Stefano Pioli has reminded critics of how things have improved for Milan since he took over five years ago amid speculation about his job.

Milan suffered a 3-1 defeat to Torino on Saturday, meaning they have won just one of their last eight games in all competitions.

Pioli, who led the Rossoneri to the Scudetto in 2022, is under contract until 2025 but has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks despite securing second place.

However, Milan currently sit 18 points behind rivals Inter, who secured the league title after their derby win in April, and exited the Europa League after a 3-1 aggregate defeat to Roma in the quarter-final.

"Over these years, we raised everyone's expectations and now people act like second place is suddenly shoddy," Pioli told DAZN. "You know full well that is not the case. Only one team can win.

"It was a good season; we were the best of the 'normal' teams behind an Inter side who did something extraordinary.

"Our regrets are in the Champions League and Europa League, but that's what those tournaments are like, if you don't take your chance in that moment, you can go out.

"I arrived with Milan in one situation, and I leave – if I leave – with Milan in quite another. The rest is just lots of talk and not much content."

Meanwhile, Ivan Juric says he intends to leave Torino when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Since taking over in 2021, Juric has led Torino to two top-half finishes and looks to do so again with the club currently sitting in ninth and in contention for a European place.

Despite a successful spell in charge, Juric says there is no reason to stay, even if they finish in the top eight.

"No, there simply aren’t the right conditions to continue here," he told Sky Sports Italia. "I would like more joy and there isn't joy here.

"You try to change things, but after a while, you realise it’s pointless. It was right for us to try to go for Europe, we had a fantastic three years."

Milan will finish their season at home to already-relegated Salernitana, while Torino travel to Atalanta on May 26.

Olivier Giroud announced he will be leaving Milan to join the MLS at the end of the season when his contract expires.

The Frenchman joined the club in July 2021 from Chelsea, winning the Serie A title in his first season.

Giroud has scored 48 goals in 130 games in all competitions for Milan, netting 16 of those this season to help them to a second-place finish.

In an emotional interview with the club’s media channels, Giroud said: "I'm here to tell you that the next two games will be my last for Milan. My career will continue in MLS.

"I'm very proud of everything I've done here at Milan across three seasons. It's the right time to announce it. I'm a bit emotional. My story with Milan ends this season, but Milan will forever remain in my heart."

Though Giroud did not confirm which team he would be joining in the MLS, previous reports suggested he could be moving to LAFC to link up with his France international team-mate, Hugo Lloris. 

Olivier Giroud announced he will be leaving Milan to join the MLS at the end of the season when his contract expires.

The Frenchman joined the club in July 2021 from Chelsea, winning the Serie A title in his first season.

Giroud has scored 48 goals in 130 games in all competitions for Milan, netting 16 of those this season to help them to a second-place finish.

In an emotional interview with the club’s media channels, Giroud said: "I'm here to tell you that the next two games will be my last for Milan. My career will continue in MLS.

"I'm very proud of everything I've done here at Milan across three seasons. It's the right time to announce it. I'm a bit emotional. My story with Milan ends this season, but Milan will forever remain in my heart."

Though Giroud did not confirm which team he would be joining in the MLS, previous reports suggested he could be moving to LAFC to link up with his France international team-mate, Hugo Lloris. 

Milan coach Stefano Pioli said criticism and speculation are part of his job, as he still does not know if he will remain in the role for next season.

Milan snapped a six-match winless streak with an emphatic 5-1 win over Cagliari on Saturday, yet the pressure remains on the Italian coach, with the Rossoneri only aiming for second place in Serie A after city rivals Inter became champions.

"We are a big club, there are big expectations, so fierce criticism is to be expected, just as ebullient praise is expected when you win," Pioli told Sky Sports.

"That is part of the job, you have to accept it all, or you do a different profession.

"I try to help the team to overcome difficult moments and play as well as possible. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes I got things wrong."

A section of Milan fans have been holding protests at matches, demanding clarity from the management regarding the club's plans after two seasons without silverware.

The club ended their Europa League campaign in the quarter-finals last month, losing at Roma.

