Stefano Pioli is pleased to see Milan ‘playing with clear ideas and conviction,’ but urges them not to ‘rest on our laurels’ against Udinese tomorrow.
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“What I see is that my players are happy and satisfied, but we have a lot more to do,” said the coach in his press conference after going unbeaten in 23 competitive games.
“We must continue to be hungry and responsible. It’s a positive moment right now and we have to make the most of that enthusiasm, hoping it spreads to our fans too.
“Competition for places within the squad is important and it means nobody can rest on their laurels. It’s crucial we always stay on our toes, because we play every three days.
“I am not stunned by this Milan squad, because I always had faith in my players. I hoped they would grow to reach this level and these performances, but it was admittedly difficult to think we’d achieve these results. We will run into difficulties and tomorrow will be full of danger against a tough opponent.
“Milan must always consider the next match to be the most important one. You don’t win games on paper, they are all worth three points, and we must show each and every game that we are competitive.
“What I like about this team is that when they step on to the field, they give the impression they have enthusiasm and clear ideas on what to do. That’s what we are working on, playing with conviction.”
When Pioli was asked how he would deal with the moment when Milan inevitably lose, he was unimpressed with the question.
“Why should we think about losing? We just have to focus on giving our all for a positive result, then we’ll know how to face any situation.”
There is good news for Pioli, as Ante Rebic is back after dislocating his elbow, as are Gianluigi Donnarumma and Jens Petter Hauge following their bout of COVID, but Samu Castillejo is injured.
“Rebic will start from the bench, he could play in the second half. Castillejo had a muscular issue this morning and it was best not to risk him. Brahim Diaz is really growing, he is playing with intensity and quality.
“Rafael Leao is improving too, but mustn’t rest on his laurels, as he can do more in many situations.”
Milan squad for Udinese: A Donnarumma, G Donnarumma, Tatarusanu; Calabria, Conti, Dalot, Duarte, Theo Hernandez, Kalulu, Kjaer, Romagnoli; Bennacer, Çalhanoglu, Brahim Diaz, Hauge, Kessie, Krunic, Saelemaekers, Tonali; Ibrahimovic, Leao, Maldini, Rebic