Pioli wants Milan players to receive more credit for their achievements

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Stefano Pioli believes his Milan players do not get the credit they deserve after Sandro Tonali's stoppage-time goal sealed a vital 2-1 win over Lazio on Sunday.

Olivier Giroud had cancelled out Ciro Immobile's early opener at the Stadio Olimpico, but it looked like the Rossoneri would hand the title initiative to Inter after a series of wasted chances.

Tonali had other ideas, though, the midfielder popping up in the second minute of added time to secure a win that lifted Milan two points clear of Inter at the top of the table, although they have played a game more.

The result meant they have won three games against Maurizio Sarri's men in a single season (two in Serie A, one in the Coppa Italia) for the first time since the 2004-05 campaign.

Speaking to DAZN immediately after the game, Pioli spoke of his pride at his players' efforts and insists they do not receive the plaudits they should.

"I am so proud of my players and if I was in their shoes, I'd be angry," he said. "People don't give them enough credit. For years, they have been proving themselves at the highest level.

"We will try to win all the remaining games. We might not achieve that, but we will give it our best.

"We know it's a tricky fixture list. All we can do is take it one game at a time and try to do the best we possibly can."

The result confirmed Milan's qualification for next season's Champions League – an achievement Pioli says demonstrates the strides his side have made.

"The important thing is we are in the Champions League," he added. "This time last season, we weren't sure if we would be in the top four, so this shows further progress.

"There are still some steps to climb, but those are the ones that will give us the greatest satisfaction."

Tonali echoed Pioli's sentiments, saying that no one is talking about Milan being genuine title challengers despite their position in the table.

"We have to take it one game at a time," he explained. "We came here and nobody other than us and our fans believed in us.

"We are in front without hearing anyone say Milan are the leaders or that Milan are a strong side. We're used to it now."

Milan return to action next Sunday when Fiorentina visit San Siro.

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