Pioli: “I want Brahim to stay. Theo is incredible”

Pioli: "Quiero que Brahim se quede. Theo es increíble"


After almost 20 years training, Stefano Pioli He already got the award he deserved. She caught a milan eleventh and it took him to the title rejecting labels, without ever feeling like the fashion coach. The scudetto will appear on the shirts rossonere (and on his skin: he has already had it tattooed) thanks to his work, silent and humble. for something the tifosi They sing “Pioli is on fire”.

– Mister, they have just experienced an unforgettable party.

– It’s been amazing. It is one of the most beautiful things that can happen to you. see our tifosi happy has been the most rewarding of everything we did.

– The medal had been stolen… Has it been returned to you?

– They haven’t given it to me yet, but they already have it stored at Casa Milan (laugh).

– At what point did you think the scudetto was possible?

– We always believed, but there were two key games. The comeback in the derby and the victory over the buzzer against Lazio. Having won the last six games, despite having the worst schedule, showed our mental strength.

– He said Theo could become the best winger in the world. His season and the great goal with Atalanta proved him right…

– It has been spectacular… And rare. If you look at the play, he could have done a thousand other things. He was able to pass the ball earlier, get help from a teammate, shoot earlier, all things that were perhaps appropriate. But Theo is like the wrath of God, he has incredible strength and determination. This year he has become a more complete player, it felt good for him to go to France, because that means having reached a high level. He is already one of the best full-backs in the world, but I still believe he still has room for improvement.

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Photo by Brahim Diaz

– The ex-madridista, Maignan, Kalulu, Bakayoko, Giroud: he is a very French Milan.

– The French have a peculiar characteristic: in the field they never give up, they give everything. And when I work with people like that, I feel good. They raised the level of the team.

– Brahim started very well. After having covid, it was difficult for him to return to his best level of form.

– Many forget that Brahim is still young and that it was his first experience as a starter in a big team. He has also happened to Tonali a year ago, it can happen that such important pressure leads to some ups and downs. He started great, I agree, then the injuries and the covid took away his confidence, and perhaps also some decision of mine. I am sure, however, that he is a great footballer, with enormous quality and very useful for the way we play.

– Do you want him to stay, then?

– Yes of course.

– Do you think that Serie A can get closer to the other big leagues again?

– The level is rising thanks to the ‘small’ teams, which are developing a more intense and offensive football. We should have fewer breaks during matches and less wasted time. In Europe the intensity is higher, and we pay for that. That yes, there is a difference of important investments and that is an unavoidable weight.

– You are in favor of effective time.

– That already happens in several sports. I don’t accept being told that there is an 8-minute discount, because if you don’t intervene when a team loses time, you take away the intensity of the game. It would be a rule that would bring benefits, especially in Italy.

Photo by Theo Hernandez

– Ancelotti thinks like you. By the way, has he called you?

– Carlo often talks with Maldini, he congratulated me through him. He is a big one. He won in all the leagues, he has an intelligence and a sensitivity that goes beyond normal. He knows how to manage great teams and great players like nobody else.

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– With Carletto Asensio works, who played for Milan. He would like?

– He’s a great player, but he’s from Madrid and I’m too happy with my players to talk about others.

– He showed that you can also win with many young people.

– The club’s idea was that, but there was enormous support for our work. They know that if you work with young people, you need time, but we reached this result because people like Zlatan, Giroud, Maignan and Florenzi were a reference for the little ones. There was a perfect mix, empathy between everyone, and that made us give more than 100%.

– Why is it so difficult in Italy to bet on young talent?

– I think that no coach cares about the player’s age. We are still not working to get more talents. We have to talk about that with the clubs, about how and how much they invest in the quarries. I have been a youth coach, and I know that one of the most important things is to choose the right coach for each age. Then you have to know how to understand which players can go far, even if they are not ready yet. Is not easy.

– Do you use big data a lot in your daily life?

– Everything has changed. When I started, I only had one collaborator and now I have a coaching staff of 11 people. In fact, I’m going to order another one for gaming trends. You have to know how to read this data, we use it above all for positioning, seeing which players perform better together. Of course, the sensations at the end make the difference. It is difficult for me to choose a player because an analyst tells me that he had 78% accuracy. I still believe in the looks of my footballers, and in what they transmit to me.

Shield/Flag Milan

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– Donnarumma, Calhanoglu and now Kessie. How is a top managed when its departure is safe?

– Looking only at what the field says. I never saw any of them be shallow. I saw enormous attention, professionalism and the desire to show that they were very good. They worked great and for that I always wish them all the best, as I wish Franck. He is a boy who has proven to be a great player and a great person, always working with a smile. I hope everything goes great for him, at Barça or wherever, except if we meet in the Champions League. I hope to beat it there (laughs).

– Is a stronger Milan expected in the Champions League?

– Yes, definitely. This year’s games have taught us a lot and, moreover, we will be in Pot 1. We have grown in value and experience, we are going to play this competition with the idea of ​​qualifying.

– Do you think your work was not recognized enough before?

– In football it’s normal. I always felt appreciated where I worked, trying to leave everything better than I found it. Now let me be praised with the shield it’s part of the game. But this is how it is, or you are very good, or very bad… Labels don’t interest me, each coach has his ideas. On Saturday we will see a final with two huge coaches, but with different ideas. There are many ways, but the best solution is always the one that makes your players comfortable. They are the ones who make the difference.

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