Win over Lazio would be worth double, says Stefano Pioli

The Rossoneri is second ahead of its trip to Rome, eight points ahead of the sixth-placed capital club who has a game in hand.

AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli during Serie A - AC Milan v Genoa at San Siro, Milan, Italy - April 18, 2021   -  REUTERS

AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli says a win over top-four rivals Lazio on Monday would be worth double in the race for Champions League qualification in Serie A.

The Rossoneri is second ahead of its trip to Rome, eight points ahead of the sixth-placed capital club who has a game in hand.

But with three points separating Milan from fifth-placed Napoli and away games against Juventus and Atalanta still to come, a top-four finish is far from guaranteed.

"The head-to-head matches from here until the end are worth double," Pioli told a news conference on Sunday.

"Lazio is behind us on points, it will be an important match for the future for both of us.

"If you face fear, it runs away. But if you run away, fear will run after you.

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"Our motto is ‘if you want, you can’, everything else is an excuse. We will do everything to achieve this great objective."

Milan hope to earn a place in the Champions League group stages for the first time since 2013-14, having led the league standings until mid-February.

A 2-1 defeat by Sassuolo last weekend left it at risk of being caught by the chasing pack, and Pioli confirmed that top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not be fit for the Lazio game.

"Ibrahimovic is better but he won’t play tomorrow, he should be there for the next match against Benevento," he said.

"These 32 games have told us that we have been stronger than everyone except Inter. We are the only ones to hold our own against the Nerazzurri for a long time.

"We can play the last few rounds with our ambitions and objective still there to be achieved."

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