Friday, December 4, 2020

Pioli not surprised by unbeaten run as Milan look to match club record

SoccerNews in Serie A 31 Oct 2020


Stefano Pioli is not surprised by Milan’s incredible run of form as his side look to match a club record when they travel to Udinese on Sunday. 

The Rossoneri are unbeaten since resuming action in June following the coronavirus-enforced break, including winning four of their opening five Serie A matches this campaign. 

Only in 1995-96 and 2003-04, under Fabio Capello and Carlo Ancelotti respectively, have Milan won five of their opening six matches since it became three points for a win in the competition. 

However, the 18-time Italian champions dropped points for the first time in the 3-3 draw with Roma on Monday and Pioli is wary about Sunday’s opponents Udinese, even though they are in the bottom three. 

“I am not surprised, no, because I have always had so much faith in my players,” Pioli said when asked about the impressive run at Saturday’s pre-match news conference. “I always hoped for this type of growth. 

“We will encounter difficulties down the line and tomorrow will be full of possible pitfalls against a tough opponent. There is a lot of attention for tomorrow’s match.”

The most recent of Milan’s Scudetto successes came in 2011 but, after a fine start, Pioli is not ruling out a title challenge this season. 

“My players are convinced that they are strong enough. Tomorrow will be another opportunity to prove it. Words are only good if proven by facts,” he said.  

“We must have enthusiasm and our goal is always to win and have fun, while playing football we like. Players must always think positively. 

“We are interested in giving the maximum game by game. We are demonstrating awareness in the way we play. We must show match by match that we are competitive.” 

Milan have been further boosted ahead of their trip to the Dacia Arena as Ante Rebic is back in contention following more than a month out with a dislocated elbow. 

The Croatia winger has played a direct part in 14 league goals in 21 appearances this calendar year, putting him behind only Zlatan Ibrahimovic (21) and Hakan Calhanoglu (16) among his team-mates. 

“He has done well in the last two training sessions and is now available,” Pioli said of Rebic. “He will start on the bench but will be able to play some part of the match.” 

Gianluigi Donnarumma is also back in Milan’s squad after recovering from coronavirus as Milan aim to improve on a return of just three wins in their last 12 league visits to Udinese.


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