Pioli: ‘Empoli tougher than Chelsea for Milan’

Milan coach Stefano Pioli outlines how they can keep improving and learn from the defeat to Napoli, warning ‘Empoli will be more difficult’ than facing Chelsea in the Champions League.

The Rossoneri had a decent start to the season, but suffered their first defeat in 22 Serie A rounds following the 2-1 home loss to Napoli.

“We are trying to improve our level even more after last season, but Serie A is a well-balanced league and everyone has levelled up with reinforcements, so we want to stay in the group fighting for the title to the end,” said Pioli during the Torneo Nereo Rocco event.

“Our performance against Napoli was of a high level, but the fact we didn’t pick up points means we can and must do better in some situations.”

There are reports that the new Milan owners will fly in soon from America to discuss a contract extension with their coach, who won the Scudetto last season.

“I do feel at home at Milan, and when you feel at home, you don’t want to even consider other options. We have many things still to do, but I am absolutely not worried about my contract or my future.

“Milan’s objective is to be competitive and to win silverware. We want to continue improving, as we remain a young side, but have the confidence that can allow us to aim for the top.”

It has been said that the Rossoneri have the most European style of football of all the Serie A clubs, but Pioli doesn’t particularly ascribe to that theory.

“I don’t think there’s that much difference between playing well in Italy and in Europe. The Champions League does require a higher tempo, but nothing impossible.

“I understand there are expectations around the Chelsea games, but I maintain the most difficult match for us will certainly be against Empoli. When we go into that fixture, I’ll have welcomed the players back from international duty only two days earlier.

“I trust that if we play at our usual levels, then results against Chelsea are certainly within our reach.”

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