Stefano Pioli called on his AC Milan players to raise their game after his side was crowned winter champion in Serie A despite suffering a crushing defeat to Atalanta on Saturday.

The title goes to the team at the top of the standings halfway through the campaign. It is usually a good indicator of what is to come, as 69 percent of winter champions have gone on to win the league.

“We know what our qualities are and we know that we must raise the level,” Pioli told Sky Sports. “The other teams are very strong. We’re aware of our strengths and weaknesses and we can still improve.”

Milan is two points clear of Inter Milan at the summit, but the 3-0 humbling at home to the Bergamo side was its heaviest defeat of the season. “Atalanta’s merits are evident, as is the fact that we can do a lot better,” the coach added.

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