Stefano Pioli praised Rafael Leao for his outstanding performance in Milan’s impressive 4-0 victory over Napoli, stating that the forward did not lose his form during his recent goalless run.
Leao, who had not scored for 11 games for Milan, destroyed Napoli’s defense as the defending champions secured an unforgettable victory against the Serie A leaders at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
The Portuguese star opened the scoring by lobbing the ball over Alex Meret and then added his second and Milan’s second of the game, which was also his 10th goal of the Serie A season, with a strong left-footed shot that concluded a rapid counter-attack by Pioli’s side.
Milan will face Napoli in Champions League’s quarter final
Although Leao faced criticism during his recent goal drought, Pioli always believed that the player, who was the Player of the Season in Serie A last year, would recover his top form.
Asked if Leao is back, Pioli replied: “He never left!
“He scored two goals, one from a central forward position and one from out wide. He has incredible potential and will become a champion.”
Milan also have to face Napoli in the Champions League and Pioli said whether last night’s victory will affect the upcoming games or not: “Certainly today’s victory gives us confidence, but they will be different matches.
“Just because we won 4-0 today, it doesn’t mean that Napoli have lost their certainties. We’ll think about Napoli and face those two matches – I hope – with the personality of this evening.
“It will be a balanced match between two strong teams who are doing well in the Champions League. This season will be positive if we play in the Champions League again next year.
“There are still 10 days to go. It will be 180 minutes, but now we head to Empoli [on Friday] – in the league we haven’t always faced matches with the right attitude.”