"If playing friendlies against important teams helped? Yes, they taught us a lot. To play certain matches, you need to stay focused. Tomorrow we face a great team."
"We are doing well, we want to find the right continuity to do well in the league and in the Champions League. We need to focus only on tomorrow. We have always lived with balance between negative and positive moments. The derby was not the end of our journey, but a new beginning to start from. Now we are not perfect, we are not flawless, but we can put our best performance on the field tomorrow."
Pioli, how does Rafael Leao's behaviour frustrate you?
"If someone makes a wrong pass, it doesn't mean they took the game lightly. Obviously, someone like Rafa should make as few mistakes as possible."
Is the depth of the squad a quality?
"I hope so. We are only at the beginning, there will be many more matches and difficulties to overcome. I am convinced of the quality of my players, but we have to keep moving forward. After the break, a new season started, to stay at the top, we need to be strong in every aspect. Now we only think about tomorrow."
Is there a percentage that represents your Milan now? Pioli said:
"In my opinion, there are different situations in the game where we are at a good level, others where we can still improve a lot. But it's normal: we've had a lot of changes. But I've insisted with the players: only tomorrow's game matters. Playing so much helps positively in putting the previous game behind and immediately thinking about the next one."
Is returning to the top motivating?
"The top spot doesn't matter now, only the desire to do well matters. There are no easy games, but there are no impossible ones either. I am happy with what I've seen in these two days."
Where had you hidden Adli? When did you decide to put him in front of the defense?
"He had great patience and also great mental strength since he played little. As a midfielder, we were looking for players with different characteristics, so I told him that the role of defensive midfielder alongside Krunic remained for him. He needed time to understand a new position and new constructions both in possession and non-possession phases: you play in one way as a trequartista, in another as a defensive midfielder. We know he can't be perfect in that position yet, but with his availability, we can do an excellent job. The fact that he is convinced he can find space is great for someone playing at this level."
Will there be rotation in defense as well? Pioli answered:
"We didn't need Kalulu's injury. I have three central defenders because Pellegrino still needs a bit more time. I will evaluate game by game among the three central defenders I have."
Is Fikayo Tomori indispensable for Milan?
"I hope Milan is not indispensable to anyone. We don't want to become slaves to anyone. The club was smart to bring in many strong players, and our principles don't change depending on who plays."
Do you need to improve in managing games?
"We want to control the games, but this doesn't mean slowing down the pace. We had a serious slip-up in Cagliari, conceding a goal from a throw-in. Okay, we want to manage, but we must continue to be dangerous."
Where can Yunus Musah play?
"Musah can play in all three positions. He has different characteristics from Krunic and Adli, and he has qualities of insertion when he plays further forward. He has qualities that we will need a lot; he is a complete player, and wherever I use him, he will be important for the team."
What kind of Lazio is coming to San Siro tomorrow?
"Lazio has been playing together for years with an excellent coach and has recognizable styles of play, with great speed and quality. Regardless of their current form, they are a strong team."
How do you see Samuel Chukwueze?
"He knows well what he has to do, and he did it in Cagliari. We also expect goals from someone like him, but he is growing."
Pioli, was there too much criticism after the derby?
"When the calendar came out, I didn't look too far ahead. I thought about preparing every single match. It's useless to talk about the criticisms: we are Milan, we want to win and be competitive. The club is following a wonderful path, already capable of winning and to put the accounts right. Everyone is working very well. We are Milan, the praise and criticism are high. It's part of our job."
On Reijnders and if he can play in front of the defence:
"Yes, he can do that as well, but I believe his position and Loftus's position are giving us a lot at the moment. I really like Tijjani when he moves around the field: fixing him in a more defensive position, in my opinion, would limit him."
When will Bennacer return?
"Bennacer will be back in mid-October to do some more specific work, but there are no specific timelines. The timeline is still quite long."
How do you see Milan and Inter?
"At the end of May, we will know who has been the best. There are four teams fighting for the title, with Juventus being the favorite because not playing in the cups gives you extra points."
Can you switch to 4-2-3-1?
"I am considering it because Pulisic is in good shape and in midfield, we have 5 players for 6 positions. Plus, I like Loftus-Cheek as a central midfielder; these are things that need a bit of testing. At the moment, we are working on other solutions, but 4-2-3-1 during the game is an option."
Can Noah Okafor be Olivier Giroud's deputy?
"I knew him as a winger, but I wanted to test him as a central striker. He was very cooperative. I'm pleased with what he did in Cagliari. Obviously, he has different characteristics from Giroud, as well as from Jovic. We may also play with two strikers in some matches."
Pioli, what do you fear about Lazio?
"They will be aggressive, but they won't go man-to-man. They know how to close down spaces well. We'll have to pass the ball well and avoid their pressure. They want to keep possession; it's a complete team to face with caution."
Is it already a direct clash?
"It's early, but it's an important clash. It would be crucial to maintain continuity in results and performances."