Football

Being winter champions no big deal, says AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli

AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli believes being crowned "winter champions" in Serie A would mean little, but he remained upbeat after two more players tested positive for Covid-19.

The Rossoneri are three points clear at the top of the table ahead of tomorrow morning's (Singapore time) trip to Cagliari and will be assured of top spot at the midway point of the season if Inter Milan fail to beat Juventus this morning.

It would be an impressive achievement from a side who were struggling until this time last year, when the January signings of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Simon Kjaer and Alexis Saelemaekers helped spark a run of form that has them dreaming of a first league title in 10 years.

"We need to keep working, the title of winter champions counts for little," Pioli said.

"I've always had a lot of faith in my players. In January 2020, the transfer market and new arrivals were very important.

"It wasn't easy to imagine growth like this, but we worked with attention and consistency. We still have a lot of room for improvement... now that we've boarded this train, we want to stay on it for a long time."

Pioli will be without midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu and defender Theo Hernandez for the trip to Sardinia after they tested positive for the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Napoli moved into third in Serie A, after they demolished Fiorentina 6-0 at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium yesterday.

Goals from Lorenzo Insigne (double), Diego Demme, Hirving Lozano, Piotr Zielinski and Matteo Politano earned Gennaro Gattuso's side a win which leaves them six points behind leaders Milan. - REUTERS

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