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Name Stefano Pioli
Gender Male
Ethnic Italian
Job Italian Fotball Coach
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Club as Coach AC Milan

2018 03 10 Retrieve

[Emotional Davide Astori tribute paid by Stefano Pioli] The first thought goes to Davide, who I was fortunate enough to know over the last few months. He was special as both a person and a captain. He always found the right way and time to say things. He was generous, positive, altruistic. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend much time with him and I’ll miss him. I miss him every day I step on to that training ground. Our thoughts are with his family. I don’t know what to say to [partner] Francesca and [daughter] Vittoria, other than we will always be there for them

[Speaking about the scenes at Astori’s funeral service, Pioli drew strength from the show of solidarity from the club’s supporters] Our fans have a huge heart. I wanted to hug each and every one of them to console them and let them console us, so together we could find the strength to go on. We thank the whole football world, because such participation and solidarity is certainly down to Davide, but also means that there are still principles and values in a world that at times is described differently. Our club owners again showed their sensitivity and did everything possible to help the team. We are crying and suffering, because Davide was our reference point, but we know what to do in order to honour his memory. I usually like to motivate players by telling them: ‘Try to train and play as if it was the last time.’ I never needed to say that to Davide. He has left us so many values, that seed of passion, professionalism and sensitivity. Now it’s up to us to look after it and help that seed grow. All united, in memory of Davide

2019 11 04 Retrieve

[AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli believes his side are moving in the right direction despite suffering a sixth loss in just 11 Serie A matches this season] In my view, the team is improving. Of course, for the table and the situation, it was important to win, but the performance was there tonight. We took a few risks in order to create danger for the opponents, matching them all the way to the end, and I believe we are on the right path now. All we can do is keep improving along these lines. I saw a team that fought hard for 95 minutes. I did not see a team that was struggling, afraid or let their heads drop. We do still make a lot of mistakes, such as passing when we should keep it, and vice versa, but I saw these players looking anxious and afraid when I arrived. I don’t see that in them now

[Pioli also made a point of mentioning Rafael Leao, who he felt failed to impact the contest off the bench] I expected more from him tonight. When coming on, he was meant to give changes of pace, fresh energy, work with the team. He has a lot of potential, but he absolutely has to do more. His contribution tonight was not up to his standards

2019 11 09 Retrieve

[Stefano Pioli says Zlatan Ibrahimovic a great player but AC Milan undecided on January signing] Ibra is a great player. But the January market is far away. There will be time to make assessments

[Despite the 16-point gap to champions Juve, however, Pioli has full faith in his players and is relishing the chance to pick up a potentially season-defining result] I trust my players, even if the table says we are far away from Juventus. Matches start from 0-0, 11 players against 11. It’s a great challenge, but the big challenges also mean having a great opportunity. Talking about turning points is always difficult. It is clear that on a mental level, doing well tomorrow would mean a lot for us. It’s a difficult challenge but a great opportunity, one that we need to be ready to fight for

[Pioli is well aware of Cristiano Ronaldo’s capabilities] It is difficult to say how to stop him. He has many chances to hurt teams. We are talking about a phenomenon, a champion. Against him we must be much more careful and determined, giving him little space to work in. He is among the best players ever, alongside Lionel Messi, Pele and Diego Maradona.

2019 11 10 Retrieve

[AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli made no secret of how much he admires Ronaldo and declared he’s nearly impossible to stop at his best] It’s very hard to say how you can stop Ronaldo, because he has so many different ways in which he can hurt you: in the air, he can shoot from distance, he can dribble past players, he’s a phenomenal superstar. You need to be more careful against a player like Ronaldo, those operating close to Ronaldo need to be switched on, determined and not allow him too much space. Because he only needs an inch to be able to hurt you. He’s certainly among one of the best players of all time. His goals-per-game ratio is impressive, his ambition too is impressive

2019 11 22 Retrieve

[AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has repeated his praise of Zlatan Ibrahimovic but insists the Serie A club are not yet focusing on January signings] I have already explained what I think, he is a great champion for his technical skills and his professionalism. I end it here, our present is too important. With the team I have to think only of the field and tomorrow’s match. For judgments on the market, I will do it later, we are only in November. We are focused on the difficult and very important match of tomorrow. We have to give 200 per cent and that’s what I expect from the team

[Pioli believes Milan’s display in a 1-0 defeat to Juventus before the international break gives his side a platform from which to build on] It starts from the performance in Turin, which was against one of the best in Europe. We now play against a strong team like Napoli which is equipped for the Champions League and to win the Scudetto. Napoli are strong but we are not far behind

