Klose: “Pioli is the right coach and man for Milan, he deserves the confidence and he has rare human qualities”

Miroslav Klose at the end of Germany-Saudi Arabia at BayArena on June 8, 2018. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Miroslav Klose has given an interview about Stefano Pioli, Lazio, Serie A and the Germany and Italy national teams.

Milan start their journey with new coach Stefano Pioli on Sunday when they face Lecce at Stadio San Siro, in front of around 50,000 Rossoneri fans (20:45 CEST).

Despite struggling in recent years, Pioli is the first coach Milan have had since Carlo Ancelotti that reached the Champions League before joining the Rossoneri.

He did it in the 2014/15 season, with one Miroslav Klose leading the attack. The 41-year-old is currently the coach of Bayern Munich’s U17, and he recently turned down a promotion to the U19 side. “One step after another. You have to be patient, the frenzy is the enemy of the result, you always have to be humble,” Klose told La Gazzetta dello Sport in an interview published on Friday. This quality, as suggested by GdS journalist Elmar Bergonzini, who conducted the interview, Miroslav learned from Pioli, who coached him for two years.

“I’m glad Milan have placed confidence in him, he deserves it. He is a fantastic man. If he’s the right coach for Milan? More than that… he’s the right man, especially in a moment of difficulty. He has rare human qualities. He deals with problems in a very concrete way, he’s straightforward but very helpful. We have exchanged a mutual promise that we still have to keep… What is it? A dinner. With the commitments he had, first at Inter and then at Fiorentina, and with the fact that I now work in Munich, we never hare time. I’m sure Milan will do well.

Stefano Pioli and Miroslav Klose at the end of the Juventus-Lazio Supercoppa Italiana at Shanghai Stadium on August 8, 2015. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

“What do I think about Simone Inzaghi, who replaced Pioli at Lazio? He’s doing an exceptional job. I talk very often with Senad Lulić and he confirmed the feelings that I had from watching him from afar. In his first 7 games in charge, the last ones of the 2015-16 season, Inzaghi was still obviously inexperienced, he didn’t know what formation to use and was a bit shy in the relationship with the players. Now he’s much more self-confident, he is doing well. I’m very happy for him and for Lazio. But the real surprise is someone else.

“Who? Thomas Strakosha. When I was at Lazio, he was the third-choice goalkeeper. Honestly, I would have bet all my savings that he wouldn’t be able to become the first-choice. He did not convey confidence. But his growth simply shows that we need to give young players space and give them time to grow.

Miroslav Klose during Bayern Muenchen U17-FC Koeln U17 at FCB Campus on June 05, 2019. (Photo by Alexandra Beier/Getty Images for DFB)

“Ciro Immobile is doing well after replacing me at Lazio? I always thought he was strong, also when he was at Torino. He works a lot for the team, he runs a lot, fights and he creates a lot of scoring chances like that, just like I used to do.

“Why have Lazio not qualified for the Champions League since I left? There is obviously a component of bad luck. Often the team loses points in games that theoretically should not be tricky. There is a mental problem, because you have to understand that even when competing against smaller opponents and in less stimulating stadiums, there are always three points available. Also this year, given the quality of Serie A, it’ll be difficult for Lazio to get fourth place.

Miroslav Klose scoring during Lazio-Milan at Stadio Olimpico on January 24, 2015. (ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)

“If I would like to coach Lazio? Yes, my goal is to arrive in the Bundesliga, in Serie A or in a top league. Let’s see if there’s a chance. But calmly: I am convinced that we must train at youth level to really understand this profession. Even as a player you start from the youth sector and then reach the top.

“What kind of coach I am? I demand a lot from my guys. If I understand that there is qualify then I always want them to give their best. Not everyone grows immediately, but that’s a quality as well. It’s a challenge to work with kids and I love challenges. I want my team to play offensive football, pressing their opponents, a bit like I did at Werder Bremen with Thomas Schaaf as coach. From every coach I had, I try to take the best, but I stay true to my ideas. My favorite formation at the moment is 3-1-4-2 but it always depends on the players. If I have a nose for talented strikers since I was one? Also for defenders, having dealt with so many.

Miroslav Klose and Franck Ribéry celebrating during Bayer Leverkusen-Bayern Muenchen at BayArena on November 29, 2008. (Photo by Vladimir Rys/Bongarts/Getty Images)

“If I expected Franck Ribéry to do so well in Italy? Yes. He, Luca Toni and I came to Bayern together. I know him well, he’s a great player. I knew, knowing Italy, that a good start would win him the hearts of the fans, and so it was. And that’s exactly what stimulates him. He also has important support with Kevin-Prince Boateng. They’ll have fun with him in Firenze.

“If Serie A is growing? Yes. Before, Juventus had no rivals. Now Inter and Napoli are tricky. From the Nerazzurri, I was surprised about Stefano Sensi: he settled in quickly even though he hadn’t played at these levels yet.

“Inter face Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League? You can see Antonio Conte’s hand, that’s why Inter are so strong. He has quality in attack with Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martínez and he is solid behind with Diego Godin and Stefan de Vrij. I’m glad that Stefan has recovered from the knee problems he had at Lazio. Against Dortmund, however, it will be difficult, Borussia have a lot of quality, and they’re terrific on the counter. It will be a balanced game, a draw.

Miroslav Klose during a Germany training session at Sochi Olympic Park on June 21, 2018. (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

“What is missing for Germany to return to the 2014 levels? The national team is facing a generational change. The new ones are entering, we need time. We also need a new leader to join Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos and Joshua Kimmich. Niklas Süle will have to take this responsibility sooner or later. I saw the latest matches, including the one against Argentine: the quality is there, but we see that the team is young. We must not be intimidated by a goal conceded.

“If the Italian national team is improving? They have taken the right path, but they also need time. I know you’d like to have everything right away, but you must not get caught up in the frenzy.”

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