Sunday February 21 2021
Pioli: ‘Milan will react, Ibra asked to be substituted'

Stefano Pioli is convinced Milan will react after a 3-0 defeat in the derby della Madonnina and reveals why Zlatan Ibrahimovic asked to be substituted.

“The first goal was heavy for us. We lacked intensity in the first half, we should have done more, but we deserved to score in the second half,” Pioli told DAZN.

Is he disappointed by the performance of Zlatan Ibrahimovic?

“A striker depends on the team’s performance. In the first half we struggled to bring players close to their box even if we created some opportunities.

“He asked to be replaced because he had had a cramp," Pioli explained.

“We produced more shots on target in the second half with Handanovic who made some crucial saves. It was a difficult week, but we are going to react,” the coach claimed.

“We weren’t too aggressive because we didn’t want to leave too much space for them and create two vs. two situations. Their quality emerged in the second half. It’s not easy to win the ball possession against them."

How will Milan react?

"Our strength is the balance. We believe in our job. We must be objective. One year ago or even three months ago we would have been happy to be where we are now.

"That being said, we are not happy because this was the derby, we wanted more, but we must not forget about our path.

"We didn’t do our best in the last three games and we know we can do something more. We are sorry for today’s defeat, but the bad game was the one against Spezia, not this one. We tried to give our best today.

"We are the only team who played the Europa League play-offs, we had some injuries and some players played too much. It’s normal, we knew this season would have been difficult and that’s why we must be happy of what we’ve done so far.

"It was a tough week, the worst one of the season. We want to qualify for the next stage of Europa League and then we’ll focus on Serie A again."