Stefano Pioli Heaps Praise on Milan Players After Derby Win

Milan came from behind to eke out a mammoth 2-1 victory over fierce rivals Inter in Saturday’s Derby della Madonnina. Despite trailing at half-time, the Rossoneri picked themselves up in the second half to pick up an all-important three points. 

Milan endured a torrid start to the game at Meazza, as they were forced to chase the ball for most of the first half without even putting Samir Handanovic to the test. In fact, they had Mike Maignan’s stunning saves to deny the likes of Denzel Dumfries and Lautaro Martinez to thank for heading into half-time one goal behind. 

The only attempt the flying Frenchman failed to thwart was Ivan Perisic’s half-volley following Hakan Calhanoglu’s corner-kick delivery in the 38th minute. However, Maignan’s impressive first-half performance eventually proved crucial as it handed Milan everything to play for in the second half.

Indeed, Stefano Pioli’s men managed to turn the game on its head, courtesy of Olivier Giroud’s late heroics. The veteran striker levelled the score in the 75th minute before completing the turnaround with a top-class turn and finishing only three minutes later.

Theo Hernandez took one for the team in the dying moments of the encounter. The highly-rated left-back tackled Dumfries from behind to prevent Inter’s quick break in the final seconds, receiving a straight red card for what was a really cynical challenge. 

But it also shows that every Milan player is ready to do what it takes to achieve results. The Rossoneri have found their identity under Pioli, which could be massive moving forward. 

And the Mister seems to understand the sacrifice his players are ready to make to guide Milan back to their former heights. In the aftermath, Pioli heaped praise on his side. 

I laughed seeing my run [onto the pitch], I’m getting too old for this [laughs]! But I’m too happy,” Pioli told DAZN at the end of the game, as relayed by TUTTOmercatoWEB. “I have a team that never gives up, guys who want to go beyond their limits. It’s a win that must give us conviction. We have the same points as at this stage last season, so we know there’s a lot more to be done.

Milan have effectively returned in the Scudetto race, whittling down the gap on table-topping Inter to a single point. But Simone Inzaghi’s men still have a game in hand, meaning the Rossoneri can ill-afford to rest on their laurels as the 2021/22 Serie A season approaches the crunch period.