Football

Stefano Pioli Says AC Milan ‘In Good Shape’ Ahead Of Lecce Clash

AC Milan sit comfortably in second place in Serie A, six clear of Juventus but 14 adrift of city rivals Inter Milan, and have a mouth-watering Europa League quarter-final tie against Roma to look forward to, with the first leg being played at home next Thursday

Adam Davy/PA
AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli is pleased with the condition of his side as they enter the final run-in at home and in Europe. Photo: Adam Davy/PA
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AC Milan are in good physical and mental shape for the crucial games ahead, their coach Stefano Pioli said ahead of the visit of Lecce to San Siro. (More Football News)

The Rossoneri sit comfortably in second place in Serie A, six clear of Juventus but 14 adrift of city rivals Inter Milan, and have a mouth-watering Europa League quarter-final tie against Roma to look forward to, with the first leg being played at home next Thursday.

Lecce, who have made a positive start under new coach Luca Gotti with four points out of six, will have it all to do against an in-form Milan who are looking for a fifth straight Serie A win.

“We’re coming into the important part of the season in good shape, especially mentally, and I think our play is at a good level too,” Pioli told reporters at a pre-match press conference.

“Having managed to work with a lot of players consistently in every training session and in every game and not having had any setbacks, or any problems during the week, automatically ensures the team is in good condition.

“I am ever more convinced that (the players’) physical condition depends on their mental state.

“We have already had four wins in a row earlier this season but came up short at the fifth – tomorrow we have a new chance to make the most of our qualities with lots of focus and concentration, because we face a team that since changing coach has yet to concede a goal.

“They created a lot of problems for Roma in their last match. We’ll need a convincing performance.

“So far we are doing very well. We must continue like this because the end of the season will determine various situations.”

Pioli welcomes Danish defender Simon Kjaer back from injury but will be missing Malick Thiaw, who has a foot problem.

“As a precaution he will be left at home, but with the great hope that he can be there against the Giallorossi.”

Pioli praised the efforts of forwards Rafael Leao and Samuel Chukwueze ahead of the Lecce match.

“We arrive at the most important moment with Rafa in excellent condition, I am very happy with what he is doing,” Pioli said.

On Chukwueze, he added: “I am very satisfied with his journey, we had a video meeting with him on Friday, his data is even superior to that of (his time at) Villarreal, he must continue like this.”

Lecce were the opponents the very first time Pioli coached the Rossoneri back in October 2019.

The club are 13th, four points above the relegation zone.

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