Pioli lauds Milan's team spirit despite dropping points without ill Ibrahimovic

By Sports Desk February 02, 2020

Milan coach Stefano Pioli applauded the "team spirit" shown by his players even though they only claimed a 1-1 draw at home to a Hellas Verona side that had a man sent off.

A lacklustre start contributed to Milan falling behind early on, with Marco Davide Faraoni converting from close range after a left-wing cross.

Hakan Calhanoglu's 29th-minute free-kick deflected in off Valerio Verre to restore parity, though Verona looked the more threatening in the initial stages of the second period.

That was until Sofyan Amrabat was shown a straight red for a high tackle on Samu Castillejo. Yet, although they piled the pressure on towards the end, Milan – who were without the ill Zlatan Ibrahimovic – had to settle for a point.

Pioli acknowledged it was frustrating, but he opted to focus on the team's attitude and the positives.

"We conceded six shots on goal and we were not very careful because they were all dangerous occasions," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"Verona attacked us so much. The regret is having not won after the equaliser and having not taken advantage of the numerical superiority.

"There was a lot of time to put things right, instead it seemed that there were five minutes left. We had some opportunities, and we could've won even in a moment of difficulty given the many absences.

"I believe that even now the team spirit has been seen and it is making a difference. We are building something, the next four games are important, so we are recovering energy and players to be able to make the right choices in view of the next matches."

Up next for Milan is the Derby della Madonnina against bitter rivals Inter and Pioli is hopeful Ibrahimovic will be back in contention, with their central striking options somewhat limited following the departure of Krzysztof Piatek.

"I hope he [Ibrahimovic] is available in the derby," Pioli said. "He suffered a little with fatigue and flu, but there is a good chance [he can face Inter]."

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