Milan’s unwavering stance was key to victory as a late Sandro Tonali goal gave the defending champions a 2-1 away victory over Hellas Verona in Serie A.
That’s the opinion of head coach Stefano Pioli, whose team took the lead within nine minutes when Miguel Veloso scored a cross from Rafael Leão in his own net, but soon after Verona equalized when Koray Günther saved a shot from Matteo Gabbia.
As time drew to a close, it looked like Milan would only take one point from the field until Tonali took the ball home to give Pioli’s team their fourth straight league win with eight minutes remaining.
Milan have climbed to third in Serie A, only three points behind first-place leaders Napoli as they look to clinch a second league title in a row.
“[It was a] difficult game, we started well,” Pioli said.
“Then we made too many mistakes, missed too many chances. But, as usual, the team managed to endure, and our qualities allowed us to win the game.
When asked how positive he feels about his team ahead of a busy period of matches, Pioli replied: “For the first time we managed to win three games in a row in this championship.
“We are growing, maybe I could change something else at the beginning, but we know how important this stage of the season is, and starting with a win is the best way to meet this period.
“They made some mistakes with the pressure, we made some mistakes.
“But winning these difficult games means that we grow mentally and consciously, and that we never give up. This is a quality that I have in my team, and it knows how to express itself in important moments.
1 – AC Milan are the only team not to have lost an away match in the big five European leagues in calendar year 2022 (with the exception of current promoted teams). Conquest.#VeronaMilan pic.twitter.com/DxMIir798B
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) October 16, 2022
Sunday’s victory followed a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea midweek in the Champions League and Pioli admitted his team may have struggled with fatigue despite beating Verona.
“I know we can play better,” Pioli added. But the boys know it too.
“Character growth is important and allows us to overcome such difficult obstacles.
“We hope that we will be able to restore strength and even some of the players, we are in for an important competitive period. I’m not saying that they will be decisive for the whole season, but we are close.”