(Reuters) – AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli challenged his team to prove that they are the best in Italy when they face Hellas Verona in Serie A on Sunday.
Victory would allow Milan to reclaim top spot in the table from city rivals Inter Milan, who have a one-point lead after beating Empoli on Friday.
Milan, who are on a 13-match unbeaten run in the league, are bidding for the Scudetto for the first time since 2011 and have three games left to play – one more than Inter.
“We need seven points to do something extraordinary and to show that we are the best in this league,” Pioli told a news conference on Saturday.
“We have to play as Milan, then if we win 1-0 or with a few more goals the important thing is to be a team and play with emotion.”
Pioli denied that Inter’s 4-2 win over Empoli had increased the pressure on his side.
“We are fine because we are well in our minds. The mental aspect is what makes the difference,” Pioli said, adding that instead of the Inter game, he had watched Carlos Alcaraz beat Rafa Nadal at the Madrid Open tennis tournament.
Pioli said his team needed to be wary of Verona’s attacking threat would look to hit their opponents on the counter.
“Verona’s offensive department is very dangerous, we should be very good at being very compact and focused in defence, and then recover the ball and put them in trouble,” he added.
Pioli did not say whether he would start veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has come off the bench in Milan’s last two games after being hampered by a knee injury for much of the season.
After Verona, Milan play Atalanta at home before ending the campaign at Sassuolo on May 22.
(Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk; Editing by Hugh Lawson)