Stefano Pioli was pleased with Milan’s character as they salvaged a 1-1 draw at Udinese but warned they must raise their game after slipping up in the Serie A title race.
Four days after they were knocked out of the Champions League by Liverpool, the Rossoneri were facing a shock defeat at the Dacia Arena before Zlatan Ibrahimovic volleyed a stoppage-time equaliser.
Ibrahimovic’s goal was his 300th combined in Europe’s top-five leagues, a landmark only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have also reached this century.
Beto had capitalised on Tiemoue Bakayoko’s mistake to give Udinese a deserved lead 17 minutes into their first game under interim head coach Gabriele Cioffi following Luca Gotti’s sacking this week.
Isaac Success was sent off for clashing with Mike Maignan following Ibrahimovic’s late goal, but there was no time for Milan to force a winner and they could drop to third on Sunday if Inter and Napoli win.
Pioli responded to a poor first-half showing by hauling Bakayoko, Ismael Bennacer and Rade Krunic off at the break and the head coach was left with mixed emotions after watching his side drop points.
He told DAZN: “We start the matches to win and therefore we cannot be satisfied. Let’s start with small goals, we can do even better and we will try.”
300 – Zlatan #Ibrahimovic has become the third player able of scoring 300 goals in the big-5 European leagues since 1/1/2000, after Cristiano Ronaldo (483) and Lionel Messi (475). Infinity.#UdineseMilan #SerieA pic.twitter.com/dpo6qQLmkD
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) December 11, 2021
Pioli says Milan must regroup following a difficult week in which they failed to match the sort of standards that lifted them to the summit.
“There was a lack of clarity, we had to force our opponents to move more. It was not a brilliant first half, the goal took confidence away from us,” he added.
“I am satisfied with the reaction, it is a sign of character and it is clear that we need to find our rhythm.”