Milan coach Stefano Pioli admits the Serie A title race is over as Inter have had a ‘fantastic’ season, but warns Lazio after their 4-0 win from last season: ‘Some things remain inside.’

Pioli spoke at a press conference on the eve of an away Serie A game at Lazio. The Bianconcelesti will meet Bayern Munich in the second leg of the Champions League Round of 16 next week, so they’ll be allowed to play on Friday.

Milan are 16 points below Inter and Pioli feels the title race is over.

“I think so. Inter are having a fantastic season and they’ve had a tough fixture list too. They’ve won all the games convincingly. I think it’s over,” he said as quoted by Milannews.

Napoli had incredible numbers last season and Inter are doing the same. They’ve only lost once.”

The Nerazzurri could mathematically win the title in a derby della Madonnina in April, but Pioli seemed uninterested.

“You are phenomenons for burning energy for things that are far away,” he said.

“There’s time before April 21 and we must only focus on tomorrow’s match. We’ll make assessments at the break.”

Why did Milan fail to beat Atalanta last week?

“We analysed the positive things and those that didn’t allow us to win,” said Pioli.

“We didn’t win because we couldn’t score an extra goal despite having the possibility.”

How many points do the Rossoneri need to qualify for the 2024-25 Champions League?

“Allegri is good at these things,” Pioli replied.

“I think he said 70 points are needed, so we still have a long way to go.

“We only think about Lazio. We do not need to rest somebody before Thursday’s game,” continued the Rossoneri boss.

“There is still time. We have recovered many players. We’ll have a packed fixture list and we’ll need everyone.”

Pioli was asked what he feels when he is criticised on social media with the hashtag #Pioliout.

“I am not on social media, but there will always be criticism,” he argued.

“We have important targets and I am focused on these things. I am happy and proud to coach here. I think we are doing an excellent work.”

Pioli insisted that referees have not targeted the Rossoneri despite the many red cards received this season, more than any other Serie A club.

“No, the referees are doing their best. There isn’t bad faith towards us. Sometimes, we are lucky, and sometimes we aren’t.”

Speaking about Milan’s next opponent, Lazio, Pioli said: “We must improve our numbers away. We always try to dominate possession and we’ll try to do the same tomorrow against a quality opponent.

“Both teams will try to keep possession with different principles. We have the quality to make them run and create a numerical advantage in some areas of the pitch. We’ll face a strong midfield and duels in that part of the pitch will be crucial.”

The Biancocelesti beat Milan 4-0 in their latest meeting at the Stadio Olimpico last season. “You don’t need to remember these things, they remain inside,” said the Rossoneri boss.

Pioli has recently been praised by Italy coach Luciano Spalletti and was supposed to meet the CT at Milanello over the last few days.

“It’s always nice to receive praise from other caches. We spoke a couple of weeks ago about the training schedule, but in the end, he couldn’t come. He deserves to be the national team coach.”

Pioli also explained why Tijjani Reijnders didn’t play against Atalanta: “He is a great player, but I picked Adli against Atalanta because of his defensive positioning. Reijnders didn’t train yesterday because his son was born so congratulations.”

Lastly, Pioli opened up about Rafael Leao’s developments on and off the pitch: “His growth has been exponential regarding work and relationship with the team. 18 or 19-year-old players are required to mature quickly, but everyone follows his own pathway.”

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