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Stefano Pioli reacts to Milan’s victory vs Napoli, hails ‘champion’ Leao, offers injury update on Brahim Diaz

AC Milan tore Napoli apart with a thumping 4-0 away win in Serie A at Diego Maradona Stadium yesterday.

The Rossoneri were low in confidence after going three matches without a victory, but they returned to form with an exceptional performance against the league leaders.

Rafael Leao grabbed the headlines with a sensational brace, while Brahim Diaz – who set up Leao’s second goal – and Alexis Saelemaekers also netted.

Milan manager Stefano Pioli, who had earlier issued a warning to the Partenopei, lived up to his word to hand Luciano Spalletti’s men their third defeat this season.

Piol was not carried away by the win, insisting his side continues with a similar attitude for the remainder of the season.

“I’m happy with the win,” Pioli told DAZN. “It’s only the first step – there are nine other league games where we have to have the same attitude because we’ve thrown away opportunities in the past. It mustn’t happen again.”

The Italian manager was also full of praise for Leao, who ended his rough patch by rising to the occasion against the Neapolitans.

Pioli added: “Leao never left. He scored two goals, one from a centre-forward role and one from out wide.

“These young guys, even when there are times when it seems like they aren’t improving, are instead assimilating and then they come out.

“Leao will become a champion because he has incredible potential and he’s a smart boy.”

Diaz also had a night to remember at Maradona as he produced one of his finest performances of this season.

The Spanish playmaker, currently on loan from Real Madrid, doubled the lead for Rossoneri before providing an eye-catching assist for Leao in the second half.

However, his performance was slightly overshadowed when he was substituted in the second half after feeling some discomfort.

Pioli said that Diaz was only taken off as a precautionary measure. It didn’t have any consequences, with his replacement Saelemaekers delivering the goods.

“Diaz went out because he opened his adductors in the middle of the first half – he had a problem,” said Pioli.

“He didn’t want to go out, but I didn’t want to risk it – then I made a nice substitution because Saelemaekers did well.”

Milan have leapfrogged Inter Milan into third place in Serie A. They will face Empoli this weekend before squaring off again with Napoli in the Champions League quarter-finals.

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