Stefano Pioli spoke to Sky Sport about Milan’s next season: “I want a happy team. We believe we have embarked on a path of quality players, to be even more offensive and dominant. The 4-3-3 can be a change”. On Maldini and Massara: “The club has decided to turn the page, but history is not forgotten. Leao can become even stronger. Ibra is irreplaceable, but Maignan is a leader”
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A happy Milan. Coach and players, this is the adjective you would like to associate with the Rossoneri 2023-24 Stefano Pioli. In the interview with Sky Sport, the AC Milan coach touched on many topics. From the role of leader of Ibra to the singles, from the new shots that redefine the midfield to the farewell of Maldini and Massara. Up to the theme of the Scudetto and the Champions League.
“I want a happy Milan”
What adjective would you like to associate with Milan 2023-24?
“A happy Milan. I have one goal, and I’ve told everyone: to be happy and train happy players. Happy to play together and to play a certain type of football. And to wear such a prestigious shirt. There is enthusiasm and emotion, as is normal at the beginning of the season. We are Milan and 2023-24 will have to be important. We are approaching the year with some changes, but I see everyone motivated.”
The emotions of the Scudetto and the Champions League dream…
“Winning a Scudetto is very difficult and very beautiful, it gives you an idea of the work you’ve done during the year. Winning the Champions League would be something exceptional, but you also need a little luck. I think there are more merits to winning a championship, and that many other situations are also needed for the Champions League.”
“Ibra capobranco, Maignan leader”. And about Leao…
What will Milan be like without Ibra and who are today’s leaders?
“Ibra was the pack leader of this team. And there is no one who can take his place. If I had to name a player who is a leader, then that is Mike Maignan. He has a mentality, a determination and an obsession with being the best that can be contagious. He is a point of reference.”
What do you expect from Leao?
“Despite what he’s demonstrating, on the pitch and in attitudes, I expect further growth from him. He still has room for improvement, even though he’s already at a very high level.”
The new purchases
“Loftus-Cheek he is a strong player. He combines physicality and quality, he likes to fit in. I would like to see him continuously in the opposing area. Based on the characteristics, we will try to develop a proactive game with more offensive players, able to find the winning play, which, perhaps, we have lacked in the past in some tactically complicated matches”.
“Reinders he’s equally a quality player, he moves well, he’s intelligent, he knows how to give the right solutions to his partner in possession. He can also be dangerous in the offensive zone. He has conclusion and verticalization. He knows how to tie the game, send goals and also has goals in his legs.
“Pulisic And player. And when I say that, I mean he’s someone who knows how to do the right thing at the right time. And when you have someone like him at your disposal, things get easier. He can play in various roles. He definitely he’s smart and jump man, whether it’s one-on-one, give-and-go or put-ins. He is level and is different from his teammates. He still believes that different characteristics, in a well-defined game system, can give an extra unpredictability to the team.”
“We want to be more offensive and dominant”
What midfield is taking shape in the transfer market?
“In the midfield department we were looking for new names, new positions and new characteristics. The arrival of Loftus-Cheek and Reijnders complete it. We believe we have embarked on a path of quality players, better ball management and attacking situations. All this to be an even more offensive and dominant team. In the attacking midfield, I would like players capable of making the right choices at the right time, something that wasn’t always successful.”
“Maldini? History is not forgotten”
Milan restarted without Maldini and Massara
“The club has decided to turn the page, but history is not forgotten. We know what we have done together, we know the path that has brought us to certain levels. All the people who have worked with us have made a contribution. They have been very present, positive and important. Clearly now another situation has arisen, there are different people, I see in them great enthusiasm and the will to do things well. We all want to do the best possible job every day”.
What is the connection with the fans?
“When we had difficult moments, they proved to be a unique, special and fantastic fan base. There was a moment when it was difficult to stand by our side, but they did it, with passion and incredible confidence.”
How Milan will play
Could the 4-3-3 be a change towards next season?
“The 4-3-3 can be a change, yes, but a lot will depend on the knowledge we have on the pitch, or if other players arrive. We will also use other systems, but we’re already used to changing within the same match. It will take a great deal of spirit and time, given that new players are arriving, in any case already mature. They know how to stay on the pitch and relate to the rest of the team, which has had a solid base for many years. They are smart guys, they want to learn, from the language to the pitch, and they join a cohesive group. I have positive sensations.”
Pioli changes: towards a 4-3-3 with Reijnders as director
With the departure of Tonali and the arrivals of Loftus Cheek, Reijnders and Pulisic, Pioli’s Milan begins to change its skin and also its tactical form. We will move mainly to a 4-3-3 with Pulisic in the role of right winger and two new players out of three in the middle (accomplice to Bennacer’s injury) CALCIOMERCATO, NEWS AND LIVE NEGOTIATIONS
PIOLI ‘ANNOUNCES’ NEW TACTICS
“The tactic can undergo changes: I feel like the architect of a house with a solid structure that gives guarantees, but some areas of the house need to be refurbished”. Already in the first press conference of the season, Stefano Pioli had announced some possible changes and these should mainly concern the formation: the Rossoneri coach, in fact, intends to switch from 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3
BENNACER IS A LUNGO
To put the change of formation into practice, a key figure will become even more that of the midfield director: in the AC Milan squad the role would fall to Bennacer, but the Algerian – operated on last May after the cartilage injury to his right knee – will be out for several months and will not be seen again on the pitch before 2024
REIJNDERS AL SUO POSTO
With Bennacer out of action for several months, a reinforcement is needed for the midfield. And from the transfer market, after Loftus-Cheek, Tijjani Reijnders from AZ has arrived. This is how Pioli’s 4-3-3 would currently look like