AC Milan is set to face Juventus this Sunday in a crucial league fixture that would make the fates of the two teams involved clearer about the qualification to the next edition of the Champions League competition.
The Rossoneri’s coach, Stefano Pioli, spoke to the media ahead of the game during the press conference, and he had this to say:
“For tomorrow evening the whole path we have covered will be useful. All the positive things, all the past difficulties. Playing as a mature team and understanding how to interpret the match will be fundamental characteristics for tomorrow.”
Juventus-Milan, is it the most stimulating game in your career so far?
“It’s the most stimulating and fascinating game, that is what I think. Dreams are only beautiful if they come true. We prepared it with our usual strategy, like all games. We prepared in the best way we can.”
Will the game determine who’s in the Champions League and who’s out?
“Whoever wins has a great chance to go to the Champions League competition. We will also have a direct clash with Atalanta and this makes us masters of our destiny. This is the calendar that we have. Winning against Juventus would be extraordinary for us. They make a strong team, but we must show our qualities.”
On Zlatan Ibrahimovic:
“His importance is clear. We are the team that pulls the most from outside the area but scores the least. We will have to make better use of our opportunities and be more compact in the game. It is then clear that Ibrahimovic will be able to give us a great hand.”
Leao, Rebic, or Brahim Diaz, who will play on the left wing?
“Ibrahimovic will not be alone in the offensive maneuver. You don’t need many strikers to be offensive. The choice will depend on the characteristics of the players who will take the field. The important thing is that the players worry about the opposing defense.”
“I talked with him and all of the team. We talked about tomorrow’s match. We talked about tomorrow’s strategy and plan. Gigio’s meeting with the fans? Right now, all Milan players have one goal in mind which is Milan’s interest and not personal goals. I don’t doubt my players’ professional levels. We must focus on the league.”
Milan never won against Juventus in their stadium…
“We believe in ourselves. We know that we face an opponent with great quality and strong players but we believe in our abilities. Milan want to beat these taboos and we can achieve an important performance with intensity and quality.”
Does Milan have enough gas left in the tank for the remainder of the season?
“Yes, of course. The mentality is what matters. We have the energy and motivation to complete this season well. We started with a goal and it is clear that the first round was exciting and then we had a drop, some injuries happened and here we are. Tomorrow’s performance is what matters, we must do well.”
On Juventus’ strengths:
“We always keep in mind the qualities of the opponents. We will have to limit their qualities and be great when we have possession of the ball. Juventus have great players and we will have to try to cover the mistakes of our team mates. Less defensive duels we will have, the better it will be.”
On the previous match against Benevento:
“In certain situations it does not depend on the opponent but on us, if you want to make an effective kick you have to move the ball quickly. Tomorrow we have to manage the game well, try to be unpredictable, I like players who do not give points of reference, and in a well-placed defense, if we move a lot we can have some more solutions.”
A win against Juventus would put them in difficulty for the race of the Champions League entry…
“I don’t know if it will be a decisive game, but it is for the time being. With a positive result, we’d have more confidence in ourselves.”
On having all of the squad available for the fixture against Juventus:
“It is very important to the initial strategy and to the repair plans. Having them all available is very positive.”
Does it pressure you that Milan never gained a point at Juve’s stadium?
“There is pressure on both teams. We have the right attitude to play these kind of games.”
Will you need the same spirit of your team that you saw against Rio Ave in Europa League qualifiers?
“Yes, it will have to be, because that evening there we wanted at all costs to get the goal and tomorrow night could be the turning point.”