Pioli Gears Up for Upcoming Coppa Italia Derby Against Inter

Stefano Pioli talked with the press as Milan will face Inter in Coppa Italia tomorrow: “We have approached the game with great focus and attention. It is just the first leg, and the second one will be down the line, but it is important to start well.”

The Rossoneri are coming off two draws: “I agree with director Paolo Maldini: the head controls the body, and it makes you perform with more lucidity and quality. We are in the midst of a pivotal stretch of the season. We have grown a lot since we finished tenth, and now we are in the running for the Scudetto and the domestic cup. Our last performances have been subpar. It is time for us to reap what we sowed. We need to right kind of awareness to take the next step to be successful, which is the hardest one.”

Pioli downplayed the recent struggles by Inter heading into the Coppa Italia fixture: “The season is difficult for every team, and there are always peaks and valleys. Two strong teams will square off, and the game will be wide open like every Derby. It is a key week for us, but not a decisive one.”

Sandro Tonali is suspended Tuesday: “He is an important player, but we have some potential alternatives. Franck Kessié is scoring less, but he is contributing a lot defensively. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is feeling better, but he is in doubt for the Napoli clash.”

The coach looked back at what went wrong against Udinese and Salernitana: “The main problem is that we have been unable the control matches and seal them. It is a matter of attitude, as we sat back too much. We need to be more aggressive. It will take at least 80 points to win the Scudetto.”