AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has declared that the objective in the Coppa Italia is to win the trophy, a journey which must resume by beating Lazio tomorrow at San Siro.
If the Rossoneri were to beat their opponents from the capital they would reach a fifth semi-final in seven seasons, but Lazio do have history in the Coppa Italia. Pioli was interviewed by Milan TV on the eve of the game with MilanNews relaying his comments.
On Lazio: “Lazio have always had a great history, great results in this competition. They are a team that has a lot of quality, especially in the attacking department, I think they’re among the best in the league. It is clear that the level is rising. It is an important and difficult match that we want to play well.”
Was the derby one of the most important matches of the season?
“The most important match is the one that arrives next. It is clear that the derby has given us three excellent points. We knew that after the derby there would be 15 games to go, 45 points available. There is still a long way to go, we must remain absolutely concentrated to better prepare this quarter-final of the Coppa Italia which can see us go all the way.”
On the support of the fans: “Our fans have shown great presence, great support and great passion. I’m sure my team will also be prepared tactically and mentally.”
Is winning the Coppa Italia a target? “Our goal is to continue to give the maximum game by game, then the accounts are made at the end. We are in a very important moment of the season, tomorrow is a knockout game, it is a very important challenge and we must prepare ourselves in the best possible way and continue to give our best and continue to grow. We know that difficulties will come but with the right attitudes they can be overcome.”
Is Giroud the man who makes the difference? “I keep thinking, and I will never change my mind, that he is not a single player who can decide the fate of a team. Maybe he can decide a single game, but in the long run it is the motivations, the concepts, the principles and the desire to sacrifice everyone to achieve an important goal that in the end makes the difference.
“Giroud must continue like this but above all the team must continue to believe in it, he must continue to play proactive and very intense football because it is part of our way of being on the pitch.”
On the line-up: “I will field the best line-up, obviously based on the conditions of my players. The opponent is of a high level, except for Napoli all the top seven of the league remained [in the cup]. Everyone wants to win this competition and we also want to try to do so, so tomorrow’s match is very important and we will certainly be prepared to face it.”
On individuals: “Individuals help to increase the level of the team, playing with courage is part of our way of playing, we also take risks, sometimes we can also suffer, but this must be the mentality that must accompany us. We have to play with enthusiasm, with the desire to stay inside the game and believing in our qualities.”