Pioli added: "I am really sad about this situation, as we were so proud to create that symbiosis with the fans, which passed on positivity, energy and confidence.

"I have not yet talked to the club. We have another two rounds to go, the season is not over yet.

"I hope everyone around Milan can rediscover that harmony, enthusiasm and energy that helped us to achieve things that perhaps nobody believed were possible."

Stefano Pioli said he respects the opinions of Milan's supporters after thousands of fans carried out a silent protest during Sunday's 3-3 Serie A draw against Genoa at San Siro.

With Milan enduring a second straight trophyless season, trailing champions Inter by 18 points, Pioli has come under pressure amid suggestions the Rossoneri have held talks with former Spain and Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui.

Irritated fans unfurled banners demanding improvements to the team during Sunday's match, while the club's ultras stayed silent in protest throughout the game.

Fans then left behind a banner which read "the sound of silence" as they filed out en masse from the Curva Sud shortly after Olivier Giroud had put Milan 3-2 ahead in the 75th minute.

By the time Genoa pulled level late in the match, thanks to an own goal by Malick Thiaw, the stand was completely empty.

"The fans have chosen this type of protest and we just need to respect them," Pioli, whose side have already secured their spot in next season's Champions League, said.

"Our fans have been an added value in recent years. They will have their reasons if they chose this protest."

Sunday's draw also means Milan are winless in their last four league matches.

"The start was poor. We didn't have the proper concentration and unity in the opening 20 minutes and conceded an early opener," Pioli said.

"Then, we created many opportunities but also made many errors. It's a shame we didn't win because it would have been important for the table."

Milan were pegged back to a thrilling 3-3 draw by Genoa in Serie A on Sunday.

Second-half goals from Matteo Gabbia and Olivier Giroud put Milan on course for victory, but a late own goal from Malick Thiaw rescued a point for the visitors.

Genoa's Mateo Retegui converted a penalty five minutes in, but Milan equalised just before half-time through an Alessandro Florenzi header.

The visitors regained the lead three minutes into the second half, however, when Caleb Ekuban sent a towering header home.

Milan turned the game around in three minutes, as Gabbia headed home in the 72nd and Giroud scored the hosts' third of the match with a volley from an acute angle.

Yet Genoa continued to push and a cross into the Milan box was inadvertently turned into his own net by defender Thiaw.

Second-placed Milan have 71 points, six ahead of Juventus who play later on Sunday. Genoa are 12th with 43 points.

Data Debrief: Like a fine wine

Age really is just a number for Milan's veteran campaigner Giroud, who has scored 14 goals in Serie A this season.

It is his highest tally in a single league campaign since netting 16 for Arsenal in the Premier League in 2015-16.

Juventus and Milan played out a 0-0 draw at a sold-out Allianz Stadium in Serie A on Saturday, with both sides still seeking to secure Champions League spots for next season.

Midfielder Filip Kostic and striker Arkadiusz Milik had great chances to give Juventus the lead in the second half but Milan goalkeeper Marco Sportiello showed off his skills to keep their attempts out.

The Rossoneri finished the game without a shot on target as the contest finished goalless, leaving the sides to share the spoils.

Milan remain second in the standings on 70 points while Juventus remain third on 65, after Inter sealed the title on Monday. 

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli wants victory “for several reasons” as they prepare for their derby clash with Inter Milan on Monday.

Milan were knocked out of the Europa League at the hands of fellow Serie A side Roma in midweek and will be looking to bounce back with a victory against their city rivals.

The Rossoneri sit second in the table behind Monday’s opponents and a win for Inter means they could also clinch the title, something Pioli insists his side will use for extra motivation.

He said on “Pride, redemption, belonging, responsibility, all good terms to describe the game that awaits us.

“Because of the league table, the Europa League exit, and for the fact that they want to win the Scudetto in this game, we have a big opportunity. A victory would be important for several reasons.

“I have a lot of faith in my players, they know how important the game is. The more you play and gain trust if you understand how to stay in the game, it will be fundamental not to give away chances at the start like we have done in recent derbies.”

