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‘It’s not the time to talk, it’s time to do’ – Pioli urges Milan to focus on end game

Serie A - Salernitana v AC Milan
Soccer Football – Serie A – Salernitana v AC Milan – Stadio Arechi, Salerno, Italy – February 19, 2022 AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

(Reuters) – AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli urged his side to focus on the task at hand as they close in on a first Serie A title since 2011 this season, calling for calm heads ahead of the final few games.

Milan hold a two-point lead over champions Inter Milan in second with four games of the Serie A season to go, with Fiorentina the next side looking to derail Pioli’s team in their quest for the Scudetto on Sunday.

“This is not the time to talk, it is the time to do,” Pioli told a news conference on Saturday.

“A warm heart and calm head is needed until the end of the season. We need energy, we play a style of football that requires intensity and effort, but then we have to be calm in understanding the game.

“Great concentration and great desire to do our job and do it well until the end is what we want. There are no other thoughts, we’re not thinking about May 22, we’re thinking about tomorrow. And that’s how it has to be.”

Pioli is taking nothing for granted, with Inter so close behind. Before their surprise midweek loss at Bologna, the champions had not been beaten in Serie A in eight matches.

“I don’t like the idea that everything will go well for us, or that it will go the way we want it to go,” Pioli added.

“We prepared for the game, knowing that in the game we have to put everything we have into it.

“The game with Lazio last Sunday was fundamental, tomorrow will be fundamental, with (Hellas) Verona (next weekend) I’ll say it will be fundamental. I don’t like to say they are all finals, but they are.”

Pioli also said midfielder Ismael Bennacer could make a return to action on Sunday having recovered from an ankle injury.

(Reporting by Peter Hall, editing by Pritha Sarkar)