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Stefano Pioli hails ‘inspirational’ Milan fan Jannik Sinner after Davis Cup win

SoccerNews in Serie A 27 Nov 2023

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AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli says his players can take inspiration from tennis star Jannik Sinner and Italy’s Davis Cup-winning team.

Pioli’s side will bid to keep their Champions League last-16 hopes alive on Tuesday when they face Borussia Dortmund in their penultimate Group F match.

Rossoneri fan Sinner led Italy to their first Davis Cup triumph in 47 years in Malaga at the weekend and Pioli hopes the world number four will be at the San Siro to cheer his side on.

Pioli told a press conference: “He’s an inspirational figure due to his determination, his talent, his quality, his mentality and his desire to win every single point.

“If Jannik attends, we’ll be happy. In the meantime, I’d like to congratulate him, the Italy Davis Cup team and the captain, (Filippo) Volandri.”

Pioli described his side’s clash with Dortmund, against whom they drew 0-0 on the road in October, as a “turning point” in the group.

Milan sit third with two games remaining, two points behind leaders Dortmund, after beating Paris St Germain 2-1 at home in their previous group match, while all four sides – Newcastle being the other club – can still qualify for the knockout phase.

Pioli, whose side are third in Serie A, six points behind leaders Inter after Saturday’s 1-0 home win against Fiorentina, added: “It’s a very important game, a turning point in the group.

“We know all about our opponents, who are a strong side and can cause problems.

“However, they can come into difficulties, too. We’ll need to be attentive throughout the 95 minutes and understand when to close them down when we’re out of possession.

“When we have the ball, we’ll have to try and take up the right positions and find the right spaces.”

Dortmund remain in pole position to qualify from the group. After losing their opening game to PSG 2-0 they were held 0-0 at home by Milan before back-to-back wins against Newcastle.

The German club’s sporting director Sebastian Kehl told a press conference: “We know the table and of course you look at what is still possible in this group. We know what awaits us.

“Milan showed in their home match against PSG that they can be very strong. It will be a close one. But the opportunity to qualify for the round of 16 will be in our own hands in both upcoming group games. We’ll go there with that in mind.”

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