Soccer-Milan coach Pioli aiming high after extending his contract

Soccer Football - Champions League - Group B - Atletico Madrid v AC Milan - Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain - November 24, 2021 AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli REUTERS/Juan Medina

MILAN (Reuters) - AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli outlined his ambitious plans for the club after signing a contract extension until 2023 as he bids to restore the seven-times European Cup winners to the pinnacle of the game.

Milan won the last of their 18 Italian league titles in 2011 and their most recent Champions League triumph came in 2007.

"The club and I have the same ambition," Pioli told a news conference on Saturday ahead of his side's game against Sassuolo.

"We want to bring Milan back to the top in the competitions we deserve. We want to be competitive again, to win the Scudetto and return to the top in Europe.

"Now, we need to raise the level and become even more competitive. It's important to have passion for what we do and have the desire to win every match."

Milan are level on points with leaders Napoli at the top of the Serie A standings, having lost only once in their 13 league games - against Fiorentina last weekend.

Sunday's opponents Sassuolo are not a side Pioli is expecting an easy ride from, however.

"Our team has always been balanced," he added. "We know we made mistakes against Fiorentina, but against Atletico (in Milan's midweek win), we played simple and we didn't misplace easy passes. It will be crucial to winning duels.

"Tomorrow, we need to play simple again and avoid errors. Sassuolo have always created difficulties for us and are fast. We need a performance of a high level to win."

First-choice goalkeeper Mike Maignan is fit to return to action having recovered from a wrist injury.

(Reporting by Peter Hall, editing by Ed Osmond)

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