- "Winning is in my DNA."
- "The players know they are wearing an iconic shirt."
- "It's sad to play without fans in the stands."
With an unbeaten start to the season and sitting top of Serie A, much attention has been on the AC Milan men’s team in recent weeks.
However, AC Milan Women’s head coach Maurizio Ganz would have a case for sharing the plaudits with his own side.
The 52-year-old has guided the Rossonere to second place in the league – losing just one game in 10 matches.
Ganz, who won a Serie A title with the club as a player, has high hopes for his team.
Last season, his side finished one point off of a Champions League spot when the season was discontinued because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now in his second season as manager, Ganz revealed exclusively to Skrill News that lifting AC Milan Women's first Scudetto would be a dream come true – and explained why his side are capable of doing it.
Q. Congratulations on your recent run of results with AC Milan Women, Maurizio. How have you found the season so far during a time without fans and with the COVID restrictions in place?
MG: I think it's odd, a strange situation. We need our fans and they need us.
Of course, there is no alternative, this pandemic is a very serious thing and we must never let our guard down, but it’s sad to play without our fans in the stands.
We know that fans follow us very closely – through AC Milan’s social networks, the mobile app and Milan TV, we can feel their “virtual” support.
We can't wait to see them again at the stadium and hear them sing for us and rejoice together.
Q. The team has done extremely well to get to where it is today after forming only two years ago – what has been the secret to its success?
MG: This year we have changed many players and have raised the quality of the squad. The secret lies precisely in the collective: we are a team willing to work hard, to stand out and to prove ourselves.
These are the elements required to compete in top-level championships.
Q. So far this season you’ve only lost one match in Serie A. Did the unfortunate end to last season and missing out on a Champions League place by one point make you more determined to bounce back stronger this season?
MG: We performed very well last year in a season that we were unable to end due to the COVID-19 emergency.
We prepared this season in the same way and we have the same objectives: to improve the team and our ranking.
We don’t feel vengeful about missing out on a place in the UCL.
Q. Captain Valentina Giacinti is in fine form with seven goals in her last eight games, can you describe how important she is to the team?
MG: Valentina is important because in addition to scoring, she runs for 95 minutes every game both when attacking and defending.
I believe there are very few strikers, both men and women, capable of playing this role like her. She is an added value, like all the other players, and having a striker like her as our captain is essential.
Q. You’ve also only conceded four goals so far in your first nine games – a league low. What have you changed defensively this season?
MG: We have not changed much at a defensive level, because last season we had the second-best defence. Although, we were a different team.
This year we are working well both in the defensive and offensive phases, being second in the league means that our training is leading us to scoring goals and conceding less.
Q. You know the feeling of winning a Serie A title for the men’s side – what does it take? And could your team do it this season by winning the women’s Scudetto?
MG: I won a championship and an Italian Cup, I achieved important promotions, winning is in my DNA, as it is in the Rossoneri’s DNA. A club like AC Milan must play to win.
As far as we are concerned, it is not easy because Juventus are currently a very strong team, but we go on to the pitch to win every match and our dream is precisely that; to one day win the championship.
It would be an immense joy for us, for the club and for all the Rossoneri fans.
Q. It’s been a fantastic season for both the women’s and men’s side so far – do you feel the success of both sides has created a feeling of positivity at the club?
MG: I really know what it means to wear AC Milan’s shirt and, training session after training session, our girls are increasingly aware of it.
The men’s team has won 48 trophies. We would be very proud to win the very first Scudetto in the history of AC Milan Women and it would increase even more our sense of belonging.
The players know very well they are wearing an iconic shirt and the fact that both teams started this championship so well has given a great boost to the positive moment we are living in.