The new season began a little while ago, but it becomes official in the next few hours. On Thursday, at 20:00 CEST, the Rossoneri play a Europa League qualifier at Dublin's Tallaght Stadium. On the eve of the game against Shamrock Rovers, Coach Pioli gave his press conference ahead of this important occasion and the squad's departure for Ireland. Here's what he had to say at Milanello:
A RETURN TO EUROPEAN FOOTBALL
"We're excited to start the new season and try to finish this road that would lead us to the Europa League. These are only the qualifiers; our aim is to reach the group stage. European football is where a Club as storied as this one belongs, we want to get back there. Our season begins with Shamrock Rovers. Unfortunately, we have one or two big absentees, but we need look at the positives that this can bring to the game. We know how tough these first matches can be: they've played more games and have more minutes in the legs. We'll need to be alert for 90 minutes."
"We needed to rest; we didn't get many weeks to prepare but we're ready and we need to give our all. We'll need to be very clear and at the top of our game. We need to focus on what we're doing: our identity, ideas and the decisions we make on the pitch. Our new players already have a clear idea about how we want to play. The squad is in a great place mentally; until now, we've shown the right mentality in training and the friendlies. I'm coaching a group of lads, who know what it means to wear this shirt, who play with a great sense of belonging and happiness to be here every day. That's a good sign. I think the fans will be very happy to see a team that gives its all. We're a tight-knit group and we trust each other."
"I'd have preferred it if Ibrahimović had played a bit more in the friendlies, but he's completely recovered and is always ready, motivated and competitive. Tonali is young but he's mature and ready; he's happy to be here and has already shown us what he can do. In the last few days, I complimented Donnarumma for his presence and his positive attitude at how he approaches every single moment at Milanello. He's constantly developing. For me it's no surprise; he's a really mature guy. Colombo? When a young lad does well, he gets played, though obviously we need to be patient. Lorenzo will need to be ready when he gets his chance. We have options in attack; if Ibrahimović is out, Rebić can cover in that position and Leão plays as a second striker."
THE TRANSFER WINDOW
"Our window started well in advance; the Club has shown its willingness to continue what we started last season. From renewals to new purchases, we're done some good business and I'm really satisfied. The transfer window is open for a little while yet but for now, we just need to think about what happens on the pitch and about getting this season off to the best possible start. Then during the break in October, we'll take stock. These last few weeks have allowed us to reflect a bit more with the management in order to choose what's best for us."
(Photo Getty Images)