Thursday, September 29, 2022

´Dirty, ruffled and little rhythm´ – Pioli unimpressed by Milan game but expects derby reaction

SoccerNews in Serie A 30 Aug 2022

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Stefano Pioli criticised Milan after a poor performance resulted in a goalless draw with Sassuolo, but the head coach expects better in Saturday’s derby against Inter.

The Rossoneri have two wins and two draws in the first four games of their Serie A title defence, though the display on Tuesday away at Sassuolo left much to be desired.

Pioli’s side were far from their best, perhaps fortunate to share the spoils after Mike Maignan was required to save a Domenico Berardi penalty in the first half.

Having missed a chance to collect three points, Milan opened the door for Inter, Roma and Napoli to leapfrog them in the early stages of the 2022-23 Scudetto race.

Fierce rivals Inter are next up for Pioli and the Milan coach acknowledged there must be an improvement on this latest showing.

“It was not a Milan of quality, technique or decision-making,” Pioli said. “We played football that was too frenetic, we weren’t able to read the game and this made it complicated.

“It made it dirty, ruffled and with little rhythm. We struggled to find spaces. We started well, I liked the beginning very much, then we lost calmness and we were in too much of a hurry in the search for the opponent’s goal.

“I have already seen the players, they have spoken more. We lacked quality and calmness, they are aware and it is important. I think that the next matches will be different.”

Asked whether preparations were different due to the looming clash with Inter, Pioli added: “We recovered after [Saturday’s 2-0 win over] Bologna and tried to prepare for the game well from a tactical point of view.

“Saying something to the team for the derby will be easy. It is a derby, the rivalry is high and we know how much the result can weigh and we will prepare for it in the best possible way.”

Fast-paced play and a never-say-die attitude characterised Milan’s route to Scudetto glory last season – a facet that was largely missing against Sassuolo.

Milan’s championship-winning season has changed the way Pioli’s side are judged, and the coach urged his players to rise to that challenge.

Pioli said: “Our expectations have increased and we have to hold them up, but that’s right, it’s a privilege.”

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