Stefano Pioli expects to see a different side of Tottenham in the second leg of the Champions League knock-out clash, which Milan go into 1-0 up on aggregate.
The Rossoneri looked comfortable in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie with Spurs, going ahead after less than 10 minutes thanks to Brahim Diaz. Pioli’s side looked in control throughout the match and will have been frustrated not to add to their goal tally ahead of the second leg.
Both Milan and Tottenham dropped points on the weekend – to Fiorentina and Wolves respectively – so both sides will be hungry for a strong response in their European encounter.
Speaking to Milan TV, Pioli first discussed how Milan have prepared for their Champions League clash with Tottenham.
“I’d like to think and really believe that these are matches that prepare themselves, but it’s not like that.
“Then I believe that there will be no need to motivate the team because we all know the importance of this match, it would mean going through a round, it would mean improving on our European path so much compared to last season.
“On the fact that the team will be motivated, attentive, concentrated, I don’t have the slightest doubt. Then it’s clear that we’ve prepared for the match.
“We played against them a fortnight ago, we know our opponents. From a tactical point of view, we have done our tests where we expect feedback in the game tomorrow.”
He was asked if he expects to see a similar Tottenham side to the one that lost 1-0 in the first leg.
“Strangely for English teams that don’t change their attitude, Tottenham are a team that have different attitudes and numbers, positively, in home games compared to away games.
“We have analysed their home games very well, they can be more aggressive than they were in Milan, more intense, more energetic. They won’t be able to surprise us on this because we know them.”
The Italian coach spoke about the passionate atmosphere expected at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
“Just as we certainly gained energy from the fans in a fantastic stadium, so will they tomorrow, but our fans will also be there and they will make themselves heard.
“It depends on our attitude, our approach to the match, which will have to be strong and intense, because we expect our opponents to do that.
“We will have to be prepared to fight ball after ball, because then the matches are prepared on a strategic and tactical level, but then it’s the moments that can determine such an important result.
“You have to put something more into these moments because you make them favourable rather than the opposite.”
The Rossoneri coach touched on how he thinks the Champions League clash will go tomorrow.
“It is always difficult to predict the course of a match. In the first leg it was a balanced, hard-fought game that we deservedly won because we played in my opinion a little better than our opponents and we must aim to do the same tomorrow night.
“I believe that in the end the team that plays better will have a chance to go through and win. We have a small advantage, which is not an advantage we can manage, but we have to approach the match with great determination, will and quality.”
Finally, Pioli underlined Milan’s European ambitions this season and how far the team can go.
“We are talking about Milan, a team that are used to playing on certain stages and at certain levels, and especially in the Champions League they have always tried to excel.
“It’s clear that our path is to be important again in Europe, and tomorrow we have an opportunity.
“Difficult, but we know it’s an opportunity and it’s clear that tomorrow we will try to write something important.”