Stefano Pioli was left frustrated as his Milan side were held to a 0-0 draw by winless Cremonese in Serie A on Tuesday.
An impressive performance from Cremonese goalkeeper Marco Carnesecchi saw him deny the likes of Divock Origi and Junior Messias as Milan dominated the first half.
Origi thought he had broken the deadlock soon after the break, but a VAR check ruled him offside before Cremonese saw out the remaining minutes to pick up a valuable point and prevent Milan from keeping pace with leaders Napoli, who beat Empoli 2-0 earlier on Tuesday.
Attempting to win their second straight league title, Pioli’s men now sit eight points Napoli, and the Milan head coach was disappointed in their display as they failed to pick up all three points on the road for the fourth game in seven to start this season, having only dropped points away from San Siro five times last campaign.
“We could have done more tonight,” Pioli told DAZN. “We played a decent first half, but the second was not up to par.
“We did not create enough to be really dangerous. With our quality we could do more, despite the few spaces granted by Cremonese.
“In the second half there was little fluidity and clarity. We won a few offensive duels and so it is difficult to score.”
Full time in Cremona.
— AC Milan (@acmilan)
Pioli acknowledged the lead that Napoli now hold over his side, and spoke of his desire to see an improved display at the weekend as they look to bounce back against Fiorentina.
“Eight points are a lot,” Pioli added. “We don’t like this result, but on Sunday we have the opportunity to redeem ourselves.
“We didn’t want this gap. Congratulations to Napoli but we could have done more.”
Milan drew a blank despite Pioli introducing Rafael Leao with half an hour to play, but the head coach refused to criticise the substitute for the little impact he had.
Pioli explained: “I think it’s wrong to point the finger only at a single player [Leao]. If you don’t work well as a team, the results won’t come. The overall performance was not up to par.
“We expected this attitude from Cremonese. We had some opportunities to score goals, but if you don’t unlock them immediately then everything becomes more complicated.”