Friday, January 27, 2023

Pioli rues Milan mentality as 10-man Torino cause Coppa Italia upset

SoccerNews in Serie A 12 Jan 2023

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Stefano Pioli believes Milan struggled to cope with the psychological demands of facing 10 men in Wednesday’s shock Coppa Italia defeat to Torino.

Milan’s wait to lift their sixth Coppa Italia will extend to at least 21 years after they failed to take advantage of Koffi Djidji’s red card, with Michel Adopo firing Torino through in extra time.

The Rossoneri were unable to beat impressive visiting goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic despite introducing big names including Rafael Leao, Olivier Giroud and Theo Hernandez, before Adopo capped a rapid break with a penalty shoot-out looming.

After Djidji was shown his second yellow card for a mistimed challenge on Junior Messias with 20 minutes of normal time remaining, Pioli acknowledged Milan lost their way.

“We thought the match had become easy and when you think like this you lose your lucidity, you play frenetically,” he said at a post-match press conference.

“We certainly made many mistakes in the offensive phase, without dribbling speed, without having patience to move the defence, which became very dense and physical.

“We have faced the numerical superiority badly, mentally.”

Wednesday’s defeat followed a dramatic 2-2 Serie A draw with Roma in which Milan threw away a two-goal lead late on, but Pioli feels the pair of results represent something of an anomaly.

“These are just episodes. The results are penalising us beyond our performances,” the Milan boss added.

“But if tonight we were eliminated by a team with a numerical inferiority, it means that there is something to improve.

“It’s a big disappointment, it was our aim to go forward in the Coppa Italia and we did not succeed. We all have to do better because this is not the level of the team.”

Torino also dealt Milan just their second Serie A defeat of the season in October, meaning they have beaten the Rossoneri twice in a single campaign for the first time since doing so in 1984-85.

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