Milan manager Pioli expects emotional night against Fiorentina



Sat, 30 Mar 2024 - 09:22 GMT


Sat, 30 Mar 2024 - 09:22 GMT

AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli reacts REUTERS/Ciro De Luca/File Pho

AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli reacts REUTERS/Ciro De Luca/File Pho

(Reuters) - AC Milan take on Fiorentina in Serie A this weekend and they expect a special night in Florence as home fans will be paying tribute to their club's recently deceased GM Joe Barone, manager Stefano Pioli said on Friday.


Saturday's fixture will be Fiorentina's first game since Barone died on March 19. The Stadio Franchi is soldout, emotions will run high, and it is a situation Pioli has already experienced.


Pioli was Fiorentina manager in 2018 when their captain Davide Astori died, and the Milan boss knows all too well what to expect in Florence.


"Unfortunately, this is not the first situation of this kind that has happened to Fiorentina," Pioli told a press conference.


"Florence and the Viola fans are fantastic when it comes to uniting and coming together to overcome these moments, when these bereavements hit, they become one big family.


"A special environment awaits us at the beginning for Joe Barone who did so much for Fiorentina, but then there will be a game to play."


Barone's death left the Fiorentina players, staff and fans shell-shocked, and their last game with Atalanta was postponed after Barone suffered a cardiac arrest shortly before the team were due to leave their hotel for the stadium.


Vincenzo Italiano has the job of getting his side ready for the emotional outing, and Fiorentina are still involved in the Coppa Italia and the Conference League.


"We have to start again immediately, and honour the director in the best possible way, putting on the pitch what his characteristics were, passion, love, attachment to this city, these colours and to this club," Italiano said.


"We know we are playing in a setting where the whole stadium will give us all the strength to get the most out of it.


"I only ask that from here to the end we all start pulling together to achieve something extraordinary. I expect a great push from the team, especially in the difficult moments."


Milan are second in the standings, 14 points behind leaders Inter Milan and three ahead of Juventus, while Fiorentina are in eighth place.



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