Pioli explains ‘strict’ coaching style and three qualities that made buying Tomori a no-brainer

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has joked his mum will remind him if he doesn’t win a trophy at the club this season, insisting the team is ready for two huge games future.

Pioli gave an interview to English newspaper The Guardian in which he spoke on a number of topics including his fatherly coaching style and what he demands of his players, with PianetaMilan relaying his comments.

“If I were to end this season without trophies, my mother would remind me of that, and it’s true. In every family there is a tender parent and a tough parent. My father is the nicest, my mother the toughest. That’s how it should be, that’s how you get the best out of someone,” he said.

Of the many players who describe him as a dad: “I’m sure I look beyond the box. I go beyond the value of a footballer and get to the person. Even if we can consider them really lucky, they are young people with their life, their emotional factors, their personal connections, their difficulties.

“I am strict, until I no longer see the possibility of continuing to improve myself constantly. I don’t tolerate mediocrity and I don’t tolerate no effort being made to improve.

On what he asks his players: “If I see players who are demanding of themselves, who improve through their attitude, their work, then I’m not saying that I become like a friend, but I certainly offer my support. When I don’t see that level of commitment, I have to ask for more.

Tomori arrived at Milan in January 2021, he quickly became an important resource for the centre-back department given his speed and aggression. In the summer, there was no choice but to buy Tomori for €28m and make his loan move a permanent deal.

“I had watched videos and seen some impressive features. But Fikayo was a good surprise from every point of view. Football-wise, because he is a defender who has characteristics that the team needed: aggression, pace, ability to read the game,” he said.

“Then he is an extremely serious guy, extremely calm. We have already talked about the motivation of a player. It was easy with him because he is always determined, always enthusiastic, always positive, always listening.

“With him, really, our relationship is very simple. A few words are enough to understand each other, to develop the whole idea of ​​​​the work. He has grown a lot in these two years, but he can still improve. As he is very fast , he sometimes takes too many risks trying to anticipate the attacker too early, but being a very intelligent boy, he will also improve in this area.

Marco Serra’s decision to whistle early after Ante Rebic was fouled in injury time with the score at 1-1 proved costly as Junior Messias saw his goal erroneously scored after curling up an effort into the top corner with the referee having whistled almost simultaneously, negating the advantage he should have played.

On Serra’s error, Pioli said: “The behavior of my players has been exemplary. They showed respect for sporting values ​​and for a person who made a mistake. In sport, we all make mistakes.”

On the big games against Juventus and Inter: “It’s not a decisive moment, but an important moment. My young players are growing well. But soon the time will come to stop calling them ‘youngsters’, and just call them footballers… ready to compete for certain levels.