HomeSerie AWe're not worried by what others say, there is more to come...

We’re not worried by what others say, there is more to come from Milan, says Pioli

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – Serie A – U.S. Sassuolo v AC Milan – Mapei Stadium – Citta del Tricolore, Reggio Emilia, Italy – May 22, 2022 AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli celebrates after winning the Serie A REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

MILAN (Reuters) – AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli insisted there is more to come from his side this season after they won their first Serie A title in 11 years last term, even though few have predicted they will defend their Scudetto.

The return of big names Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba to Inter Milan and Juventus respectively has led many experts to give them the edge over Milan, who have had a relatively quiet close season in the transfer market.

Pioli, however, who collected the first trophy of his 19-year coaching career as Milan edged out Inter to take the title, believes his team should not be underestimated.

“We have never worried about what people say about us outside Milanello (Milan’s training ground),” Pioli told a news conference on Friday to look ahead of Milan’s season opener against Udinese.

“It’s a strong Milan. I saw the same attitudes in my players last season and this always makes me think positively. I’m convinced that none of us, myself included, has reached the highest level.

“It will be a very balanced championship and I think it will be difficult for everyone to improve on last season. All the top eight are at a high level, the mid-table ones have grown. It will be a good fight.”

Belgian midfielder Charles De Ketelaere and forward Divock Origi are the club’s only major arrivals so far this transfer window, but Pioli added there is still time for that to change.

“I am very happy and delighted with who has arrived,” he said. “If there is a chance to improve the squad, we will not back down.

“Origi is showing me the characteristics of a complete striker — he knows how to communicate with his team mates, connect the game, extend the team.

“We will have to give the new signings some time, but I am very happy with what they are showing.”

Pioli can rely on a full squad for Saturday’s season opener, except for midfielder Sandro Tonali, who is recovering from a muscle injury.

(Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Christian Radnedge)