Pioli urges Milan to pile on the points before World Cup break

By Sports Desk October 29, 2022

Stefano Pioli believes Milan are capable of going beyond the 85-point mark in Serie A and insists that is the target as a title battle with Napoli looms.

There are other teams who could also be a factor, but Napoli are the side who have made a flying start, and defending champions Milan were their closest challengers heading into this weekend.

The Rossoneri head coach says it is not essential that his team head the table when the World Cup break comes around next month, but he is wary of letting Napoli build any sort of substantial lead.

Luciano Spalletti's team have already beaten Milan this season, which remains the only league defeat suffered by Pioli's men through 11 rounds of games.

On Sunday, Milan head to Torino, and they only managed a goalless draw in the corresponding game last season.

With only three more Serie A matchdays remaining after this weekend before the World Cup leads to a seven-week pause, Pioli wants Milan to go into the interval on a high.

"We started at the beginning of the season with two objectives: to be as advanced as possible in the league on November 13 and to overcome the group in the Champions League," Pioli said.

Milan will have achieved the second of those aims if they avoid defeat to Salzburg at San Siro on Wednesday, as the games come thick and fast.

"We have many important games in a few days, but the team are doing well," Pioli said. "I have players who are available and strong.

"I will field those who I consider appropriate to win these challenges. Tomorrow is the most important, we are prepared to face it in the best possible way.

"We need to score as many points as possible. It will not be decisive to be first on November 13, but you have to get above 85 points. The more games you win now, the better."

It is not always the case, but passing 85 points is usually enough to land a Scudetto. The last team to top that mark but miss out on the title were Napoli in the 2017-18 season, when they posted 91 but finished four points behind Juventus.

Milan accumulated 86 points last term to pip Inter by two points.

Torino sit 10th in the table, and Pioli said Milan would need to show "quality and personality" on Sunday, predicting heavy pressure from the hosts.

"We want to give continuity by looking for a streak of results as long as possible. Napoli are doing very well and winning on Sunday would be important," Pioli said.

Brahim Diaz, who scored twice in the 4-1 win over Monza last weekend before being substituted with a muscle injury, has been passed fit for the game in Turin.

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