AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli remained optimistic despite a dispiriting 2-0 first-leg loss to Inter Milan in the Champions League semifinal on Wednesday which he put down to their opponent’s clinical finishing.
Inter grabbed two early goals through Edin Dzeko and Henrikh Mkhitaryan and will take a big advantage into the second leg back at the San Siro on Tuesday.
“The reality is that Inter performed better in the first half, scoring two goals, while Milan showed improvement in the second half but failed to find the net,” Pioli told Amazon Prime Italia.
The loss to Inter was Milan’s third defeat by its neighbour in a single season, something it has not experienced since the 1994-95 campaign.
Milan secured a 3-2 win over Inter in Serie A in September before suffering back-to-back defeats, 3-0 in the Italian Super Cup and 1-0 in Serie A.
Pioli, however, praised his team’s resilience as it bids to stay on course to win the European Cup for the eighth time, 16 years after its last triumph in 2007.
“We had the chances in the second half so naturally, in the second leg, we need more quality and a more aggressive attitude,” he said.
Striker Rafael Leao missed the match due to a stomach injury, but Pioli believes the Portuguese international may be fit for the second leg.
“He was not in any condition to play today, there are six days to go and we hope he’ll be ready,” he said.
Last season’s Italian champion Milan has won only two of its last six domestic matches and is just outside the top four in the standings with four games left.
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