Stefano Pioli urges AC Milan not to get ahead of themselves

By Sports Desk March 29, 2024

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli is refusing to look any further ahead than Saturday’s Serie A trip to Fiorentina as he targets a rousing finish to the season.

The Rossoneri, who have won their last five games in all competitions, head for the Stadio Artemio Franchi sitting in second place in the table, 14 points adrift of derby rivals Inter, but only three clear of Juventus in third.

With the prospect of Europa League glory still very much alive – they face compatriots Roma in the quarter-finals – the campaign could yet end on a high note, although Pioli, who will be without the suspended Theo Hernandez, will not allow his players to get ahead of themselves.

He told a press conference: “A decisive period is about to begin. We’ll need to focus on playing the best football we can as we look to improve the level of our performances with two very important months in store.

“We have nine league matches remaining and we hope we’ll also be involved in five more Europa League fixtures. Every game will be important, starting from Fiorentina. They’re a team that have often caused us problems.

“It’s only normal to talk about the future when there’s an international break, but I’m focused on doing the best I can in the next 60 days so we can finish the season in the best way possible.

“Conclusions can only be drawn at the end, so we’ll take it one game at a time.”

Fiorentina have proved tricky opponents in recent seasons – in the last six league encounters, the sides have been separated by just one goal, and La Viola have won the last two games they have hosted.

Milan’s latest visit to Florence comes with the home team still mourning the loss of general manager Joe Barone, who collapsed and died at the age of 57 as the Fiorentina party prepared to leave the team hotel for their league clash with Atalanta earlier this month.

Pioli, whose side won the reverse fixture in November 1-0, said: “It’s not the first time that Fiorentina have experienced a complicated situation. Florence and the team’s fans are fantastic when there is a need to come together to overcome difficult moments like a bereavement.

“We expect a special atmosphere at the start in memory of a person who did so much for the club.”

Vincenzo Italiano’s side, who head into the weekend in eighth place and four points adrift of the top six, have not played since a 1-1 Europa Conference League draw with Maccabi Haifa on March 14 with the Atalanta game having been postponed after Barone was rushed to hospital.

Italiano said: “We need to restart and honour our director with all the things that were his: passion, love and attachment to this city, these colours and this club.”

Related items

  • Postecoglou: There's a deadline on signing Werner Postecoglou: There's a deadline on signing Werner

    Ange Postecoglou has revealed Tottenham have a deadline if they want to make Timo Werner’s loan deal permanent.

    The German joined Spurs on loan in January from RB Leipzig, scoring twice and assisting three goals in 14 matches in all competitions for the North London side.

    However, Werner missed the last five games of Spurs’ season due to a hamstring injury he sustained against Arsenal.

    Postecoglou admitted that he was relaxed about the situation, but whether a deal was made was out of his hands.

    Speaking to reporters following their friendly in Melbourne against Newcastle United, Postecoglou said: "I think from our perspective, there's a deadline there.

    "Again, a lot of that will depend on the negotiations between the clubs and how Timo feels.

    "Again, from my perspective, I'm comfortable with that situation, and I'll let the other guys steer it to see what kind of outcome there is."

    After a strong start to their season, Spurs eventually finished fifth in the Premier League, securing a place in the Europa League next season.

    The Australian also believes the club need to bring more attacking players in as a priority to balance the higher workload next season after struggling with injuries this campaign.

    "Yeah, absolutely. It's no secret [we need new forwards]. You saw the way we finished the season," he said.

    "We obviously lost Richarlison and Timo Werner as well with injuries, but we're fairly light in that area.

    "We started last season with Manor [Solomon] and [Ivan] Perisic, and we were quite healthy in that front third in terms of numbers, but as the year went on it became pretty evident that we needed to bulk up.

    "We're in Europe as well next year, so we'll have more games, and it's definitely an area of the park we'll need to strengthen."

  • Kroos aiming to go out on a high in LaLiga farewell party Kroos aiming to go out on a high in LaLiga farewell party

    Runaway LaLiga champions Real Madrid welcome Real Betis for the last game of the domestic season in what was supposed to be just a dress rehearsal ahead of next week's Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley.

    But the shock retirement announcement of midfielder Toni Kroos on Tuesday suddenly changed the significance of Saturday's clash, which quickly lost that end-of-the-season vibe.

    A sold-out crowd will bid farewell to a fan favourite and all-time club great who will play his final game at the stadium after a remarkable decade with the Spanish giants.

    Kroos said in a statement on his social media that his last game for Madrid will be next week's Champions League final, adding that he will retire after this year's European Championship on home soil.

    Madrid have had little to play for in the last couple of weeks after claiming a record-extending 36th LaLiga title on May 4 and reaching the Champions League final four days later.

    Carlo Ancelotti has rested most of his regular starters in the last three league matches but is expected to use the Betis game as a practice run for the Wembley final, with two big question marks in defence.

    Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois' full recovery from an ACL tear suffered in August has left the Italian with a tricky decision.

    Stand-in Andriy Lunin was Real's penalty hero as they beat Manchester City to reach the semi-finals, but Courtois is widely considered one of the best keepers in the world and is likely to regain his starting spot against Dortmund.

    The centre-back who will play alongside Antonio Rudiger is Ancelotti's other issue.

    He has used holding midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni and long-time back-up defender Nacho alongside Rudiger after David Alaba and Eder Militao sustained ACL tears early in the season.

    After making a full recovery last month, Militao has struggled to regain top form and, with Tchouameni out with a foot injury sustained against Bayern Munich, Ancelotti is left to decide between the Brazilian and Spaniard Nacho.

    Champions Real Madrid have 94 points, 12 ahead of second-placed Barcelona going into the final round of LaLiga matches this season. 

  • Lewandowski hints at Barcelona stay next season Lewandowski hints at Barcelona stay next season

    Barcelona forward Robert Lewandowski has suggested he will remain at the LaLiga club next season.

    Lewandowski joined Barcelona from Bayern Munich in 2022 and has since helped them win the league title last season as well as the Spanish Super Cup.

    The 35-year-old ended his debut season as the league's top scorer with 23 goals and has netted a further 18 in Barcelona's current trophy-less campaign.

    Lewandowski's current contract is set to expire in 2026, but uncertainties about his future have grown since manager Xavi initially announced his departure in January, only to backtrack in April.

    Barcelona are also dealing with economic challenges, with a bloated wage bill and a huge renovation project at the Camp Nou stadium having increased the financial strain this term.

    "Of course, for me, it is super clear. I want to win many titles with Barcelona, and I am sure that next season we will be even stronger, and we will also win titles," Lewandowski told Mundo Deportivo on Wednesday when asked about rumours of a potential exit.

    "I always want the best, not just for me, but for my team-mates, and I am sure that this team will win titles next season, because I see what we do each day.

    "For me, that is what matters, because this is a club that I hold close to my heart and I want to give a lot for the team and the club."

    Xavi said earlier in May, "We value Robert's presence in the team very much, and we will decide on his future at the end of the season."

    Barcelona are second in LaLiga, 12 points behind newly crowned champions Real Madrid. They face Sevilla in their final game of the season on Sunday.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.