Pioli: "Two points dropped"

Pioli: "Two points dropped"

30/12/2017 16:47

A draw against a team mooted as title contenders before the season may seem like an impressive result, but it was "two points dropped" in Stefano Pioli’s eyes after Fiorentina were held to a 1-1 draw by AC Milan at the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Saturday.

The Viola coach was in no doubt as he analysed the game in his post-match press conference.

"I do [think it was two points dropped]," he said. "And the fact that I’m saying that shows how far we’ve come, but we still need to raise our game because we should be winning these games. We took the game to them and it was hard-going because they were boxed in at the back, but we kept our heads and our positioning was good. We struggled to get the goal but we scored in the end. We needed to give that extra bit of effort which was lacking so that’s the missing piece today and in general.  

"If we think back to four months ago, when AC Milan were being talked about as one of the potential title contenders and there was a massive question mark above us, we have to be really pleased. That said, we mustn’t rest on our laurels because I think we can do even better."

Fiorentina struggled to inject any pace into their game in the first half, but Pioli was quick to point to the Rossoneri’s rear-guard performance as the reason for his team’s sluggishness.

"It takes two to set the tempo of a match," he said. "Quite rightly, AC Milan came here with a strategy to get everyone behind the ball, which made it difficult for us. We were able to up the tempo when we nicked the ball off them, but aside from that we dominated possession and they hung back. At times we made the wrong decision and other times our positioning wasn’t right, but we kept playing and kept creating potential chances. When you face a team with such individual quality, that stays so compact and hangs back, there’s no way you’re going to create ten or 12 clear-cut chances. You get three or four and you have to take them – unfortunately we only took one. [Marco] Sportiello only had to make two saves or something and sadly we conceded."

Pioli also accepted that tiredness was becoming a factor as 2018 draws closer.

"[Federico] Chiesa didn’t start because in the last two training sessions I thought he was absolutely exhausted both physically and mentally," he said. "He’s improved so much but we can’t go at 1000mph for the whole season so it’s my job to decide the right time to bring someone else in. [Jordan] Veretout was very tired today as well but he always turns up. A few of them were playing a third game in eight days, so a bit of tiredness is to be expected."

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