AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli believes that the ‘cycle has just begun’ for his players after their Scudetto win last season, with the team now ‘more prepared’.
Milan certainly upset the apple cart a bit last season as they ended their 11-year Scudetto drought when not many fans and pundits thought they had the quality or the squad depth to finish above their city rivals Inter.
Ultimately a run of six wins to end the season – and also a stretch of nine clean sheets in the last 11 league games – was enough to take advantage of Inter’s slip, take top spot and hang onto it. A 3-0 win away against Sassuolo on the final day of the season was the perfect ending to a very memorable campaign.
Pioli gave a long interview to DAZN during which he talked about a number of topics including the Scudetto winning campaign, the summer that he has had and the upcoming season, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.
On his summer: “It was a beautiful summer with my family and friends. I saw many guys in the Milan shirt asking me for a photo. It was all really beautiful and exciting. This enthusiasm made me happy, we involved all the Rossoneri people who needed to experience a moment like this.”
On Milanello: “It’s a fantastic environment, it’s ideal to work because there is everything. And it’s also a beautiful place to see.”
On the new season: “It is unique and particular. We will play many games between now and November. It will be an intense season, it will be necessary to prepare well. The first three months will have a great impact on the rest of the season. We have to work at our best.”
On the decisive moment: “I would say the return derby. We managed to overturn the deficit and it was important not only for the table, but also because it gave us a great injection of confidence. From then on we had a very high level second half of the season.”
On the team: “We have to expect the best from everyone, including me. You play on Sunday like how you train during the week and you have to train during the week for how you want to play on Sunday. We have very clear playing principles, our game is very based on intensity. Intensity, rhythm, quality and talent must never be missing in any moment of training. I don’t think we were the best, but we were the best in the season finale. We deserved the Scudetto.”
On how he currently feels: “I feel good. You have great enthusiasm. I like what I do and I like doing it especially here. I have always said that when I entered Milanello I immediately felt something special. I know that when I am well I can do everything that I can do.”
On the song from the fans (Pioli’s on fire): “It is beautiful. It is very exciting. It gives me great pleasure. I always struggled to hold back when I heard that chorus, I only let myself go to the last game at San Siro. It was right to celebrate with them too. if we still lacked the last step.”
On how Milan are at the moment: “That the credibility around the team has changed is evident. Despite our positive results, no one believed in us. I often repeated it to my boys. Many gave others as favorites for the Scudetto and they said about us that we lacked experience or cynicism in some matches.
“A coach must be able to give certain stimuli. Success can change people, but it hasn’t happened to us. On the contrary, we understood how important it is to prepare well, how difficult it is to win and what it serves to stay at the top. I see the boys even more ready and more prepared. I am convinced that our cycle has just begun.”
On his mother: “She keeps everything inside, but she is proud and happy with this Scudetto. It has been an engaging year for everyone. I don’t think she will come to San Siro, she is one who cannot manage to watch the last minutes of home games.”