AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli gave a wide-ranging interview to L’Equipe on Wednesday. The 2022 Serie A winner will play an all-Italian Champions’ League quarter-final tie against Napoli tonight, who are cruising at the top of the Serie A standings. The first leg will be played tonight at Milan’s Stadio Giuseppe-Meazza. Pioli has heaped praise on France international and Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan (27).
The Italian manager revealed he had first come across Maignan during a Europa League group stage game between Milan and Lille. Les Dogues eventually won the game 3-0 thanks to a hat-trick from Yusuf Yazici. “I said to my goalkeeping coach at the end of the game: ‘That one, you have to follow him.’ His communication and his participation in the game had impressed me,” Pioli said.
With Gianluigi Donnarumma refusing to extend his stay with the Rossoneri after the 2020-21 season, Milan had thrashed out a €15m deal with Lille over the signing of Maignan for a five-year deal. The former PSG youth product quickly established himself as Serie A’s best goalie, proving himself instrumental in Milan’s title-winning season. “I was sure he was an excellent goalkeeper but he’s even better than I thought.”
Pioli has described what makes Maignan an outstanding goalkeeper. According to the Italian manager, the 2021 Ligue 1 winner with Lille is very meticulous in his match preparation. “It’s exhausting to train him, because he is so demanding. But that’s great too, because he is highly motivated.“
GFFN | Bastien Cheval