February 24, 2024

Pioli addresses injuries, Leao and Giroud reactions plus ‘bitter taste’ after Napoli draw


AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli believes that his side’s finishing let them down and stopped them from killing off the game against Napoli, leaving a ‘bitter taste’.


Napoli and Milan played out what the neutral would call a thriller at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona tonight as the home side came from 2-0 down to earn a 2-2 draw.


However, for fans of both teams it may well feel like there are more worries even after such an entertaining spectacle, with Rudi Garcia’s men starting slowly and the Rossoneri throwing away a lead they really needed to hold.


The result also means that Milan are now third in the table and three points behind leaders Inter, while they are winless in three games which includes defeats to Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.


Pioli spoke to DAZN after the game to try and assess what was a chaotic night in Naples, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.


A game of two halves…


“If we had lost this match too we would have had to talk about an unfortunate moment. The mistake was conceding the first goal, we let the opponent back into the match.


“For what we created today, two goals are too few. It’s a shame because the performance was there. Coming out with only one point is a disappointment.”


Leao are Giroud didn’t react well to being subbed off…


“I saw that we needed fresh energy and it was the third match of the week: I brought in two players who then did well. Leao asks for explanations, as he should, and I will give them to him.”


How disappointing is a draw?


“The bitter taste remains. When you go into a two-goal advantage you have to bring the game home. We shouldn’t have conceded that situation there. But we didn’t stop playing in the second half and we had our opportunities, as Napoli did.”


Leao took up a different position in the second half…


“When Oli gave the right time to press, Rafa or Cristian had to close in on the second central defender from the other side. We had a defensive phase with compactness and aggression, giving the right amount to a team with a lot of quality.”


Milan are struggling to finish chances…


“I hope it’s just a temporary matter. Sometimes you shoot badly and you score goals. What matters is creating so much and playing such a proactive game. We managed to build better from the back. We must continue to grow and improve to be competitive in the league and Champions League”


What are the objectives for this team?


“The destiny of a coach is always in the hands of a club and it is normal that we have the ambition to win. It is right that we think so. We know that there are three or four other teams that can win it.


“I have learned not to think too much about what happened yesterday or even look ahead, continuing to work day by day.


“Winning the scudetto would be extraordinary but not because we aren’t at the level of the big teams. To win you need discipline and quality.”


There were more injury problems…


“This is the sore point. Kalulu shouldn’t have played if Kjaer was well: it’s not clear if it was a contusion or if he suffered damage to the quadriceps.


“Pulisic strained his flexor and it was useless to risk him. Pellegrino had a very bad sprained ankle and couldn’t run.”


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