Saturday July 18 2020
Pioli: 'Milan are a team now'

Stefano Pioli reveals the moment Milan stepped up a level this season after ‘enjoying themselves’ in a 5-1 win over Bologna. ‘We are a team now, we believe in what we’re doing.’

The Rossoneri are unbeaten since the restart and one of the form teams in Serie A, crushing Bologna 5-1 this evening with goals from Alexis Saelemaekers, Hakan Calhanoglu, Ismael Bennacer, Ante Rebic and Davide Calabria.

There was only one scare, with a Takehiro Tomiyasu rocket into the top corner on the stroke of half-time, otherwise it was one-way traffic.

“The team is enjoying itself, that’s what you can tell from the way the players are working in training, during the match and any time we spend time together,” Pioli told DAZN.

“Bologna are a particularly tough team, so this kind of performance means we have belief in what we’re doing. We haven’t achieved our target yet, so we’ve got to stay focused and keep it going.

“We worked well during the lockdown, thanks also to the efforts of the players, but it’s the mentality that makes the difference. We are a team now, we have belief in what we’re doing and that makes everything work better.

“We had this inability before to beat the teams ahead of us in the table, but we’ve now defeated Lazio and Juventus, so that was the signal of stepping up a level.

“I think the game that really gave us the boost was the Coppa Italia semi-final. Playing almost the entire match down to 10 men, but still so organised, determined and focused, it made is realise we could’ve beaten Juventus if it was 11 against 11. That was a very important match in our journey, as it’s when we became fully aware of what we could do.”

That game ended 0-0, so Juve qualified for the Final on away goals thanks to the 1-1 first leg result.

Franck Kessie could’ve had Milan’s sixth goal, but his effort came off the base of the upright.

“Franck is a modern and complete midfielder who does well both attacking and defending. He’s at peak fitness now and has such presence, he’s always ready and generous to motivate his teammates, so has become a real leader in the squad.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic seemed irritated again when substituted on the hour mark.

“He said something, I honestly didn’t understand what. We play every three days, he had an injury, so it’s natural he has to be rested occasionally.”

Inevitably, this kind of form will spark debate among the Milan fans, because the club continues to actively pursue Ralf Rangnick as their coach for next season.

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