The 2022/23 season begins, which the Rossoneri will face as champions of Italy and with the Tricolore on their chest. Following the first training session of pre-season, Coach Stefano Pioli spoke to the press about the campaign ahead:
"Our strength last season was believing in our players, our qualities and our values. We created such a synergy and spirit that we were able to triumph. These are characteristics that need to be maintained and improved. We need to question ourselves day after day. I’m convinced that none of my players have reached their full potential."
"It’s been a great and exciting summer. I’ve enjoyed time with my family and friends, and I’ve met a huge number of fans who have given me joy. I’m bringing this enthusiasm along with me and I want to maintain it throughout the season. I’ve worked with Maldini and Massara on a daily basis. The compact nature of the Club has allowed us to achieve what we have."
BUILDING ON BEFORE
"We’ll need to raise the bar. We’ve motivated our opponents and we’ll need to improve even more to build on what we’ve done. We need be aware of the reason why we achieved this success. I’ll be working with a mature and motivated group; we’ve remained in contact and I know that I’m managing serious players and people. The pressure and expectations will rise; 5-6 teams could compete for the Scudetto but we want to carry on being successful.”
"We have ideas but certain situations need to be assessed first. Pobega is back, and he’ll add physicality, while Adli is an interesting and intelligent player. He’s good on a technical level and able to get away from his marker. He’s also adept at playing balls forward, and it’ll be our job to figure out where we can make the most of his qualities. We’ll see that the market offers. The directors and Club are very attentive and will know how to make the best decisions. We’ll be ready on 13 August."
IBRA, LEÃO AND BENNACER
"You know what I think about Zlatan. I spoke to him this morning, he’s doing fine and recovering. I hope I’ll be able to carry on working with him because he’s a champion in everything. He’s discussing a new deal with the Club and I’m expecting to see him as soon as possible. Rafa is 23 years old and still isn’t complete yet. With the qualities he has, he’ll have to be even more incisive when we attack. I expect a lot from Isma; he can do very well."
"We learnt a lot from last year’s experience. I don’t think we can think about winning the Champions League; there are teams that can spend more and it’s difficult to compete with them. However, I’m sure that last season’s negative experience has made the team grow. We’ll wait for the draw on 25 August as we look to have all the necessary motivation to do well in Europe, too."
"I want to concentrate more on the process, which will involve displaying tenacity and courage and playing to win every single game. It’s better to focus on our work and preparations; we’ll play 21 matches in three months before a very long break. Our preparations began today, and we need to be in the best possible shape when the league kicks off."
KESSIE AND ROMAGNOLI
"I bid them a warm farewell. We shared a great journey together and they both made an important contribution. They’re two great professionals and I wish them all the best because they deserve it."
"He needed to return to Brazil and will be replaced. I bid him farewell and thank him for his contribution, especially as regards to Mike."
CHANGE OF FORMATION
"I’d like to highlight Kjær’s recovery. He was out for seven months and is very important to us. With the characteristics we have, a three-man defence is a possible solution that would need to be developed carefully."
"We’ll replicate last season’s workload; we won’t change much. The first ten days will be a bit different because those who arrive on the 15th won’t play on the 16th in Cologne. We have a work schedule that will ensure that we’ll be ready."
"The pecking order will change game after game; this has always been our strength. I don’t have a starting eleven in my head because we have too many matches coming up to consider the possibility of someone playing all 21 fixtures from 13 August to 16 November. We’ll have two strong players with different characteristics up front. This is a very important aspect in such a tactical league. Origi is intelligent and I expect a lot from him."