Milan unmoved by media praise or criticism, says Pioli

By Sports Desk November 07, 2020

Stefano Pioli has claimed the praise and criticism aimed at his Milan side has been excessive this season.

Milan top Serie A after a fantastic start to their campaign, dropping points just once in a frantic 3-3 draw with Roma.

The Rossoneri's long unbeaten run in all competitions came to a shuddering halt on Thursday, however, as they suffered their first defeat in 242 days, going down 3-0 to Lille in the Europa League.

Milan have scored 14 times in the league this term – behind only Inter (15), Atalanta (17) and Sassuolo (18) – while Pioli's side have conceded only five goals, tied with Juventus for the second-fewest in the division. Sunday's opponents Hellas Verona have the league's best defence, conceding just three times.

However, after finishing sixth last season, Pioli believes the plaudits Milan had received prior to their defeat to Lille were over the top, although he claimed the same can also be said of the subsequent criticism of his players, with Alessio Romagnoli and Theo Hernandez coming under particular scrutiny. 

"We create our own pressure and are very tough on ourselves, because we want to be ambitious," Pioli told reporters.

"We're not interested in what the pundits say. The important thing is to concentrate and try to win games.

"Criticism and praise are always excessive in football, so I am not remotely worried about Romagnoli, Hernandez or anyone else who is singled out.

"Our problem against Lille was that we weren’t sharp enough in our choices, didn't read the spaces they left for us, but we can analyse this and learn from it.

"We lowered the level of our performance against the wrong opponent, so we must be ready to step it back up again. [Sunday] is another opportunity to prove what we can do and show what level we are at.

"An off-day was bound to happen, we've played 10 games in 21 days, so we have to be ready to deal with that both mentally and physically. Against Lille, we found an opponent in great physical shape."

Milan have never lost a home league game against Verona, who have not won away in the league since January.

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