Serie A: Stefano Pioli claims AC Milan is 'forming an identity'

Head coach Stefano Pioli claimed Milan's players are "forming an identity" but was coy on a surge for a Champions League place.

Stefano Pioli has regularly faced scrutiny over his position since taking charge of AC Milan.   -  Getty Images

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli claimed his players have started to embrace his football philosophy but was coy on their hopes of securing a Champions League place.

The Rossoneri moved up to eighth place in Serie A after a 1-0 win over Torino on Monday thanks to Croatia forward Ante Rebic's first-half strike.

It ensured Milan went unbeaten in nine home games in a row in all competitions for the first time since January 2017.

Pioli, 54, has regularly faced scrutiny over his position during a testing season, having replaced Marco Giampaolo in October last year.

"I am happy with both the result and the performance, we are forming an identity and a way of being on the pitch," Pioli said in his post-match news conference.

"And we still have 14 games to go up the table. We are always under scrutiny, but it is normal and also beautiful in certain respects. You can't think about the future now, there is still so much to do, the future will be decided at the end of the season.

READ | Milan 1-0 Torino: Rebic strike secures first win in four

"I had asked for an important effort. We also suffered because of us because we could immediately end the game in the second half. I am satisfied with the team's recent performances, but it can be improved in the final phase of matches."

Pioli, however, played down his side's chances of making a sustained end-of-season surge to finish in Serie A's top four.

Milan is still 10 points behind Atalanta, which occupies the fourth Champions League spot after 24 matches of the season, with Pioli keen to keep expectation levels grounded.

"Can we dream of the Champions League? There is only room to prepare well for the next game in five days," Pioli added. "It is a difficult match against a strong Fiorentina, then we will think about the league table from Saturday evening.

"Winning, gritting one's teeth and fighting is positive. We could certainly have finished the game earlier. Zlatan Ibrahimovic came out angry because he wanted to end the game, instead we missed some chances in transition and we had to suffer to the end."

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