Pioli hails Milan ‘mental strength’ and Maldini future

by | Sep 25, 2021 16:23

Stefano Pioli sees huge steps forward in ‘mental strength’ after Milan beat Spezia 2-1 away and explains what Daniel Maldini can bring to the Rossoneri.

This has always been a tricky fixture for the Diavolo and they had been pegged back after the opening Maldini goal, but Brahim Diaz came off the bench for the winner.

“It’s a great victory, because we played well, but not very well, and getting the result anyway shows mental strength,” the coach told DAZN.

“This is a young squad, but they believe in themselves, in the team and in our approach to football. We mustn’t lose our humility, but it’s only right they feel able to handle certain pressure and win any game.

“The pressure and expectations have increased around us this season, but we are showing that we can handle that.

Serie A | Spezia 1-2 Milan: Maldini and Brahim decisive

Spezia had managed to equalise through a deflected Daniele Verde effort and should’ve scored another with Giulio Maggiore’s opportunity.

“We knew that we could attack the space with the full-backs or wingers, but we didn’t break them down many times in the first half. It took a while for the spaces to open up and we largely dominated the game.

“I was worried about this game, because the pitch is not a size suited to our style of football and frankly I think it’s unfair that different stadiums in Serie A have different sizes of pitch.”

The length of the turf is standard, but the width at the Stadio Picco is 65 metres compared to the usual 68 metres.

Daniel Maldini inevitably will take the headlines, scoring on his first Serie A start, the 19-year-old creative midfielder being the third generation of his family to score in the Milan jersey after Paolo and Cesare.

“The important thing about Daniel is that he has talent. He has technique, a good vision of the game, but needs to be quicker and more intensive in shaking off his marker. Bourabia was keeping tight to him and all he needed was another couple of metres to get away from his marker and open up those spaces,” added Pioli.

“His first start was against Rio Ave a year ago playing as a False 9, so this was really his first start. He has the quality to make an impact in future and can only get better.”

Milan are struggling with injuries so far this season, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Rade Krunic, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Junior Messias, Simon Kjaer and Alessandro Florenzi are out of action, with today Olivier Giroud and Davide Calabria able to play one half.

“I cannot wait to have the full depth of the squad available, as the club did so well to give me a group with many first-team players to choose from,” added the coach.

“Once again, we were able to suffer and take home the win, which is a sign of real mental strength, because you need to have that in your locker and cannot always dominate the opponent. That means we are really maturing now.”

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