Stefano Pioli explains some of his tactical decisions to ‘limit’ Lazio strengths, taking Milan into Europe no matter his own future and preparing for Juventus.
The Rossoneri certainly recovered from the midweek 2-2 draw with SPAL, as they dominated the Stadio Olimpico 3-0 with goals from Hakan Calhanoglu, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ante Rebic.
“The team played well, we are satisfied with the victory, but with such a compressed calendar, our thoughts are already moving on to Juventus,” the coach told DAZN.
“We know our position in the standings and we need to keep pushing at this level. We used up a lot of energy again tonight, but I had a positive response from everyone and that will help me make my choices for the next match.
“This is our fourth game of the season against Juventus, between Serie A and the Coppa Italia. Juve have grown a great deal in recent weeks, but so have we.”
Franck Kessie seemed to be tracking Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and performed several clearances in the box.
“When you prepare a game, you try to limit the strengths of the opposition. Lazio have a lot of quality and tried to play between the lines, so our midfield did a lot of work today and we kept our shape very well,” explained Pioli.
“We work really well at Milanello, I always said that I had a group of responsible players who are aware of the importance of the shirt they are wearing. I don’t know what will happen with our future, with my future, but we are too concentrated on fighting to the end so we can at least get Milan back into the Europa League.
“We won’t get the Champions League now, but Milan are a prestigious club and have to be in European competition.
“The players are continuing to give 110 per cent, even those who signed contracts to the end of the season and probably won’t remain here after that. They are determined to prove they are still strong players at this level and to give their best for Milan.
“It’s very important right now to talk to the clubs, get their sensations, understand who is tired and who needs a break. Rebic really needed a rest today. Ibra doesn’t have the full 90 minutes in his legs, but has certainly improved compared to the SPAL game midweek.”
Ibrahimovic made his return to the starting XI for the first time since the lockdown, but spent the entire second half acting almost as an assistant manager on the touchline.
“Ibra has allowed us to grow in terms of mentality, quality, technique, it’s a real pleasure to work with him and see how he deals with his teammates. Now we’ve got a month left and can continue pushing all the way.”
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