Stefano Pioli urges AC Milan not to get ahead of themselves

By Sports Desk March 29, 2024

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli is refusing to look any further ahead than Saturday’s Serie A trip to Fiorentina as he targets a rousing finish to the season.

The Rossoneri, who have won their last five games in all competitions, head for the Stadio Artemio Franchi sitting in second place in the table, 14 points adrift of derby rivals Inter, but only three clear of Juventus in third.

With the prospect of Europa League glory still very much alive – they face compatriots Roma in the quarter-finals – the campaign could yet end on a high note, although Pioli, who will be without the suspended Theo Hernandez, will not allow his players to get ahead of themselves.

He told a press conference: “A decisive period is about to begin. We’ll need to focus on playing the best football we can as we look to improve the level of our performances with two very important months in store.

“We have nine league matches remaining and we hope we’ll also be involved in five more Europa League fixtures. Every game will be important, starting from Fiorentina. They’re a team that have often caused us problems.

“It’s only normal to talk about the future when there’s an international break, but I’m focused on doing the best I can in the next 60 days so we can finish the season in the best way possible.

“Conclusions can only be drawn at the end, so we’ll take it one game at a time.”

Fiorentina have proved tricky opponents in recent seasons – in the last six league encounters, the sides have been separated by just one goal, and La Viola have won the last two games they have hosted.

Milan’s latest visit to Florence comes with the home team still mourning the loss of general manager Joe Barone, who collapsed and died at the age of 57 as the Fiorentina party prepared to leave the team hotel for their league clash with Atalanta earlier this month.

Pioli, whose side won the reverse fixture in November 1-0, said: “It’s not the first time that Fiorentina have experienced a complicated situation. Florence and the team’s fans are fantastic when there is a need to come together to overcome difficult moments like a bereavement.

“We expect a special atmosphere at the start in memory of a person who did so much for the club.”

Vincenzo Italiano’s side, who head into the weekend in eighth place and four points adrift of the top six, have not played since a 1-1 Europa Conference League draw with Maccabi Haifa on March 14 with the Atalanta game having been postponed after Barone was rushed to hospital.

Italiano said: “We need to restart and honour our director with all the things that were his: passion, love and attachment to this city, these colours and this club.”

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