Tuesday January 5 2021
Pioli: 'Juventus match not decisive'

Milan coach Stefano Pioli said the match against Juventus will 'not be decisive’ but stressed the Rossoneri 'play to win' against the Old Lady.

Milan are unbeaten after 15 League games and sit first in Serie A, with a 10 point gap down to Juventus at fifth.

Pioli has stressed that the importance of the match against Juventus remains, but doesn’t want the success so far to derail them from their initial target.

“I expect a growing Juventus that undoubtedly had to start a new path,” Pioli said at a press conference. “They are losing something but remain a very strong team.

“They are well organised on the pitch and difficult to take in many situations. It will be a match to be tackled from a tactical point of view.

“We can’t change our goal. Our goal tomorrow is the match against Juventus and we will try to win. Milan-Juventus remains Milan-Juventus for the history, for the blazon of the two clubs and for the fans.

“It’s an important match and we know it well. Ours is a marathon and therefore we can’t think of taking just one shot. It’s not a decisive match, but it will be an important match.

“We are doing well, we want to do well, and we want to try to win.”

Pioli praised Rafael Leao, who scored a great goal against Benevento and has stepped up in Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s absence, and pointed at the ‘opportunities to show Milan’s worth’.

“He’s growing a lot, he has characteristics that we must try to enhance in the right way. The important thing is to see the will to grow and improve on a daily basis,” he said.

“All matches are opportunities to prove our worth. We have to concentrate on the game and raise our level because they are strong opponents, with experience, and they have been winning for years.

“We are showing that we can play for it and therefore we will play to win.

“We have scored 17 points more than last year. The path is the right one, but we can’t speak of a decisive match after 15 rounds, we approach all matches as a decisive match.”

And the Milan coach said he will not settle for a draw against the Bianconeri on Wednesday.

“If you approach the game to draw, it means taking a serious risk of losing,” he said. “Tomorrow, we must try to play our best.

“We want to try to win. I’m happy when I see a team that gave everything.”

Inter play against Sampdoria earlier the same day and could leapfrog the Rossoneri ahead of the late kick-off.

“It doesn’t affect us, we prepare for the game with great concentration and try to win regardless of the other results,” he added and then claimed Juventus are not playing for the Scudetto tomorrow.

“There’s still a long way to go. There’s still room to recover, especially for a strong and experienced team like Juventus.”