Serie A TIM


45 days have gone since the squad first met at Milanello for pre-season 2021/22 and it's now time for Serie A football. AC Milan travel to Sampdoria for matchday one. Stefano Pioli spoke to the press ahead of the match at Marassi, the first of 38 games in the new Serie A season.

"I think it's the strongest AC Milan that I’ve had. The players are much more aware and grown, I’ve found guys like Tonali and Leão to be more mature. Tomorrow, there will be absentees, but the whole group is solid: we want to win all the games, and if we combine humility and ambition we’ll be able to do well. We’ll also have a stage to perform on that we wanted at all costs, the Champions League, in which we want to try and be protagonists."

"Sampdoria are a team that defend very well, they have quality up front and a clear identity. They are dangerous on set pieces; it’ll certainly be a difficult opening match. We’re doing well and we want to start in the best possible way by winning tomorrow night's match."

"I’m very happy with the new arrivals: They’re all winners and they're all experienced at a high level, with important mentalities. They know what it means to win and have come into a group that is much more motivated than before and eager to work well. We’ve done everything necessary to be ready and to play well, starting from tomorrow."

"I’m excited because the beginning always provides special feelings. I know that we are at a great Club with high expectations, so we are proud to wear these colours. I’m sure of our work and convinced of our quality and the desire to feel connected. And I'm excited about the idea of seeing our fans, who will provide us with the desire to go beyond our limits."

"We’ll all have to pass weekly exams and even several times a week with the arrival of the Champions League. I’m convinced that I’m coaching guys with good qualities and values who are developing well, and Sandro is one of them. He has qualities that few have, he takes more responsibility in the most difficult games and must continue on this path. I think he’s growing well and in a consistent manner."

"I’m very happy with Mike. He’s a guy who is full of desire, possesses great quality, he’s very curious and always tries to learn. From his gameplay to the building out from the back, he’s settled in very well. He’s a very strong goalkeeper who will certainly make a contribution."

"Next week will be very important for Ibra because he will reach a peak in terms of the work he’s carrying out to recover. If everything goes well, he’ll be able to return to the group during the international break. He’s our leader, both in terms of his charisma and his technical ability; he’s a very important point of reference for us and is highly motivated. Franck had an unusual summer, but he’s been very calm and focused. I believe that both parties want to continue together, but I’ve seen a relaxed player who can’t wait to return to the team."

"He’s a great professional and a person of substance. Furthermore, he’s a very intelligent player. He knows where to move on the pitch and is able to attack in behind or play a supporting role. He’s also a fantastic finisher in the penalty area. He has a desire to learn and be with the others, which is why he’s settled in very well. We were involved in some high-level friendlies against teams who were ahead of us in terms of their preparations, especially Nice, Valencia and Real Madrid. We had more of the ball in Trieste, but I think that Olivier can play well in various situations."

(Photo LaPresse)