2019 12 09 Retrieve

[Mihajlovic makes emotional Serie A return after leukaemia diagnosis] It was a real pleasure to see him. I wanted to hug him, but he said it was better not to [due to his condition]. But it was still exciting, a nice moment. I hope he is on the way to full recovery now. Having that moment together touched me, it really did

[Krzysztof Piatek wore an expression of relief after he ended a goal drought that stretched back almost two months] He was a fundamental point of reference for us today. He won many duels and made an important impact for the team. We predicted Bologna would press high up the pitch, so we thought we’d have to play direct and he held the play up very well. He too will come out of this with more confidence

[Despite there being more negatives than positives about the defender’s display, Pioli was mostly pleased] Especially in the offensive phase, Theo is very strong. He has great timing of his forward runs, is strong physically and has a great left foot. He is the sort of player that can disrupt defensive balance in the opposition if he’s got space to run into ahead of him

2019 12 22 Retrieve

[Stefano Pioli says Zlatan Ibrahimovic would add determination and character to a beleaguered AC Milan side who suffered their worst Serie A defeat in over 21 years against Atalanta] These are questions for the club owners. People have talked about Ibrahimovic for over a month now. I’ve already said he is a champion and would bring that determination and character to raise the intensity and focus even during training, more so than in games

[Milan’s woes were mainly in the final half an hour, where they conceded four goals] We got the game wrong against the worst possible team we could’ve done that with. Clearly, this cannot be the real Milan, because we showed strong performances in other matches recently. We have to take some of the blame too, because we made mistakes and have to work. This cannot be us. Today’s performance makes it look as if it was our first game together, but that is not the case. We need to get back to what we were doing before and remember the matches we had before this

[Milan could head into the mid-season break in the bottom half of Serie A and Pioli is set to plan his strategy for the January transfer window] We struggled to mount any kind of reaction or high press, weren’t sharp tactically and the club knows the evaluations I’ve been making with this team over three months. I know the strengths and weaknesses, so we are working out a strategy for the January transfer window

2019 12 24 Retrieve

[Milan head coach Stefano Pioli did not shy away from the question when asked about Ibrahimovic] I’ve already said he is a champion and would bring that determination and character to raise the intensity and focus even during training, more so than in games

2019 12 31 Retrieve

[Stefano Pioli says Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a leader with a great desire to win] Ibra is a warrior, a leader, a charismatic player who has a great sense of responsibility and a great desire to win. He’ll stimulate the whole team, his contribution will be crucial. Being the youngest team in the league, we’ve encountered some limitations in terms of a competitive streak. Ibra is the kind of player, person and leader who can help us fill that void. I thank the club. Gazidis, Maldini, Boban and Massara worked a lot during the holidays. He can do it all, he knows how set up his team-mates, he knows how to occupy the box well and he’ll know how to be the reference point in our attack. I spoke to him on the phone, he’s very fired up and he can’t wait to train with us, just like I can’t wait to coach him

2020 01 16 Retrieve

[AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli believes the signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been really important for the Serie A side] Signing Ibrahimovic has been really important. Absolutely, it’s been really important for what he does every day during the training, for what he did at Cagliari and for what he will do. Ibra will improve giving us great satisfaction. He is so professional, he is so driven in all the things he does. It is unbelievable seeing a great champion like him working hard. It’s important for a young team like us. After Cagliari he said to work hard and with passion so we can get a reward. This is the most important thing

2020 01 18 Retrieve

[Stefano Pioli says Zlatan Ibrahimovic has proven to be a godsend for AC Milan] Zlatan is proving that he is not just a decoration or a statue, but a great player, performing on the field. His arrival was a godsend for what he shows on the pitch and in training. He gives his best like a young player. He is a player who doesn’t want to lose even one match, that’s how he raises the level in a team, he was also signed for this

The team is working a lot, we have found balance even with a different game system, everyone is actively trying to put pressure on the opponent. We have to score more points quickly. We will play four times at the San Siro in the next five games, including the Coppa Italia. It will not be a decisive period but it’s very important. I was hoping to recover a few more players, we are in somewhat of an emergency, but those who are there are well and motivated

2020 01 24 Retrieve

[Milan boss Pioli pleased after Brescia victory] It was not a beautiful Milan performance. We know we can play better, but we had a great attitude and showed we know how to suffer. We must continue like this. I am satisfied with the mentality and it must remain the same. From a tactical and technical point of view, we have to do more. We are a completely different team to the start of the season, both on the pitch and in terms of attitude. Even tonight we understood how tough Serie A can be

