Pioli in full after AC Milan defeat

Pioli in full after AC Milan defeat

20/05/2018 22:30


Stefano Pioli admitted Fiorentina were beaten by the better team as AC Milan handed out a 5-1 defeat to bring a gruelling season to an end for the Viola.

The Fiorentina coach refused to criticise his players for the performance, instead pointing to the superhuman effort put in by all at the club following the tragic death of Davide Astori earlier in the season.

With the season now over, it was also a chance for Pioli to look to the future – as Fiorentina focus on building on a respectable eighth-place finish.

Check out the boss’ comments in full below.

"The team lost its way in the second half. We had made a lot of changes from the previous game. The players gave it everything but obviously they were lacking match sharpness. We weren’t on the beach. We were definitely up against a better team. We had a good first half in my opinion and we’re disappointed to have conceded the equaliser so soon after taking the lead. It hurts to lose – especially by such a big scoreline – but it doesn’t change my opinion of our season or my players.

"I don’t think it’s that hard to explain the performance, especially in the second half. We’ve been going at 1000 miles per hour over the past few months after the tragedy with Davide. We put an incredible amount of running in on the pitch and put a huge effort in mentally. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about the situation here but you cannot imagine what we’ve been through and what we are still going there – only we know that.

"Last week’s game [against Sassuolo] left us on our knees. We had surged back so far and were dreaming of achieving something truly exceptional. It was incredible that we were fighting for a Europa League in the last few weeks of the season, given the way the squad was put together, the objectives we had at the start of the campaign and everything that happened. That defeat left us mentally drained.

"Today we were missing a lot of players with big personalities that have helped us a lot over the course of the season – [Milan] Badelj, [Jordan] Veretout… [Vitor] Hugo got injured, as did [German] Pezzella. [Marco] Sportiello also had to come off. Not many people have spoken about how big a loss Davide has been in terms of his technique, tactical prowess and character too.

"It’s a real shame for me and my players because we didn’t deserve to finish up with two defeats. For the fans too – they were there supporting us once again today. But I think it’s quite obvious why we’ve had this dip this week. You don’t need to overthink it or be a genius to figure it out.

"I don’t want to put a dampener on the enthusiasm but neither do I want us to get ahead of ourselves. The objective next season will be to build on all the many things we’ve done well this season. We want to improve. We’ve finished eighth, which is an excellent result for this team given what we’ve gone through. If possible, we’ll look to fight for a Europa League place.

"I’ve been clear with the club. I’ve said I don’t want many players, but I do want a lot of competition within the squad. In order to maintain a high standard, you need all the players to be motivated and happy. It’s not good if a player already knows they’re not going to be playing come the weekend. I’d like players who can play in multiple positions and players that are of roughly the same level, so that they stay competitive and motivated. That way, my decisions are simple. Of course, the team needs strengthening.

"The aim was to lay some solid foundations – I think we’ve done that. We have eight, nine or ten players who’ve proven that they can do it at this level. Apart from Baldelj – who, in any case, is a player I think can do even better, because every time he’s got to a certain level he’s picked up an injury – the rest of the squad can all improve. They’re either young or just in the first year with us in Italy. That’s for sure.

"We also need to consolidate the team with a bit of quality up top and some personality elsewhere. Our aim is to improve so I expect the club to act based on the plans myself and the sporting director are making."

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