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Stefano Pioli urges AC Milan to get Serie A title challenge back on track

SoccerNews in Serie A 1 Dec 2023

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AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli admitted his side must get their Serie A title challenge back on track with victory in Saturday’s home game against Frosinone.

Just one win in their previous five league matches has seen Milan slip six points behind leaders Inter and four behind second-placed Juventus.

A home Champions League defeat to Borussia Dortmund in midweek left Milan bottom of their group and while they can still qualify for the knockout stages with one game to play, the pressure is mounting on Pioli.

The 58-year-old former Lazio, Inter and Fiorentina head coach told a press conference: “Frosinone are doing very well and have confidence, (Eusebio) Di Francesco is doing a great job.

“They are aggressive, but we know how to cause them problems. We want to win, and we need to. We need points, the league campaign is long.

“As usual, we’ll need to show concentration, determination and quality. We need to show we are still competitive and put in a good performance.”

Milan beat Pioli’s former club Fiorentina 1-0 at the San Siro last week to halt a domestic league run of two draws and two defeats and a slump in form has coincided with a lengthy injury list.

Pioli was without half a dozen key players for Tuesday night’s loss to Dortmund and saw defender Malick Thiaw forced off early in the second half.

Thiaw will not feature against Frosinone and Olivier Giroud is still suspended, while Rafael Leao, Noah Okafor, Pierre Kalulu, Simon Kjaer, Marco Pellegrino and Mattia Caldara are unlikely to feature.

Pioli added: “There are still 25 league games to play. I told the players not to come in on Thursday to Milanello if they didn’t believe we could reach Inter and Juventus.”

Frosinone boss Di Francesco has injury concerns of his own as his 10th-placed side bid to halt their poor away form, with Luca Mazzitelli, Riccardo Marchizza, Pol Lirola, Francesco Gelli and Marco Brescianini all doubtful.

Frosinone’s impressive start to the season after promotion has been built on five wins and a draw in seven home league matches, but they are winless on the road.

Di Francesco told a press conference: “We need to get this obstacle out of our heads. We made the last point (on the road) in Salerno (in September).

“We need to try to approach the away match with the right attitude. Here at home, however, we feel stronger when going to face our opponents. This way of thinking certainly needs to be changed.”

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