Pioli Urges Milan to ‘Change Gears’ to Secure Top-Four Finish

Stefano Pioli has voiced his fear of missing out on the top four after a relatively dreadful performance in front of goal, despite managing to steal a draw at the death against Cremonese. David Okereke opened the scoring with a brilliant solo effort in the 77th minute, before a bizarre deflected free-kick by Junior Messias salvaged a stoppage-time equalizer. The draw now leaves Milan languishing in sixth place.

Speaking to DAZN (via MilanNews) following the disappointing draw, Pioli demanded his side to punch above their weight if they wish to secure a European finish.

“We are extemely disappointed tonight. We didn’t want such a result, there are only a few games to go and if we don’t change gears we will struggle to finish in the top four. We have to be good at turning this disappointment into a better performance in three days.”

Milan face Lazio first, before taking on Inter in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final. Pioli is well aware of the challenge that lies ahead.

“Now we have Lazio, then the Champions League is the Champions League. It’s obviously a good thing, how many years has it been since Milan had a semi-final in the Champions League? We want to move forward, we know that we will meet a great team but Manchester City and Real Madrid would have been great teams too. We will fight for it with all our characteristics and determination. We deserved this opportunity and we want to try and continue.”

Among the teams in the top-five European leagues, Milan is one of the three, alongside Nantes and Salernitana, to have drawn the most matches across all competitions in 2023.

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