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Serie A: Title-chasing AC Milan More Mature Than Last Year, Says Stefano Pioli

AC Milan’s improved maturity will help them in this season’s Serie A title race, coach Stefano Pioli said on Saturday, as his side eye a move to the top of the table.

The club’s hopes of a first league crown since 2010-11 received a huge boost last weekend as they defeated leaders Inter Milan 2-1 in the Derby Della Madonnina to go one point off the top.

“We are absolutely convinced that the team is more aware and mature than it was a year ago,” Pioli said.

Last season, Milan led the standings until the 13th of Feb. But, then they suffered a dip in form and eventually required a final-day win over Atalanta to finish second.

“That is normal. We are a very young team but we have been through a lot together and grown.”

Milan are currently third, behind second-placed Napoli on goal difference, but Luciano Spalletti’s side face Inter in a top-two clash later on Saturday, while Milan host Sampdoria on Sunday.

”We know that every game carries a weight of importance, and each one will be faced with great attention.”

Pioli confirmed that star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic remained out injured and would need a few more days to recover, but he was delighted to see France international Theo Hernandez extend his contract until 2026 on Friday.

“It is a sign that the club has a vision for the present and the future,” Pioli said.

“Theo’s renewal is a significant sign for the whole environment. To have players who feel a sense of belonging, and a club that thinks about the present and the future is a sign of a club that wants to return to the top level.”

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