Stefano Pioli believes Milan will learn from their Champions League loss to Liverpool and must play with ‘superior concentration and intensity’ against Juventus. ‘I don’t think we’re the favourites tomorrow.’
It kicks off on Sunday at the Allianz Juventus Stadium at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).
The coach revealed in his press conference that both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Olivier Giroud are out of action, as the Swede is still struggling with an inflamed Achilles tendon, while the Frenchman aggravated lumbago during a substitute appearance at Anfield.
Milan miss Ibrahimovic and Giroud against Juventus
That 3-2 defeat, having been 2-1 up at half-time, to Liverpool in the Champions League was their first loss of the season in all competition.
“We were burned by Liverpool at the start of that match, and so were our fans,” confessed Pioli, admitting they could easily have been further behind than 1-0, especially after Mike Maignan saved Mohamed Salah’s penalty.
“We struggled, but the reality is also that the team was able to react against a very strong opponent. We must also be aware that there is still a difference in level.
“We won in Serie A because we put more quality into it than our opponents, which is also why we lost at Liverpool. I hope that experience can help us grow a great deal, though.”
Nonetheless, Milan have started with three wins out of three in Serie A, whereas Juventus have only one point and risk falling 11 behind the leaders by the end of Week 4.
“I am pleased to meet Max Allegri again, a great coach and a very intelligent man. It was unexpected to see Juve in this situation, but I still don’t think we’ll be the favourites tomorrow. Juve have great champions and tradition, I hope for a balanced game. Whoever plays the best football will have a better chance of winning.
“It is an important match for both teams, a head-to-head. I expect Juve to be aggressive, but we can beat them if we play with superior concentration and intensity. We need to do better in midfield, which is what we were lacking at Anfield.”
Pioli was asked if he considers Milan to be among the favourites for the Scudetto, especially as they were leading for much of last season and finished second.
“We feel that we are a strong team, and prepare to win every game. We were up against a stronger side on Wednesday, that will be motivation to raise the bar even more. It’s very competitive in Serie A because the top seven teams are all on a similar level and we must try to do better on the day.
“I remain convinced that the decisive factor in the final table will be who gets the most points in the head-to-heads of the top seven.”
LIVE MN – Pioli: “Domani Ibra e Giroud non saranno della partita” https://t.co/rvh03Gjwk1
— MilanNews.it (@MilanNewsit) September 18, 2021