Stefano Pioli admits it ‘hurts’ for Milan to suffer their first Serie A defeat of the season, but he believes they will learn and grow after the lessons of this 4-3 loss at Fiorentina.

This 4-3 result was the first league loss for the Rossoneri, who had been unbeaten domestically since a 3-0 defeat at Lazio in April.

There were howlers from both sides, starting with Ciprian Tatarusanu fumbling an easy cross, concluding with a Lorenzo Venuti own goal.

“It was a very unusual match. We played well in the first half and shouldn’t have been 2-0 down, but this is football, we didn’t score our chances and were made to pay for errors,” Pioli told Sky Sport Italia.

Serie A | Fiorentina 4-3 Milan: Rossoneri unbeaten record over

“The second half performance was more of character, trying to avoid defeat and get it back on track, but if you concede four goals, it is inevitably more likely you will lose. And we lost.

“The incidents took us to this defeat, because they scored four goals with five attempts. We should’ve been more focused and scored more of our chances. There was a gap to get back into it, but we weren’t sharp enough to bring home the positive result.”

Pioli had to do without 11 players in Florence, including Fikayo Tomori, Davide Calabria, Ante Rebic and Alessio Romagnoli, but the coach insisted they must try to get the positives from the Stadio Franchi and use the negatives to grow.

“In my view, we should feel the pain of this defeat and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Even in this defeat, I believe this team is very strong and we will learn from these lessons going into the future.

“Losing hurts, conceding four goals hurts, but we proved that the game was open until the very end. If we hadn’t conceded that fourth goal, we could’ve got it back on track.

“As a coach, I can say we did everything we had planned in the first half other than finishing the chances. We created many opportunities, at least double Fiorentina’s over the course of the game, but we won matches before because we had that little bit extra of concentration and determination. This is what we lacked today.

“The fact we lost here will give us more fire to grow in the next game. We have done so well to not taste defeat in Serie A this season, but this team has strength, character and what it takes to be in the top spots.”

Pioli was asked why in his substitutions he did not remove Matteo Gabbia, who had struggled throughout when dealing with the Fiorentina forwards.

“I didn’t replace Gabbia because Kalulu would’ve struggled in a centre-left role. With two strikers, Florenzi is better at passing and could move Messias tighter to create the space between the lines.”

Milan are going into a potentially decisive Champions League trip to Atletico Madrid on Tuesday evening, with only one point under their belt so far in the competition.

“I already spoke to the lads after the game, they know the messages we must take from this defeat and from tomorrow we begin focusing on the Champions League. I don’t know what chances we have of qualifying, but we want to honour the competition.”

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