Milan will also be looking for revenge after they were thrashed 5-1 in the reverse fixture during Inter’s impressive start to the season and they have been beaten the last five times the sides have played each other.

Pioli knows his side have to be at their very best to get a result on Monday.

“We had high expectations in the fixture earlier this season, then we weren’t able to overcome some obstacles during the game. As far as the tactical choices go, we are open to every option.

“We will need to play an exceptional game, we come off the back of five consecutive defeats against them and they have always given us problems.

“They deserve to win the Scudetto but we need to do everything we can to ensure it doesn’t happen tomorrow. We have worked hard in the last few days, we are totally focused on best preparing for the game”.

A win for Milan could all but secure their Champions League status for next season and, with nothing else to play for this season, Pioli has set his side the objective of finishing the season strongly.

He added: “I ask my AC Milan to win and do well from now until the very end. After seven wins on the bounce, we didn’t play as we could have done, we need to give it our all and do so until the end of the season.

“Journalists and fans have the right to criticise, tomorrow there will be 70,000 fans spurring on AC Milan, nothing else matters. The squad shouldn’t play for me, but for the fans and to honour the shirt.

“I want to give everything as I have done since my first day, I have been given a lot and I still feel like I have a lot to give to this team. Work is the only verb I know, we will try to win every game from now until the end and then we will see.”

AC Milan needed a late equaliser from substitute Noah Okafor to rescue a point at the end of a stunning 3-3 draw away at Sassuolo, but saw their faint hopes of winning the Serie A title all but extinguished.

Okafor struck in the 84th minute, turning the ball home from a corner barely three minutes after being summoned from the bench by Stefano Pioli, as Milan salvaged a point from a game that had looked beyond them when the hosts raced into a two-goal lead inside the opening 10 minutes.

Andrea Pinamonti and Armand Lauriente hit the visitors with a rapid-fire double as they sought to breathe momentum into their hopes of avoiding the drop.

A win here would have dragged them out of the bottom three, but Milan hit back quickly with Rafael Leao scoring after 20 minutes to jangle Sassuolo’s nerves.

Lauriente hit his second after the break to make it 3-1, but facing disaster Pioli’s side summoned the necessary resolve to rescue a draw, first Luka Jovic made it 3-2 just before the hour mark, then Okafor struck late to cap a dramatic encounter.

Sassuolo were good value for their early lead, given to them when Pinamonti finished with aplomb into the bottom corner with the game just four minutes old, his 10th of the season for the strugglers who remained second from bottom of the table.

And it was 2-0 six minutes later when Lauriente netted his first of the afternoon, bursting through the visiting defence and scoring to stun Milan.

The Rossoneri were already facing the possibility of seeing Inter seal the title when the two sides meet at San Siro later in April, and the prospect of seeing their city rivals crowned champions was all but rubber stamped here.

They were at least spared the ignominy of a sixth league defeat of the season, Leao starting the comeback when he slotted past goalkeeper Andrea Consigli after 20 minutes.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek was fortunate not to concede a penalty shortly after half-time, but Sassuolo soon had their two-goal lead again, Lauriente turning the ball home to spark joyous scenes amongst home fans.

It would have been a famous win, one that would have been a huge boost to their hopes of securing a 12th consecutive Serie A season, but Milan would not lie down, Jovic giving them hope with a goal after 59 minutes.

Okafor came off the bench to ensure late drama and spare his team’s blushes, but it is unlikely to alter the destination of the title.

Second-placed AC Milan registered their third straight Serie A victory with a 3-1 triumph at Verona on Sunday.

The visitors, looking for their fifth consecutive win in all competitions, started like a team on form, going close through Christian Pulisic and Noah Okafor before Theo Hernandez put their noses in front before the interval.

Pulisic doubled their lead just after the break and, although Verona then made a fist of it and made things interesting by pulling a goal back midway through the second half through Tijjani Noslin, Samuel Chukwueze’s 79th-minute strike for the visitors put the game to bed.

