Pioli turns attention to Torino after thumping Juve

By Sports Desk May 09, 2021

Stefano Pioli warned his Milan players against complacency after they took a significant stride towards Champions League qualification with a resounding 3-0 win over top-four rivals Juventus on Sunday. 

Brahim Diaz opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time before Franck Kessie missed the opportunity to double their advantage shortly before the hour mark, when Wojciech Szczesny pawed away his penalty. 

It mattered little in the end, though, as substitute Ante Rebic and Fikayo Tomori sealed a first away Serie A win against the Bianconeri since March 2011 inside the final 12 minutes. 

The victory was Milan's 14th away from home in the league this season, with only Inter in 2006-07 (15) registering more in a single campaign in the history of the competition. 

Pioli was thrilled with his side's efforts, but says they need to quickly turn their focus to Wednesday, when they return to Turin to face Torino. 

"This was a team that believed, that showed a spirit of sacrifice, that gave it's all and showed quality, too," he told Sky Sport Italia.  

"We want to thank our fans, who really moved us this morning with their support, but now we have another game coming up and that might be even more difficult than this."

The win moved the Rossoneri up to third in the table, three points above Juve, who dropped down to fifth with just three games remaining. 

Pioli hailed the determination of his team after they scored three goals away to Juve for the first time since January 2010. 

"We have had big wins this season, but admittedly this was a head-to-head, with the table so tight and so much in the balance," he added. "Unfortunately, it is not the final game of the season so we still have to keep going.

"When it comes to determination, team spirit and preparation to sacrifice, we were perhaps the best team in Italy for a long period of time.

"There was inevitably some mental fatigue after a long campaign, but we knew that today we had to step it up and put in a different performance.

"When it was time to make challenges and fight for every ball, we did not hold back."

Rebic replaced Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 66th minute, the Sweden international limping off with a knee injury. 

Pioli, though, is confident it is nothing serious. 

"Zlatan was not at 100 per cent, he had half a training session with us on Friday, but he wanted to be here at all costs," he said. 

"He has a sore knee, but I don't think it's anything serious. We'll evaluate it."

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    The 25-year-old ended Australia's 44-year wait for a singles champion in Melbourne by beating Danielle Collins 6-3 7-6 (7-2) on Saturday.

    World number one Barty claimed her third grand slam title, landing the trophy without dropping a set.

    All the talk at the tournament focused on Barty ending Australia's drought, but the reigning Wimbledon champion said her ability to just enjoy herself was key.

    "I think the expectation was that I would always come out and give my best, and that's all I've ever done," she told a news conference.

    "I have been close before, but I think now that we've been able to achieve this, I think you guys don't need to talk about it anymore.

    "You were the ones who added fuel to the fire, because for us it was just the same processes and the same enjoyment, regardless of where we're playing in the world, what round it is. That has no impact on how much I enjoy my tennis and go out there or how much I try and compete.

    "I think it's being able to really simplify that and then just come out and enjoy it. I mean, this fortnight, seven times I got to walk out onto a beautiful court with incredible fans and try and do the best I can do, and that's all I could ask of myself.

    "Now to be able to have this part of my dream kind of achieved is amazing, and I think I have to really understand that that came from the processes that we put in with my team and the people that are around me, because without them, I wouldn't be half the person that I am."

    Barty came from 5-1 down in the second set to overcome Collins, sealing her victory with a forehand cross-court passing winner.

    After a successful fortnight, Barty screamed in delight to celebrate her win.

    "It was a little bit surreal. I think I didn't quite know what to do or what to feel, and I think just being able to let out a little bit of emotion, which is a little bit unusual for me, and I think being able to celebrate with everyone who was there in the crowd, the energy was incredible tonight," she said.

    "I think being able to understand how much work my team and I have done behind the scenes and over the last few years, to get to this point to be able to have this opportunity was really special.

    "I think it just kind of all came out at once, and yeah, it was a really, really special moment."

  • Giroud grateful to be learning from Ibrahimovic: 'He's an example for many strikers' Giroud grateful to be learning from Ibrahimovic: 'He's an example for many strikers'

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    Ibrahimovic has made a big impact in his second spell with Milan since returning to the club in January 2020, scoring 36 goals in 66 appearances in all competitions.

    That includes a return of 33 goals in 52 Serie A outings, which is the eighth-most of any player in the division over that period.

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    "There's still areas we continue to work on still, she's got to get better at. I'm not going to tell what you they are because that's giving away a few too many secrets. But there's still room for improvement," he told a news conference.

    "I think what she's done really well is just she's enjoyed it. She's been really composed and enjoyed playing. Like tonight, we knew what the challenges were going to be, like Danielle can just blow you off the court at times. So she was looking forward to that challenge, 'Okay, how do I figure out how to beat this girl who can just hit you into the corners and hurt you every time you drop it short?'

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