Stefano Pioli explains the ‘secret’ to Milan’s success after they beat Benevento despite being down to 10 men and insists the Juventus clash ‘won’t be decisive.’
“Once again, after going down to 10 men, we showed heart, intensity, passion and belief. It’s another very big victory,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia.
They needed the win to stay top of the table, as Inter had beaten Crotone 6-2 earlier this afternoon.
“We don’t let the results of our opponents put pressure on us. We put pressure on ourselves by demanding the best. There were a few errors, but we showed such unity to bring the result home.
“Every result is important to boost the self-belief. I hugged Sandro in the locker room, he was sad about leaving the team down to 10 men. The issue with VAR is that things look much worse when slowed down compared to the dynamics of the movement, but Sandro will learn from this.
“The penalty we conceded against Lazio too was quite similar. There is contact, but that doesn’t mean it’s enough for a foul. Anyway, we’re not complaining, Sandro will learn from this and mature. He lost the ball and tried to make up for it, so he should’ve done better.”
Milan take on Juventus on Wednesday evening, with Inter lying in wait to take advantage.
“I think it’ll be a great game between two teams in excellent shape. I continue to say Juventus, Inter and Napoli are the strongest sides in Serie A, we just have to keep going along our path. It’s not decisive or the passing on of any baton. Juve won the last nine titles and aren’t far behind us at the moment,” continued Pioli.
“I continue to maintain we can talk about other things when we look at the table in April and if we are still in this position. Our strength has been to take it one game at a time, so we don’t want to change that attitude.
“We are missing some important players, Tonali will be suspended, so it’s going to be tough against Juventus. Whatever happens, it won’t be decisive.”
Milan remain unbeaten this season, but have also shown a remarkable ability to keep going, pushing through adversity to snatch late winners.
“We win games because we have quality, but also because we match it with intensity. There are some who are more talented and have now learned they can raise the intensity level to make it even more effective. They all pitch in and help the team, that is our secret.”
Leao scored a sensational goal this evening, bending the ball into the empty net from a difficult angle.
“What we keep telling Rafa is that he lights up when he’s on the ball, but he needs to focus more on his movement to get away from his marker first. If he does that, he can get into even better positions and therefore do what he can do on the ball.
“Rafa is quick, he has great technique, so if he has the right timing for his runs, he can score many more goals. When I talk about intensity, I don’t just mean physically, but also mentally, always being in the game and focused.”