AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli praised his side for their “stubbornness and determination” after two goals from Fode Ballo-Touré and Rafael Leao in injury time gave them a 3-1 victory over Empoli.
Pioli’s team took the lead through Ante Rebić with just over 10 minutes left, but a superb free-kick by Nedim Bajrami in the 92nd minute seemed to give the hosts a point.
However, 105 seconds after Milan equalized, Ballo-Ture played Rade Krunic’s shot to make it 2-1 before Leão scored three points with a delicate beating of Empoli goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario.
The Rossoneri remain within striking distance of Serie A leaders Napoli, just three points behind, and Pioli spoke of his players’ team spirit after the game.
“I’m interested in playing with stubbornness and determination, and we did that today,” he told DAZN.
“The team showed that they were well mentally prepared for the game in the first half hour, but we needed to score, but we didn’t succeed.
“I am satisfied with the performance of the team. It is clear that we have to score a few more goals, and we lost something to a team that plays well, so that’s okay.
“If we could break the deadlock, it would be an even more favorable situation. At one point it was 76 minutes and it seemed unbelievable to me that we were still 0-0.”
— Milan (@acmilan) October 1, 2022
However, the victory came at a price: Davide Calabria, Simon Kjaer and Alexis Salemakers were injured.
And Pioli acknowledged how the absence has affected his team, adding: “Obviously, injuries have pulled us apart a bit.
“I have a group of players who want to test themselves commendably, so we must continue with injuries too.
“Today, unfortunately, we had two muscle injuries, one due to the absence of the national team, and the other was unhealthy.”