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Table-topping Milan are conceding too often, says Pioli

SoccerNews in Serie A 16 Dec 2020

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Stefano Pioli feels Milan had chances to alter the course of their 2-2 draw against Genoa after missing first-half chances but believes his team are conceding too many goals in Serie A.

The Rossoneri drew 2-2 for the second match running as Davide Calabria and Pierre Kalulu each replied to goals from Mattia Destro in an exciting second half that was the antithesis of a lacklustre opening period.

Milan have conceded only 13 times in Serie A this season, tied for the fourth-best record in the league, while their four clean sheets are bettered only by three teams and just four have faced fewer shots on target.

But only one of those clean sheets has come in Milan’s past nine Serie A games, conceding two or more in four of these matches, drawing on each occasion.

Head coach Pioli acknowledged the need to tighten up at the back, telling DAZN after the game: “It’s a draw in a complicated game, on a difficult pitch.

“We could take the lead in the first half and the match would have changed tactically. We gave it our all and we took an important result.

“We conceded two goals without conceding [many chances]. In general, we are conceding too many goals. 

“It was a tough game, the pitch didn’t allow us to be precise technically; we tried to win it till the end, unluckily we didn’t make it.”

Despite another draw, Milan still lead the way at the top of the table – albeit their buffer to rivals Inter is now a meagre one point.

Games against Sassuolo and Lazio precede the mid-season break but Pioli believes little will be gleaned from those encounters about how they will fare by the end of the campaign.

“I don’t think the next two games will tell us where we can get; our target is to improve what we did last season, it would be a great result to qualify for the Champions League,” he added.

“The next two games will be important, we come from a period with many, many games. We are only at the beginning, we can’t feel tiredness until the end. We must continue like this.”

Milan, who had 13 shots to Genoa’s nine but both teams had four on target, were without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Simon Kjaer, Ismael Bennacer and Matteo Gabbia.

Pioli, whose side had almost 58 per cent of the possession, said such absences can alter the fluidity of the team.

“When you have five or six players out of action, the team changes its characteristics,” he said. 

“We didn’t have many injuries before. By the way, those who played did well.”

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