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Stefano Pioli Praises AC Milan's Spirit In Close Win Over SPAL

Milan luckily scrape three points from a set piece goal to give Pioli his first victory as the new manager.

AC Milan v SPAL - Serie A Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Suso scored the only goal from a free kick on the 63rd minute after coming off the bench. Milan did not kill off the game as Paqueta missed two clear chances while Castillejo hit the post in the first half. Piatek and Calhanoglu were unable to keep their shots on target while Hernandez and Calabria were kept quiet by their opposing defenders.

Stefano Pioli spoke to the press (via Sempre Milan) after AC Milan beat SPAL to say,

“I had asked the team for spirit. I think the spirit was there. We built scoring chances, but it is a shame to keep the result in balance until the end,” he said.

“The game that can change the season is always the next. I’m happy for the players, the club, the fans. We have to think about the next, game we have a very difficult and very strong opponent. In our game there were good things and others on which we must work.”

“He is a quality player, he can do more. I am happy to coach a player with these characteristics. The whole team was in the match for 95 minutes. We defended well on dead balls, I’ve seen improved situations compared to those in Rome.

“It was difficult for the SPAL to keep the pace of the first 45 minutes. In the second half, they lowered the center of gravity.

“In these games you hope to unlock them as soon as possible, the team has kept a clear head. We never fell. From the point of view of character we have done good things.”

Pioli chose to field Krzysztof Piatek over Rafael Leao as the starting centre-forward, and he explained the decision.

“I was thinking of inserting Leao if we hadn’t been able to unlock the game before the goal. We have many quality players, I can’t let them play all together until we have a better balance.

“I feel that the team can grow, if you are convinced everything is possible. We have to face the games one at a time, we must be worried about the right and fight from start to finish like we did today.

“With quality alone now matches are not won anymore. We recover energy, on Sunday evening we want to field another convincing performance.”