“It was a negative match, a performance of too low a level. We were neither aggressive, nor intense, nor precise”. Stefano Pioli is disappointed after the heavy defeat in Udine. And he doesn't seek justifications: “We obviously played below our means. It means that we all worked badly during the week, including the coach who worked badly. Unfortunately, if we go down a level, we risk making such a performance. I am disappointed. In the championship in the last week we have collected too little. We have to roll up our sleeves to raise the level of play, attention and determination". Pioli does not believe that the team is already ahead in the quarter-finals of the Champions League: “It would be serious if that were the case. And by the way, there were no signs of waning attention. The truth is that we started badly and ended up worse."
"The problem is not the form but the lack of quality and intensity"
With the change of form Milan struggle to score. The Rossoneri coach replies: “I believe that in the other matches we risked less and built more. The problem is that we played under the pace and so it becomes difficult to be dangerous. It's not a question of the game system but of quality and intensity." Having said this, Pioli does not rule out a return to 4-2-3-1 after the break: “Yes, it could be. We will evaluate many things also based on the opponents. We will do everything to return to playing the football that best suits our characteristics because reaching the top 4 is too important".
“Leao? It has to sag less. But he was still the most dangerous ”
In closing, a judgment on Leao's new insufficient performance: “I asked Rafa to be incisive and inside the match. Sometimes he was further from the goal but in any case the most dangerous conclusions were made there. He tends to stoop too much and this limits our potential. However, it is useless to talk too much about the individuals, it is the whole team that should have done more”.
Ibrahimovic: "Proud to have entered the club's history"
The only happy note of the evening is the return to goals from Ibrahimovic, who became the oldest scorer in Serie A at 41 years and 166 days: “I am proud to have entered the history of this club, which has a great history. There is still room for emotion in my life. I'm proud to have put on the captain's armband, Bennacer walked into my room and gave it to me. Sorry that the goal didn't bring the 3 points. It had been 14 months since I started a race from 1′. If I'm fine I can play, I have no doubts. I still believe in myself."
"We don't have the experience to play as Italian champions"
The Swede says about the race: Unfortunately it didn't go well but we need to keep raising the level. When you play as the champion of Italy it's like a final for your opponent. We're under pressure every day this year and it's normal when you play for a big team. Everyone wants to beat us because we are champions. This team doesn't have the experience to play as champions of Italy and that's why we have ups and downs”.
"Future? I want to keep playing"
Unfortunately, Ibra will not be able to play in the Champions League: "When it was time to put names on the Champions League list, I wasn't ready and therefore I respect Pioli's choice," he underlines. “Now I can only prepare my teammates in the best possible way in training. Future? If I'm fine, I want to continue playing. I've suffered too much these past 14 months and it's revenge. I'm fine at Milan, let's see what the club is looking for. I'm available. I have faith in the team that has done well up to now and will do it again against Napoli. For Italy it is very positive to have 6 teams qualified for the quarterfinals in the European cups. This means that the league is growing,” he concludes.