Stefano Pioli maintains Milan ‘would’ve deserved the victory,’ but were unable to prevent 10-man Red Star Belgrade’s equaliser, and explains their recent slump.
The Rossoneri had twice taken the lead in Belgrade’s legendary Marakana, with an own goal and soft penalty, but were pegged back to 2-2 in stoppages by a team down to 10 men.
“We return home without the victory that we would’ve deserved, as we were unable to lock it down,” Pioli told Sky Sport Italia in the Europa League Round of 32 tie.
“We need to do more when against 10 men and not allow such spaces to Red Star. It was the right approach and we had done enough to bring home the victory, but we didn’t make the most of the situation.
“We could’ve scored a third goal, but most of all not conceded the equaliser. Nonetheless, 2-2 away from home remains a positive result for the first leg.”
It was another disappointing performance after the 2-0 defeat to Spezia, so are Milan losing confidence going into the derby with Inter?
“We have to analyse our games and raise the bar for performances, because this is an important moment in our season. We can do better.
“It’s important to look at the situation overall. There was a period where we had a lot of injuries, so the same players were always out there and are now tired.
“We’ve got to get everyone back in shape. I don’t think that was the issue today, though, as we didn’t win because we didn’t have the character to score the third goal.
“The worst aspect of the night is losing Ismael Bennacer to a relapse.”
Pioli was asked about Sunday afternoon’s Scudetto showdown with Inter.
“There have been a lot of goals lately in quite balanced derbies, but I think this time the side that concedes the fewest goals will win.
“Milan and Inter are at a similar level. The derby arrives at the right moment and we are ready.”