AC Milan joined rival Inter Milan at the top of Serie A in midweek, but Juventus are favourites to win this season’s Scudetto, according to Milan manager Stefano Pioli.
After its embarrassing 5-1 defeat in the derby, Milan’s 3-1 win at Cagliari on Wednesday, combined with Inter’s first loss of the season, 2-1 at home to Sassuolo, sees the two rival clubs level on 15 points at the Serie A summit.
“Top spot counts for nothing at this stage of the season, only the desire to do well counts,” Pioli told reporters on Friday ahead of their home game with Lazio on Saturday.
“There are no easy games, but there are also no impossible games.”
Champion Napoli is four points behind the leaders in fifth place, while Juventus sits in third, just two points adrift of the two Milanese clubs.
Pioli expects these clubs to battle it out for the league title, and a Juventus side with no European games is clearly a worry.
“There are four clubs who will fight for the Scudetto, with Juventus the favourites because not playing all the cups can bring you extra points.”
Pioli’s side will travel to face Borussia Dortmund four days after its clash with Lazio. Olivier Giroud was rested midweek, which gave Noah Okafor his first start, and the Swiss international scored his first goal for the club.
“I knew him as a winger but I wanted to test him as a central striker. He was very willing.
“I’m happy with what he did at Cagliari. Obviously, he has different characteristics from Giroud, as well as from (Luka) Jovic. We will also be able to play with two strikers in some games.”
Another player who impressed in the win over Cagliari was French midfielder Yacine Adli. The 23-year-old made just one start last season, but his first appearance of this campaign suggested he may have a bigger role to play this time around.
“He had great patience and mental strength, given that he didn’t play much. He needed time to understand a new position... as a playmaker, you play one way, as a midfielder another way.
“We know that he cannot be perfect in that position yet, but with his willingness, we can do an excellent job.”
Lazio is down in 12th place, eight points behind Milan and Inter. It recorded just its second league win of the season with a 2-0 victory over Torino on Wednesday.
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