AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli was delighted with two-goal Sandro Tonali after victory at Hellas Verona which takes them to the top of the Serie A table with the 3-1 win.
On Tonali, Pioli said: “He is young, but so strong. I said after two days of pre-season training, he was completely different to last term. These are young lads, many of us are experiencing this level for the first time and doing it in the right way, but we haven’t achieved anything yet.
“When coaches say it takes time to build a team, we also mean just getting to know our players and finding those characteristics that can be used. When we have two midfielders, we can attack more down the wings, whereas like this we can allow Tonali to surge forward and use the way he times those runs.
“The first day, I asked Sandro what his ideal position was, he said ‘people compare me to Andrea Pirlo, but I consider myself more of a Gennaro Gattuso.’ I think if we add in Daniele De Rossi to that mix, that completes him.”
Milan next face Atalanta and Pioli added: “We are in the final stages. I think this Milan was born during the horrible, humiliating 5-0 defeat to Atalanta. That was when we realised what was needed to develop this team. It was one of the most negative moments of my career, but also one of the most valuable.”
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