Milan coach Stefano Pioli still thinks his side can defend their Serie A crown despite their eight-point deficit to league leaders Napoli.

The Rossoneri beat rivals Inter in a title race that went down to the wire last season, taking a first Scudetto since the 2010-11 campaign.

But their hopes of a second successive triumph look to be under serious threat, with Napoli having romped away at the summit after 15 games.

Milan remain their nearest rivals, however, and Pioli argues his team can still turn it around, although he knows they must hit the ground running in 2023.

"It is clear that we arrived at this prestigious [title] victory ahead of time, because the club's desire was to invest in players, especially young players, so maybe we expected to win a little later," he told Italia Uno.

"But we managed almost immediately, so it is clear that for me and for us 2022 was a really important year and full of satisfaction.

"You have to think that you can still win the championship [this season], this in the most absolute way.

"Then it is clear that if Napoli continues like this they can make 100 points and then we must congratulate them, but we must think about making many points.

"Last year, 86 were needed; perhaps this year they could need even more. There are still 69 points available – that's a lot – but we have to start pedalling hard and we definitely have to believe in it."