Pioli Takes Stock of Milan Season, Shields De Ketelaere

Coach Stefano Pioli didn’t speak to the media following the Fiorentina win due to a sudden personal matter, but he weighed in on the first half of the season after receiving the ‘Sport e Civiltà’ award in Parma (via Tuttomercatoweb).

“The team has grown mentally and can recognize opportunities. The performance in Cremona was our worst so far, and it hurt us in the standings. Had we won there, it would have been a great start, notwithstanding how excellent Napoli have been so far. We know we needed to have the right attitude Sunday. We had intensity and overcame an opponent that gave us fits. Prevailing in this kind of clashes means that you have self-belief, quality, and the right spirit.”

The gaffer defended Charles De Ketelaere.

“The club has its ideas and plans. Everybody is happy when you invest in youngsters, but then you need patience to wait for them. They come from different countries, cultures, playing style and habits. It’s normal to face difficulties. We are absolutely certain to have signed talented, intelligent, and willing players.”

Pioli looked ahead at the prosecution of the campaign.

“It’s an anomaly, and it will be peculiar and difficult. It’s incorrect to assess things now, because there are 23 matches to go and there’s room for every team. What Napoli are doing is incredible and unique. We’ll see how the players and the staffs emerge from the World Cup. We have many objectives to chase: Serie A, Coppa Italia, Supercoppa, and the Champions League. The group is properly motivated, and those that go to Qatar will return with the right mentality to fare the best we can.”

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