AC Milan Women coach Maurizio Ganz spoke at his pre–match press conference today ahead of the Coppa Italia final tomorrow against AS Roma and discussed several topics, including the presence of AC Milan directors Maldini, Massara and Ivan Gazidis at the Mapei Stadium, how he prepares for this important game and more.
Here are his words:
On the presence of Maldini, Massara, Gazidis and Pioli tomorrow at the Mapei Stadium:
“It is an important event for everyone, the family in the Milan world is fundamental. The club has been close to us all year, I am pleased that Pioli is there to see it, it is a sign that the Milan family is complete”.
On AC Milan’s season so far:
“At the beginning of the year we were hoping to make a great Serie A, last year we arrived second and not third. We got a well-deserved Champions League qualification; this final is a trophy to take it home. Whoever wins tomorrow will take home the first trophy in their history, we will try 100%.”
On how he prepares the squad for the game:
“We prepared the game like every other, it’s a single game and there are no rematches. The calmness of having arrived here in a good shape makes us think of approaching it in a good way. We are aware that we have a great opportunity, now we have to do the last preparation and tomorrow give our best as my warriors have done throughout the Serie A”.
On the propable line-up:
“First of all, making to the Champions was an exceptional achievement, at the beginning of the season we were only talking about Rome and Fiorentina. You must give credits to my player’s performance in the league. Little talk and a lot of sweat. Tomorrow will be a single game, at Sassuolo I chose Grimshaw for a type of game, tomorrow we will need to score goals and there will be the two strikers up front, Dowie and Giacinti”.
On having public attendance:
“There’s a lot of emotion. It is the first final of ours and of Rome. We got past Inter and Sassuolo, we deserved to be in final. There will be many Rossoneri fans, we are glad that they can come and see us live and we know that many will watch us on tv. We have a responsibility to give everything, we are pleased to be able to embrace the fans again and it will be a further emotion”.
On what is important:
“Head, legs and heart. The heart I always puts him on the field. We’ll see between the two teams who’s less tired. What counts is to get on the pitch and give everything you’ve got. It was massive to have had the full squad in the last month, it has helped us to prepare the game better”.
On whether he’ll have a little shut eye tonight:
“I won’t sleep like I haven’t slept in the last two championships, I sleep little on the eve of the matches. A lot of thoughts rush into my mind, if i’ve done everything, if i’ve worked on all the possible details. I’m as hyped as the players are. I also would like to thank Bavagnoli and Guarino, who complimented our qualification in the Champions League, in football nowadays, those gestures must be recognized”.
On the gap with four-times champions Juventus:
“We had a season with our heads and hearts, aware that we have started a path that improves every year. Until the face-off in Turin we dreamed of something great, now we have our heads tomorrow night. From Monday the transfer window will open and we want to strengthen ourselves to reduce the gap. We need to improve on the three draws and three defeats this year, Juventus have won 22 out of 22”.
On AS Roma’s coach Betty Bavagnoli and her best players:
“Betty sent me a very nice and unexpected message, an act of class. She complimented us on the Champions League qualification. Rome is growing, this year we have met them twice in the league. They have improved a lot, the purchase of Linari has been important. They have a captain, Bartoli, with great experience and intelligence. They have Lazaro, who did very well, and they have Giugliano who is a fantastic player. They have a very good game, they don’t skimp on the attack. We should be good at playing the perfect game, we also have important options up front. It will be a balanced match, we deserved to get to the Coppa Italia final”.
On how he dealt with the difficulties this season:
“The biggest worries were in the two consecutive defeats to Inter and Juve. That was the turning point when we recovered and got back on track. There are good and bad times, but 16 wins, 3 draws and 3 defeats means it went pretty well for us. From those two defeats we started over”.
On how to keep Roma at bay:
“Last year we were the second-best attack and the second-best defense in the league, this year, the same. We were the second-best defense. In Serie A you have to have a rock-solid defense and an attack that has to work. The secret was this, to score a lot of goals and suffer a few”.
On how he sees this game:
“It’s an icing on the cake for both teams, but, for us, finishing the season with Champions League spot and Cup title would be great. Tomorrow we’ll take the field and do everything we can to take it home. It will be a game to live on the 120 minutes, it will the most important match to date”.
On AC Milan’s numbers against Roma:
“I would not take in consideration the previous seasons; I would base my take on this season. We met Roma twice, a victory and a draw. It will be a balanced match in which all the details will have to be taken. An open game, we will have to play it with desire and determination. The details will make a difference, such as the right changes and penalty takes in case we get at this point”.
On how the players must approach this game:
“This last month has been special, we have had difficult games. Roma and Milan have had the same outcomes lately, with 3 draws and 1 defeat in their last 4 games. There will be pressure, enthusiasm, the feeling of re-seeing the fans, a different environment than what we have seen this year. The goal is to make a great match and do everything possible to take home the victory”.
On AC Milan’s environment:
“I found an incredible environment, our warriors from day one do not skimp on fatigue. They always give everything; we don’t have a hard time training them. They do all the things we propose, they’re aware that they have to sacrifice themselves and give everything for these colors. I am surprised every time because they have desire, they feel it’s their time, I’m surprised and I’m glad we got here because they deserve everything that happened this year”.
On what takes to get to the top level in the Champions League:
“Lyon have won 5 times in a row, this year Barcelona were the winners. It’s a case of investment, the budget is important. Milan have been around for 3 years, it takes patience, courage, the knowledge that we have to take one step at a time and that’s fine. We will have an important path compared to the others, this year there will be a group of 4 with only one winner, then there will be another important step against other teams. It’s like two Champions Leagues and then they get to the third Champions League. We are proud to have qualified.”
On how to manage Roma’s impetus during the game:
“We will have to start in the right way and make Roma understand that we will be there to play as well. In a game there will be positive moments also from our side, we have experienced players who will be able to manage all the moments. It’s a management on the 90, 120 or even the penalty shootout. We must not make any mistakes, even in details.”
On how he is personally feeling about this game:
“I’ve had a lot of important games in my career, but a Coppa Italia final as a coach is different. I’m more agitated than my players, I feel like this. When I don’t hear them like that, it means I must stop coaching. The pressure is there, but it doesn’t matter. The important thing is to be able to sleep well tomorrow night”.
On how a victory would affect the team’s self-esteem:
“It would be very important, I do not say fundamental, but we know that it would be a historic achievement. Some players have already won it, others have made to important finals. I think it’s the right time, i tell my warriors it’s up to us to get it. It will depend on us knowing that there will be a fierce Roma that will want to do the same. Tomorrow there will be fun, I think we are also important for the women’s movement”.
Image credits: acmilan.com