Pioli: Milan's clash with Roma 'worth double' in top-four race
Milan's game against Roma on Saturday is "worth double" as both teams vie for Champions League qualification, says Rossoneri head coach Stefano Pioli.
Milan occupy the all-important fourth place in Serie A, but only by virtue of their superior goal difference, with Roma also on 56 points ahead of Saturday's vital clash.
Pioli's men head to Stadio Olimpico where the Giallorossi have kept seven clean sheets in their last eight home league matches, with no other team in the top five European leagues keeping more since the turn of the year.
Pioli acknowledged the importance of the fixture in his pre-match press conference, telling reporters: "We need to give continuity to our performances, making sure that the next match is the most important one.
"Tomorrow's match is worth double and we need to face it with the right spirit and convictions.
"It's worth a lot. After tomorrow there will be six games left. The more points we get, the more chance we have of getting into the top-four places, which is our great goal."
Pioli was asked about his close relationship with winger Rafael Leao, who recently said his head coach was like his "father" having accumulated 22 goal involvements in 41 appearances for Milan this season in all competitions.
"My players are all my children, from morning to night," Pioli said. "Even when I'm at home I think of them.
"I talk to them every day, both about football and about other situations: they are lucky, but they have the problems of 20-year-olds.
"Rafa is the player who has been in my office the most in recent years, so there is the strongest bond."