Stefano Pioli is using the pain of derby defeat as fresh inspiration as he attempts to steer AC Milan to success this season.
The Rossoneri were trounced 5-1 by Inter Milan a fortnight ago and then drew 0-0 with Newcastle in their Champions League opener.
They have since beaten Verona and Cagliari to go level on points with Inter at the top of the Serie A table and manager Pioli, who found himself under intense pressure in the wake of a difficult week, is keen to draw a line under the derby day disappointment ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Lazio.He told a press conference: “We are doing well, we want to find the right continuity to do well in the league and in the Champions League. We need to focus only on tomorrow.
“We have always lived with balance between negative and positive moments. The derby was not the end of our journey, but a new beginning to start from.
“Now we are not perfect, we are not flawless, but we can put our best performance on the field tomorrow.”
Pioli will hope to have key players back for the weekend, with goalkeeper Mike Maignan having sat out Wednesday’s 3-1 win at Cagliari through injury, while strikers Olivier Giroud and Rafael Leao started on the bench with the former not leaving it.
However, the Milan boss was coy about his team selection when asked about the depth of his squad.
Pioli said: “I am convinced of the quality of my players, but we have to keep moving forward.
“After the break, a new season started. To stay at the top, we need to be strong in every aspect. Now we only think about tomorrow.”
Lazio will arrive at the San Siro after clinching just their second win of the campaign in midweek, when they beat Torino 2-0 at the Stadio Olimpico.
Pioli will hope a third successive victory will ease the tide of criticism which has come his way, although he remains philosophical.
He said: “It’s useless to talk about the criticisms. We are Milan, we want to win and be competitive. The club is following a wonderful path, already capable of winning and to put the accounts right. Everyone is working very well.
“We are Milan, the praise and criticism are high. It’s part of our job.”