[Lucas Paqueta was left out of Milan’s squad amid suggestions he has asked for a move away] Lucas Paqueta is going through a difficult moment. I would have preferred to take him, but yesterday the situation was not clear. If there are exits then there will be arrivals

2020 02 01 Retrieve

[Ibrahimovic grounded for Hellas Verona clash after bout of flu] Over the last two-three days, Ibrahimovic and [Simon] Kjaer have been suffering from flu and I doubt we’re going to be able to call them up. There are muscular problems for [Rade] Krunic too, so yes, we have more than a few problems. Hellas Verona are in good shape, doing great work this season and will arrive at San Siro very determined. They run hard and it has been a difficult week for us

[Suso also left for Sevilla, with Alexis Saelemaekers joining Milan on Friday to add to the signings of Ibrahimovic, Kjaer and Asmir Begovic] We brought in players of quality and experience, but also interesting young prospects. Whoever plays instead of Ibrahimovic, he will do well, and it’s not the system that decides victory. We’ve turned a corner lately because the team understood that only with the spirit of sacrifice can we achieve a win. It was a good January, but that is behind us now and we have new important games to play

2020 02 09 Retrieve

[Milan coach Stefano Pioli admitted he was angry with his side for not capitalising on what was a fantastic first 45 minutes] I am angry with my players, because we had some defensive duties in those situations and the moment we let it go, we were punished. It’s a real pity, as we were in control and outplaying a strong team, making it look like there was never a 19-point gap between us. We had defensive duties and we did not perform them. It was absolutely our best first half of the season, but we lost a derby that we had been winning, and we must build on the qualities we showed in that first half. The match must be analysed on the whole

2020 02 13 Retrieve

[Stefano Pioli was angered by the late awarding of a penalty to Juventus as his AC Milan side had to settle for a frustrating 1-1 draw in the Coppa Italia semi-final first leg at San Siro] I got angry first and foremost because there was a foul on Zlatan Ibrahimovic earlier in the move. Plus I remember the referees showed footage of that Cagliari-Brescia penalty at the start of the season and said it was an error to award it because the player couldn’t see the ball. Here the situation is the same as Calabria couldn’t see it. Alberto Cerri, in that situation, jumped and could not just cut his arms off, you have to use your arms when jumping

I told the players to leave the pitch without regrets. I can say, they will have no regrets. I am very proud of their performance, so are the Milan fans. We wanted to get the victory, we were in a strong position to do so, but this is just the first leg and we’ll try to do even better in the second.

2020 05 01 Retrieve

[AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli compared star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to tennis legend Roger Federer] I spoke to him, he’s doing well. I think talent is an innate quality and it’s not difficult for me to spot it, but talent can be worked on and improved. I set the example of Roger Federer, as he was born with that talent, but worked constantly every day to become probably the greatest tennis player who ever lived. We also saw great natural talents wasted, perhaps because they were unwilling to make the sacrifices and work hard. I trained Miroslav Klose, the striker who scored the most goals in the World Cup. Even Ibra tells me his only objective every day is to improve his performance and that’s what it’s all about

2020 05 11 Retrieve

[Stefano Pioli compares Ibrahimovic to legendary tennis player Roger Federer] I think talent is an innate quality and it’s not difficult for me to spot it, but talent can be worked on and improved. I set the example of Roger Federer, as he was born with that talent, but worked constantly every day to become probably the greatest tennis player who ever lived. Even Ibra tells me his only objective every day is to improve his performance and that’s what it’s all about

2020 06 21 Retrieve

[Pioli targets Europe with Milan but knows sack threat lingers] Today we are not in Europe, but even if we were, everything can change in 40 days. It would be a shame to finish the season in this position, we have to recover quickly. We don’t have an easy schedule but we have shown that we can compete with those ahead of us. We have shown that we have quality and sacrifice, tomorrow is a very important match. We are not the fourth-worst attack in the league because we haven’t created chances, but because we have one of the lowest conversion rates. We have to improve on this. There will be chances to make the difference, to score another goal will be even more important. We have to improve this data

[if Pioli is to get a second season, he knows Milan cannot afford to sleepwalk their way to the end of this campaign] The future of all the coaches depends on these 40 days. Everyone can be talked about. We live on results. We have a great target to chase, our position in the table does not reflect our qualities and we have the chance to prove it