Pioli challenges Milan to prove itself against Verona

Victory would allow Milan to reclaim top spot in the table from city rival Inter Milan, which has a one-point lead after beating Empoli on Friday.

Pioli's AC Milan needs seven points to wrap up its first Serie A title since 2011.   -  REUTERS

AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli challenged his team to prove that it is the best in Italy when it faces Hellas Verona in Serie A on Sunday.

Victory would allow Milan to reclaim top spot in the table from city rival Inter Milan, which has a one-point lead after beating Empoli on Friday.

Milan, which is on a 13-match unbeaten run in the league, is bidding for the Scudetto for the first time since 2011 and has three games left to play - one more than Inter.

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"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 plays Atalanta at home before ending the campaign at Sassuolo on May 22.

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