Pioli: Milan players learning how to handle the pressure with each game

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Stefano Pioli praised his Milan players for digging deep to overcome Fiorentina late on as they kept their Scudetto hopes in their own hands.

The Rossoneri's 1-0 win at San Siro means they will be crowned Serie A champions for the first time since 2011 if they collect seven points from the remaining nine on offer.

Rafael Leao scored the only goal of Sunday's contest eight minutes from time following an error from Fiorentina goalkeeper Pietro Terracciano.

Leao's strike was his 10th in the league this season, making him the fifth Portuguese player to reach double figures in a single Serie A campaign.

It is the second match running Milan have won the game late on, having snatched a 2-1 victory at Lazio last time out through a 92nd-minute goal from Sandro Tonali.

And head coach Pioli believes that his relatively young squad are learning to cope with the pressure that comes with trying to win a league title.

"We had the right mentality," he told DAZN. "We worked as a team and took risks. When games are so tight there is always a bit of tension and we feel that as the matches come.

"But well done to the guys for overcoming another important step and gaining awareness. They are showing they know how to suffer.

"I can see constant progress in my team. It's the first time many of them have challenged for such a prestigious trophy.

"I hope my players and I can continue that growth process, but for some it might be the only time we're in this position. That's why we must give our all to the very end."

Milan 1-0 Fiorentina
Milan 1-0 Fiorentina

Milan head to Hellas Verona for their next league match before hosting Atalanta and then travelling to Sassuolo on the final day of the season.

Given their superior head-to-head record over Inter, the Rossoneri will be crowned champions if they end up finishing level on points with their fierce rivals.

"It's useless to pretend nothing has happened," Pioli told Milan TV. "The more time passes the more the points mean.

"The boys are young but are strong. They are managing this pressure for the first time and every time we overcome the difficulties we move forward."

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