players,” he added. “But Lazio are a complete team, they are having an incredible season."