Milan boss Pioli not interested in mounting Rangnick speculation

Omnisport

Milan head coach Stefano Pioli dismissed growing speculation he could be replaced by Ralf Rangnick at the end of the season after overseeing a 4-1 rout of Lecce.

Samu Castillejo, Giacomo Bonaventura, Ante Rebic and Rafael Leao were on target as Milan marked their Serie A return with a demolition away to Lecce on Monday.

Milan are only adrift of the final Europa League spot – occupied by sixth-placed Napoli – on goal difference through 27 games, but Pioli could still be axed at season's end.

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Rangnick, who is now head of sport and development for Red Bull – the group which owns RB Leipzig, is tipped to combine the jobs of head coach and sporting director at Milan in 2020-21.

Asked about the rumours, Milan boss Pioli told Sky Sport Italia post-match: "I am not interested in what is being said.

"I am happy with the team, I worked from the start with passion and competence, then the future will be decided at the end of the season."

Milan played their first Serie A match since the coronavirus-enforced break, having returned to the pitch for the Coppa Italia semi-final against Juventus on June 12.

Castillejo put Milan ahead in the 26th minute but Lecce equalised through Marco Mancosu's penalty after Matteo Gabbia fouled fellow substitute Khouma Babacar.

Giacomo Bonaventura and Ante Rebic, who was sent off against Juve in the Coppa Italia, struck in the next three minutes to put Milan out of reach.

Milan substitute Leao put the result beyond doubt in the 72nd minute as the Rossoneri returned to seventh after Hellas Verona and Parma moved above them at the weekend.

"We played well against an opponent that preferred to sit back and wait for us to come forward, so we needed the spaces to open up," Pioli said.

"Lecce had an opportunity to get back into it with the equaliser, but we managed to get straight back out in front. It's an important victory, we needed the points and this boost.

"The objective has to be European qualification and catching up to those in front of us in the table. Roma seem quite far away, but then there is the head-to-head on Sunday. There are many points up for grabs in 11 rounds and we've got to try."

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