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Pioli: “Leao must take another leap to become a champion”

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Pioli: “Leao must take another leap to become a champion”

The Rossoneri coach also spoke to Sky Calcio Club about Giroud and Theo: “Better to have them back immediately or see them go on to the World Cup? It’s easier to train satisfied players”

“I gave all the internationals a rule, that of calling me at the end of the matches to tell me how they are…”. A guest at “Sky Calcio Club”, Stefano Pioli talks about Milan ready to restart work in view of the resumption of Serie A in January, without forgetting the World Cup underway in Qatar.


Rafael Leao, who is playing with Portugal, is the big topic of discussion: “He’s happy because Portugal are doing well, but in the offensive department, the national team has great quality and competition. He has a technique combined with speed that few players can boast, but he had to deal with a reality like Milan, with all due respect for the Lille he came from. He still has to take the leap to become a champion, he can be more decisive in the opposing area and enter it with more determination, but he is someone who can do everything. He’s very intelligent and available, I’m sure he’ll go even further. He needs freedom of movement, but I want him to close more at the far post, I always tell him that.”


Speaking of forwards, Giroud has been doing very well for some time: “I think Olivier is going through an optimal psychophysical moment. And he’s proving to be a great player, he’s always had a lot of impact, not just in goals. He shows great generosity every day, he’s determined and he has all the important characteristics to be a leader. Would it be better for him to leave the World Cup immediately? I think it’s much easier to train satisfied players than to motivate them again. Kjaer? He didn’t come back happy, Denmark faced the World Cup for the first time with higher expectations.” .

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“Individualist” World

As for the World Cup, Pioli sees Spain well at the moment: “It’s the World Cup for individuals, this year the coaches had to prepare for the event in a week. It’s difficult for a coach to give an identity, even if I think Luis Enrique will you play the best football. There weren’t any big surprises on a technical-tactical level. They looked more at concreteness, given that each match has an important specific weight.” How will we start again, after such a long stop? “For those who had the opportunity to refuse, it was good. The players who will return are a question mark.”

Astori’s lesson

Pioli then goes back to one of the hardest moments of his life: Astori’s death: “David’s death touched me deeply. Unfortunately, I mean unfortunately, it was a situation that made me grow. After his loss I have discovered new situations that have opened my mind more. Now I am closer to the players and I protect them more”.

Maldini and the project

Returning to Milan, the Rossoneri coach is proud of the progress he has made: “I had all the support from the technical area. But even from Gazidis, he always behaved correctly: at Milanello he told us that we were all under scrutiny. the 5-0 defeat against Atalanta was the match that gave rise to the construction of Milan. We needed other types of players to make our football: new mental, physical and talented characteristics. During the lockdown we gave ten days rest for the players and then we went back to training on Zoom. At Milanello something had changed, I don’t know what. We restarted and then we did well. The comparison with Maldini and Massara gave me more strength in my work. Paolo is not there for training he is there to relate to everyone, he is a central figure. We are talking about a person with an incredible level of knowledge and DNA. He and Massara wanted to invest in players with sustainable costs for a club that wanted to follow a certain type of path. Which generally does not give immediate results, but we have been good at anticipating these times”.

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Immediate feeling also with Ibrahimovic: “Zlatan was a decisive element. He arrived in such a young group, and for the first time in a non-winning team and with players not similar to him, he understood a different reality. His mentality and his determination raised the level of the team. If Zlatan was in training, there was a certain level. But also Kjaer, Giroud, Maignan. We have four-five leading players who drive the group.”

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