Milan’s Manager Pioli Presses for Consistency and Challenges Leao

    Stefano Pioli wants Rafael Leao to lead Milan’s resurgence as he warned his side that their Champions League qualification should not come at the cost of finishing in the top four.

    Milan’s head coach has said Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not yet ready to start games after two substitute appearances after returning from major knee surgery.

    So they can’t count on an inspiring Swedish veteran, but in 23-year-old Portuguese striker Leão they have a proven match-winner and last season’s Serie A MVP.

    In the last round, Milan lost to Fiorentina, and on Monday, Milan hosts Salernitana, and a victory will return them to the top four.

    The Rossoneri have been on the rise since they booked their spot in the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday with a win at the expense of Tottenham.

    Now Pioli wants them to book another adventure in this competition with a strong end to their internal campaign.

    “We understand that we have to focus on the league with focus and determination,” Pioli said. “To replicate the feeling we have in the Champions League, we need to finish in the top four in Serie A and we aim to achieve that.

    “We need to find the consistency that we have been missing so far. The team feels good physically, mentally and tactically. There’s still a lot we can improve on and shows like in London are helping us grow.”

    Milan drew 0-0 against Tottenham Hotspur and won 1-0 on aggregate, and they will find out their next Champions League opponent at Friday’s draw.

    “Tomorrow we have to show the best Milan because it’s an important game,” Pioli said. “As a team, we must and can improve our choices.

    “Ibra will not start against Salernitana. He is improving his fitness and will be ready to help us.

    “Leao gives us a lot and he has played well in the last few games. We must serve him better. Rafa is the player with the most freedom of movement and he has to look for places to damage the opponent’s defense.”

    Leão had 11 goals and eight assists in Serie A last season, but this time he has eight goals and six assists and has plenty of time to surpass his record in 2021-22.

    Pioli, quoted on Milan’s website, said his Serie A champions from last season should collectively regain the spark of victory at the Scudetto.

    “Compared to last season, we are doing better in Europe than in the league,” he said. “The goal is to finish in place in the Champions League and from now on every game will be decisive because there are fewer and fewer.

    “Before the quarter-finals, we have four matches to play – difficult and important – in Serie A; we can’t look beyond that.”

    Related articles


    Leave a Reply

    Share article

    Latest articles