Stefano Pioli, head coach for AC Milan, said that the Rossoneri must have higher ambitions than finishing sixth overall next term.
Milan has secured sixth place in the table with 11 of those results coming in Serie A, but the head coach says the task is now to ensure that the Rossoneri are challenging for top flight elite positions.
“We’ll only have a very short break, given that on 17 September we’ll be playing in the Europa League preliminary stages,” he said at a news conference. “We have worked very hard to find consistency and to establish a philosophy for playing. Now, we are consolidating what we will need next season.
“I believe the most important, complicated and long-lasting aspect is creating a mentality. This has to provide a basis to work and grow from.
“Many have improved, I knew I had a quality squad at my disposal from the start. The game played by the team has allowed individuals to develop while, at the same time, the growth of individuals has enabled the team to play in some way.
“We were excellent in 2020 and now we have to finish well. I know I ‘m asking a lot of the players and we’re mentally and physically tired a little bit.
“Next year, sixth place isn’t going to be our goal, we ‘re going to aim for higher.”
Pioli, who confirmed Rafael Leao will start with Ante Rebic unavailable through suspension, has supervised an unbeaten run of 12 matches since the restart of Italian football in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Milan also confirmed Friday that full-back Andrea Conti has undergone keyhole surgery in his left knee due to a persistent meniscus problem.
Milan has not set his recovery a time frame.
Pioli also hopes that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not be playing his last game for Milan on Saturday.
A short-term contract was signed by veteran striker Ibrahimovic to return to Milan in January and scored nine goals in 17 Series A appearances.
So, Ibrahimovic may be playing his final game against Cagliari in Milan, but Pioli hopes that will not actually be his last Milan game.
Ibrahimovic’s future beyond its season finale against Cagliari remains unclear, though Milan director Ricky Massara said talks are ongoing this week to extend the stay of the 38-year-old.
Head coach Pioli made no secret of his desire to keep Ibrahimovic this season beyond.
When asked about the Sweden great, he simply replied: “I hope tomorrow will not be the last game for Milan for Ibrahimovic.”