Milan made their attacking intentions clear from the outset and could have had the opener in the fourth minute when Hernandez swung a cross in towards Fikayo Tomori, but the England international diverted wide of the target.

The away side were edging ever closer and Okafor let rip from outside the box with a volley that was magnificently tipped over the bar by Lorenzo Montipo.

It was one-way traffic through the opening quarter and Milan again went close to breaking the deadlock when Ruben Loftus-Cheek let the ball roll to his ex-Chelsea team mate Pulisic, who rattled the crossbar.

It took Verona 30 minutes to fire their first warning shot of the encounter, Noslin working his way into the box and flashing a low effort just past the far post.

Milan grabbed the opener just before half-time when Hernandez latched onto Rafael Leao’s through ball and, after seeing his low cross blocked straight back into his path, lifted a neat finish into the Verona net.

The visitors doubled their advantage five minutes after the break and Hernandez was at the heart of it again when his shot was palmed into the path of Pulisic, who tapped into an empty net from close range.

Verona needed to make a mark in the game but their second big chance went begging when Noslin headed a Fabien Centonze cross over the bar from inside the six-yard box.

The hosts did pull a goal back in the 64th minute, Noslin finally getting his deserved goal when he knocked the ball past Loftus-Cheek before firing into the roof of the net from the edge of the box.

Verona then went in search of an equaliser and had a couple of chances from long range in quick succession through Ondrej Duda and then Tomas Suslov.

But Milan restored their two-goal cushion when they struck a third through Chukwueze just five minutes after his 74th-minute introduction from the bench.

Ismael Bennacer’s corner was headed out to Chukwueze on the edge of the box and the Nigeria international volleyed past Montipo and into the bottom corner to seal the win, leaving Verona two points above the drop zone.

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli says his side has the quality to finish the job against Slavia Prague and reach the Europa League quarter-finals.

The Italian side hold a two-goal advantage going into the second leg of their last-16 tie in Prague following last week’s 4-2 win at San Siro.

Pioli told reporters: “We knew this moment would arrive, a crucial point in the season. Tomorrow we have an aim we need to reach.

“There’s a lot of talk around our opponents having the game of their lives, but we can and want to do the same.

“Our opponents will bring all their quality to bear. They’ve only lost once at home all season, but we want to go through and we’re convinced that we can with the quality we’ve got.

“We don’t need to force it, nor can we afford to be too calm. We need to play our own game, which is at a high tempo, especially in Europe, where you come up against some really good teams, good in attack and defence.”

The Czech runners-up went toe-to-toe with Milan in the first leg, despite the 26th-minute dismissal of defender El Hadji Diouf.

Milan’s Christian Pulisic struck the all-important fourth goal for Pioli’s side with five minutes remaining.

Pioli, whose side are second in Serie A, 16 points behind leaders Inter Milan, added: “We weren’t pleased, especially with that second half.

“We need to be clear on the fact that at 11 versus 11, our opponents caused us problems.

“I honestly think they will change it up from the first leg, even though they did well for the first 30 minutes before the red card, but now they have to overturn a two-goal deficit.”

Slavia Prague, also second in their domestic league, one point behind city rivals Sparta, lost for the only time this season at home against Viktoria Plzen in November.

Slavia boss Jindrich Trpisovsky told a press conference: “We will play in a stadium full of fans, the whole country will be watching us.

“We will do everything we can. We want to continue playing as we did in the first leg. We want to be brave. We’ll see if we can stand up to Milan.”

Christian Pulisic struck in the first half to help AC Milan move up to second in Serie A with a 1-0 victory over Empoli at the San Siro.

Pulisic grabbed the only goal of the game five minutes before the break with a first-time effort which was initially given offside. The assistant referee thought Noah Okafor had mistimed his run, but a VAR check ruled him to be onside.

Empoli sensed blood in the second period and had chances to equalise through Nicolo Cambiaghi and Mattia Destro, but Milan hung on to claim back-to-back wins.

The hosts were first to come closest to an opener when former Chelsea man Pulisic found space in the box but fired straight at Elia Caprile with five minutes on the clock.

