Stefano Pioli warns that if Milan don’t beat Inter after their 0-0 with Juventus, they will have to focus far more on securing top four than targeting the Scudetto, while the San Siro turf was behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s injury.
The Rossoneri knew they had to get a victory or fall further behind leaders Inter and be caught in second place by Napoli, but losing Ibrahimovic to a relapse of the Achilles tendon issue after 28 minutes was a real blow.
“Ibra felt pain in the Achilles tendon, he blamed the pitch, which was very hard, so we hope he can recover over the next few days.”
Olivier Giroud and Davide Calabria had the best chances, but even then Wojciech Szczesny was not severely tested.
“We had the right performance for our circumstances and the opposition, but were lacking precision in the penalty area. The state of the pitch didn’t help either, as we had some bad first touches, had to take extra touches to get it under control and that slowed us down,” Pioli told DAZN.
“We tried to be dangerous and limited Juventus to no chances. We moved Messias into a more central position, but we lacked something in the final metres. I don’t think it was a tactical issue, as we had players in the box, but got the final ball wrong.”
Milan are still smarting after the controversial 2-1 defeat to Spezia, with an error so damaging that the referee apologised in tears afterwards.
“Winning games is tough at the moment, you need that quality and fluidity, but also perhaps that light-hearted approach to the sport that we had. Admittedly, it has not been an easy week for us, because it’s one thing to accept what happened, it’s quite another to just get over it.
“Our glass is half-empty because of the Spezia result, not this one. If we’d won that, tonight’s result would’ve been very different.”
There is a break for international duty now, but in a fortnight there will be Milan against Inter in the Derby della Madonnina, not to mention a Scudetto showdown.
“We knew the games against Juventus and Inter would say a great deal about our future. If we don’t beat Inter, then our campaign will be very similar to last season, when we won at the end to go second and risked crashing out of the Champions League places,” warned Pioli.
“We have our way of playing and must realise that if we want to achieve something extraordinary again, we need to give everything. I saw many individual performances of a very high level today.”
Pioli a DAZN: “Oggi il campo ha inciso sulle nostre giocate. Ibra? Spero possa recuperare nei prossimi giorni” https://t.co/jFknzRtCaR
— MilanNews.it (@MilanNewsit) January 23, 2022