Stefano Pioli has replied to comments made by the Banditi Curva Sud on the eve of the crucial UEFA Champions League opener against Newcastle United at San Siro. The Italian tactician received harsh criticism following the heavy 5-1 defeat faced by his Rossoneri outfit in the maiden Derby della Madonnina of the season against Inter.

Speaking at the press conference ahead of the UCL tie, Pioli vowed to make a positive comeback.

“I have had good moments, but also difficult ones. I feel the weight of the failures in the Derby and if I could, I would change these results by giving everything I have. I know I am coaching a strong team and that we will have the ability to react to a such a difficult Derby.”

“I have a clearly insufficient track record in those games. You have no idea how much it weighs on me. If I could go to every fan to make them understand how much it weighs on me I would do it, but in relationships it’s not the words that count, but the facts and attitudes.”

“I’m indebted to the fans, because when we played really badly last year, they always supported us. And I am in debt because I am the manager who has lost the most derbies in a year, but we will do everything to make this season positive.”

Pioli also gave his thoughts on the reunion with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, as the Swede visited his former Milan teammates in the final training session before they welcomed the Magpies.

“Zlatan was supposed to come before the Derby, but he had a commitment and came today. We know how much Ibra cares about us and how important he has been for our journey. His presence is always positive. It pleased me, the management, to his teammates. We’ll also see each other out for dinner. We’re friends, although I’m no longer his coach.”

Milan and Newcastle face each other tomorrow evening in what will be the first-ever competitive meeting between the two sides.

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