Milan made most of the running in the first period with Okafor cutting in from the right and letting fly, only for Caprile to gratefully dive right on to the ball.

The hosts opened the scoring five minutes before the break when Okafor broke the line and fed a pass through to Pulisic, with his deflected effort wrong-footing Caprile before eventually being given by VAR.

Cambiaghi weaved his way into the area and his deflected effort needed to be tipped behind by Mike Maignan for Empoli’s first effort on target after 56 minutes.

Milan continued to come forward in search of a second though, Samuel Chukwueze was next to come close when he tried to curl into the bottom corner, but was blocked behind for a corner.

The best chance of the second half fell for the home side when Ruben Loftus-Cheek came forward and, after a couple of step-overs, his powerful shot was well saved by Caprile to stop Milan from putting the game to bed.

Another effort fell for Milan but they failed to take it, Okafor was the producer once again with a cross at the back post, but Davide Calabria could not guide his header on target.

Empoli remained a threat on the counter and were keen to punish Milan’s profligacy, Bartosz Bereszynski twisted and turned in the area, but his low ball into the box was cleared by Yunus Musah.

Milan were treading on thin ice and the visitors came within inches of an equaliser when Cambiaghi headed onto the post with seven minutes remaining.

With the game creeping towards the final minute, Empoli almost snatched a point when a corner found Destro free inside the area, but his header was straight at Maignan as Milan held on for victory.

Empoli coach Davide Nicola feels only a “volcanic” effort from his side will be enough to help them get a result at AC Milan.

The Rossoneri will be out to keep the pressure on Juventus in the chase for second behind runaway Serie A leaders Inter Milan and head into Sunday’s game on the back of a 4-2 win over Slavia Prague in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie.

Empoli, meanwhile, sit 15th, just two points above the relegation zone.

Nicola knows his men will be up against it at the San Siro but challenged them to go into the game with a positive mindset.

“When we talk about a team like Milan, strong and with a capable coach, it is not easy to identify flaws, but this is our job and we do it because every opponent has them,” Nicola told a press conference.

“We will need a volcanic Empoli, from the point of view of energy and obsessive organisation in both phases, but also of enthusiasm in showing our identity and the desire to continue on our path.

“We have prepared. The important thing is to do everything with maximum concentration and also with enthusiasm because we have to express ourselves.”

Nicola expects a response to last weekend’s home defeat by Cagliari,

“From a quality point of view, we have already set aside the previous performance,” said Nicola, whose side have won both of their previous two away games.

“We know we need to improve in some phases of the match.

“The desire to compete with a high-quality team, who are used to playing every three days, is an absolute growth opportunity for us.”

AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli will have to do without Rafael Leao through suspension after the Portuguese winger picked up a fifth yellow card in the Serie A victory over Lazio.

Swiss forward Noah Okafor is expected to start, having scored a late winner when coming off the bench at the Stadio Olimpico.

Nicola knows whatever side Pioli picks is set to provide a stern test.

“I don’t think Milan are Leao-dependent, he is an extraordinary player, but they have a competitive squad,” the Empoli coach said.

“Regardless of who is there, we must have the taste and mentality to express ourselves.

“Our attention to work never changes, regardless of the opponent we encounter.”

Lazio had three players sent off as Noah Okafor’s late goal secured a 1-0 win for AC Milan in a chaotic match at the Stadio Olimpico.

Milan grabbed their first win in four matches, a run which has seen their already faint hopes of a title challenge completely fade away, when substitute Okafor finally broke the deadlock three minutes from time.

The match turned in their favour when Lazio’s Luca Pellegrini needlessly got himself sent off with over half an hour still to play.

Lazio lost their heads in stoppage time and finished with eight men after Adam Marusic and Matteo Guendouzi were also dismissed.

Lazio, who travel to Bayern Munich on Tuesday looking to protect their 1-0 lead from the first leg of their Champions League clash, were inches away from taking the lead after 10 minutes.

