AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli says late basketball legend Kobe Bryant played a part in his side's 2-0 win over Atalanta. Milan moved just one point away from their first Serie A title since 2011 following a victory over Atalanta at the San Siro.
How late basketball legend Kobe Bryant played a role in AC Milan's win over Atalanta
The Rossoneri are just a game away from winning the title following a win over Gian Piero Gasperini's men.
AC Milan battled hard
It was not smooth sailing for Pioli's men, though, as they had to wait until the second half for the breakthrough.
Despite dominating the first half, Milan could not find the opener. However, they finally took the lead in the 56th-minute through Rafael Leao. Theo Hernandez then sealed the win 15 minutes from time with a superb strike.
Kobe Bryant's impact
On paper, it looked like a comfortable win, but Pioli said it would not have been possible without the words of Kobe Bryant.
Bryant supported AC Milan, having spent his formative years in the City. Pioli revealed he showed his players the words of Bryant while he played for the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA.
"I showed the lads an interview with Kobe Bryant, who said at 2-0 up in the NBA Play-Offs, the job is not done," Pioli said after the game, as per football Italia
"We're not done. We need to maintain that calm and concentration that can, in the end, prove decisive.
"When we took charge at Milan, the team had completely different tactical ideas and concepts, so we had to change everything.
"Now the good thing is that the players enjoy making the most of our strengths and preparing tactically, being able to adjust also to limit our opponents."
Pioli also revealed that Milan's recent wins against Lazio and Hellas Verona gave them more belief.
"All the previous games taught us that we have what it takes in terms of determination, belief and courage.
"Those comeback wins over Lazio and Verona gave us more belief that takes away some of the anxiety," Pioli added.
Milan's win against Atalanta means they could win their first league title in 11 years if Inter Milan fail to beat Cagliari. However, should Inter win, Milan will seal the title if they avoid defeat at Sassuolo next weekend.