Stefano Pioli believes that team spirit will be “crucial” in view of the 2021-22 campaign and has indicated Simon Kjaer and Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the men who lead Milan by example.
Entered in 2019, with the Rossoneri collapsing to 13th place in Serie A, Pioli led his team up to 6th place at the end of the season before second place last season, the highest together since winning the Scudetto in 2010- 11.
Simon Kjaer, second among AC Milan defenders in aerial duels won (55) and first in interceptions (42) in 2020-21, was an exceptional protagonist when the Rossoneri undertook a sort of transformation under Pioli.
And after Kjaer’s heroism at Euro 2020, which involved the potentially life-saving actions he took to deal with Christian Eriksen’s relative collapse against Finland, Pioli was not surprised by the Danish’s clarity of mind.
“I already knew the value of Kjaer. He is a man of rare intelligence and sensitivity, “the coach told the newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.
“He used those qualities to save a friend. He was lucid and precise even in such a dramatic situation ».
But Pioli was not only laudatory for Kjaer, he shifted his attention to define the important role that Ibrahimovic plays for the Rossoneri.
The 39-year-old has scored 15 goals in the last Serie A season, although it is the presence of the striker off the pitch that the former Inter manager sees as a great help.
“Ibrahimovic helped me a lot, he is an example in everything he does. He expects the best of himself and others. Zlatan and Simon [Kjaer] they changed the team, not only technically, but above all in a moral sense “, added Pioli.
– Milan (@acmilan) July 21, 2021
AC Milan, who face Modena in Serie C on Saturday, are well underway with their pre-season plans as they prepare to compete in the Champions League for the first time since 2013-14.
The signings of Olivier Giroud, Fikayo Tomori and Sandro Tonali – the latter couple who made the loan agreement permanent – will only serve to further develop an already strong team, and Pioli is looking forward to the season.
“We don’t have to limit ourselves, but it will be a difficult season because there will be seven teams fighting for the top four,” said the manager.
“The group is fundamental, Italy won the European Championships because you could see the team spirit in their eyes. You don’t win with tactics, you win by putting the group in front of you “.