Felipe Anderson flicked on a Luis Alberto corner and Matias Vecino prodded the ball narrowly wide of the far post.

They were denied a penalty moments later when Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan took a poor touch from a backpass and then wiped out Valentin Castellanos with his follow through, but nothing was given either on the field or in the VAR room.

Milan’s first chance arrived when former Roma right-back Alessandro Florenzi crossed for Olivier Giroud, but the Frenchman’s header was off target.

Giroud should have put the visitors ahead in first-half stoppage time after Christian Pulisic’s drive was pushed over the crossbar by Ivan Provedel.

Theo Hernandez swung in the corner, but Giroud’s header at the far post flew harmlessly over.

Lazio were reduced 10 men just before the hour when Pellegrini, who had been booked seven minutes earlier for a foul on Pulisic, was sent off for blatantly pulling back the former Chelsea man.

Moments later, Giroud played a one-two with Ruben Loftus-Cheek, but he could only hit his shot straight at Provedel.

Provedel showed great reactions to get a hand to a Loftus-Cheek volley, before the 10 men had a golden chance to go ahead when substitute Ciro Immobile somehow missed the target from four yards out.

Milan thought they had taken the lead with 13 minutes remaining when Rafael Leao fired home from a tight angle, but a lengthy VAR check ruled the effort out for offside.

The goal came after Provedel made another fine one-handed save to keep out Okafor’s initial drive.

But Lazio could not clear the loose ball and when it fell to Okafor again, the Switzerland international forward lashed it into the net.

The match ended in a farce with both Marusic and Guendouzi sent off at the death as Milan held on for a hard-earned victory.

Teun Koopmeiners’ disputed penalty kept Atalanta in the race for Serie A’s top four and AC Milan saw two points wrenched from their grasp.

Koopmeiners cancelled out Rafael Leao’s brilliant opener from the spot three minutes before the break with his 10th goal of the season after Olivier Giroud had been penalised for a high challenge on defender Emil Holm to secure a 1-1 draw at the San Siro.

That left his side two points adrift of fourth-placed Bologna with a game in hand at the end of a frustrating evening for Stefano Pioli’s men, who remain third, but are now 13 points adrift of leaders and city rivals Inter.

Milan could hardly have got off to a better start when Leao picked up possession wide on the left, skipped past Holm and them evaded Giorgio Scalvini’s challenge before curling a delicious shot across keeper Marco Carnesecchi and inside the far post with less than three minutes played.

However, it took a last-ditch 17th-minute challenge from Yacine Adli to prevent Koopmeiners from making meaningful contact with Charles De Ketelaere’s pull-back and defender Berat Djimsiti back-heeled an audacious attempt wide from the resulting corner.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek headed wide and Theo Hernandez saw a long-range strike deflected behind as the hosts responded, but the visitors were handed a way back into the game in controversial circumstances as the whistle approached.

Holm went to ground clutching his face after tangling with Giroud inside the Milan box and although replays showed the striker’s boot had connected with the defender’s armpit, referee Daniele Orsato was advised to review the incident and eventually awarded a penalty, which Koopmeiners converted with the minimum of fuss.

Ademola Lookman joined the fray as a replacement for De Ketelaere before the restart and Atalanta had a better balance about them, although the game became bogged down in midfield.

Loftus-Cheek whipped a 59th-minute shot straight at Carnesecchi after exchanging passes with Christian Pulisic, and the keeper had to make an instinctive save with his foot two minutes later after substitute Davide Calabria cut inside and drilled the ball towards goal.

Loftus-Cheek scuffed an attempt well wide after Leao and Adli had carved a path through the white shirts and Pulisic stabbed past the post after controlling Leao’s pass over the top superbly with the Rossoneri pushing for a winner.

Carnesecchi had to beat away Loftus-Cheek’s 77th-minute drive and then clawed out Leao’s toe-poke three minutes later with substitute Davide Zappacosta clearing Giroud’s follow-up off the line.

But Atalanta, who had won their previous five Serie A games and beaten Milan in both the league and the Coppa Italia this season, held firm to emerge with a point.

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