AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli has praised his side’s comprehensive 2-0 victory over top-four hopefuls Atalanta yesterday.
Milan have come out from a troubled January period that saw them record just one win in seven games across all competitions.
Pioli tweaked his set-up, and it seems to have worked a treat, with Milan winning four consecutive games for the first time since the tail end of last season.
The victory over Atalanta was particularly impressive. The Rosonerri stopped Gian Piero Gasperini’s free-scoring side from registering a single shot on target throughout the game.
Pioli was delighted with his team’s performance and praised their ‘excellent victory’ before claiming his team have fully recovered from the January fiasco.
“It was important to give continuity to the results obtained previously,” Pioli said (via Gianluca Di Marzio).
“It was an excellent victory against a strong team like Atalanta. Messias’ goal was a great satisfaction. We were winning, and we closed it.
“The team has recovered from that period faced previously, we had raised our expectations, and at that moment we paid for it.
“Of course, the championship is long, and earning a place in the Champions League in the top 4 is not easy. We will do our best. Now let’s think about the match in Florence.”
First-choice goalkeeper Mike Maignan made his long-awaited comeback from a lengthy injury lay-off and marked it with a clean sheet although he did not have much to do.
Club legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic also made his return from a nine-month injury after replacing Olivier Giroud in the 74th minute.
Pioli was delighted to welcome the influential duo back to the first-team squad and insisted they will be essential to the team’s top-four push going forward.
“Maignan and Zlatan are not just two players on the team, they are two important leaders, on and off the pitch,” Pioli added. “It is essential for us to have recovered them. They will help us even more.”
Milan travel to face struggling Fiorentina next weekend, which could prove a tough test as La Viola will be desperate to end their abysmal run of six league games without a win.