Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Pioli: Milan players should dream of winning Serie A

SoccerNews in Serie A 3 Oct 2021

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Milan head coach Stefano Pioli encouraged his players to “dream” of winning the Scudetto after equalling their best-ever start to a Serie A season thanks to a 3-2 win at Atalanta.

The Rossoneri held on to secure victory away to Atalanta and move into second place on 19 points after seven league fixtures, matching the record they set in the title-winning 2003-04 campaign.

Davide Calabria opened the scoring after less than 30 seconds – the third-fastest goal in Serie A for Milan since the 2004-05 season (since Opta started to collect this data), with only Rafael Leao (six seconds against Sassuolo) and Sulley Muntari (18 seconds against Juventus) netting faster.

Sandro Tonali and Leo were also on target for high-flying Milan as Pioli welcomed talk of a trophy challenge.

“We have to play to win every single game, we played with quality and energy,” Pioli said, with Milan searching for their first Serie A crown since 2010-11.

“This test closes a positive period in which the team has always responded, even in Champions League defeats. It means we are growing.

“Is Tonali talking about the Scudetto? It’s right that the guys ride this dream, at every game we have the chance to show that we can compete.

“It’s a two-year journey, but now we must not be satisfied, but remaining humble and respecting our opponents. Tonight we did well what we missed in the first half hour against Liverpool, we were very dynamic.”

Pioli also reserved special praise for former Atalanta midfielder Franck Kessie, who has featured regularly for Milan this term despite having just one year left on his contract.

It remains to be seen whether Kessie will remain at San Siro beyond 2021-22 amid links with the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham.

“[I] never had doubts about Franck’s behaviour, the contract events exist but he played an amazing game,” Pioli said. 

“[It was a] high level from everyone, but his, in particular, was an excellent race from a physical and technical point of view. He remains a regular member of this team, but like other members of the squad.”

Milan will look to continue their title charge when they host Hellas Verona at San Siro on October 16 after the upcoming international break.

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