Capello offers opinion on Pioli’s Milan renewal chances: “He has kept up with Inter”

By Ben Dixon -

Unfortunately for AC Milan, this season will be remembered for the defensive injuries that greatly harmed any chances of success in their main objectives, and today, Fabio Capello has offered his thoughts on the season.

Regardless of Milan’s reanimation this season, the season’s objectives will not be complete – even if the Rossoneri win the Europa League. Ultimately, though, this can be attributed to the squad’s injuries in the early stages of the season.

There are positives to take, of course, and these also should be given as much light as the criticism. The Diavolo currently sit second in Serie A and have performed excellently in the Europa League, which is a testament to the side’s mental strength and offers a great platform to build from next season, especially if the side continue under Stefano Pioli.

Today, Fabio Capello spoke in his column for La Gazzetta dello Sport about the season so far, and Stefano Pioli’s future and his comments have been relayed by Radio Rossonera.

“Milan are already in the next Champions League and can be calm. It was unthinkable that they would not qualify: after the Scudetto season, they found themselves in front of adversaries like Napoli and Inter, who travelled at stratospheric levels.”

“The team has found the speed of play and regained the serenity that they had perhaps lacked a little. Now, it is the Milan that was expected.”

“Pioli has always played his part, and in recent weeks, he has even kept up with Inter. In the most difficult months, he was conditioned by injuries, before that he had to integrate the new signings.”

Tags AC Milan Fabio Capello Stefano Pioli


  1. Absolutely; new signings adaptation and devastating injury crises doomed Milan’s scudetto and UCL runs and it was not Pioli’s fault; he actually did a remarkable job integrating the new signings and NOBODY could win when the whole defense was devastated and we ran out of center backs, had to have a left back playing center back with very mixed results. We loss like 5 times during the crisis… some of the losses came exactly from that and had they not happened we would be challenging Inter for the Scudetto (that’s 15 points then and there, not to forget the draws) and would have survived the toughest UCL group (the only group that sent two teams to the round of 8). Even with the injury crisis we’d have qualified in any other group.

    Pioli still has his team as second domestically and competitive in the Europe League.

    Firing Pioli at the end of this season is senseless in soccer terms, and disastrous in financial terms. Let him finish his contract (we’d have to pay his whole salary for one year while also paying the new coach, agent’s fee), then we can get a new coach in 2025.

    Firing the guy who has the team as second in the league despite all the adversity he had to face, notably the injury crisis, is utter nonsense; it is crazy. Who does that? If we fire the guy in second place, should all the other 18 teams fire their coaches??? Sure, let the relegation teams fire their coaches… but the team in SECOND place??? Crazy.

    I think the discontent is because of Inter. Yes, they beat us repeatedly. Yes, they ran away with the Scudetto. But we need to realize that Inter ARE better than us, unfortunately. It’s their merit rather than our fault.

    Can you imagine how we would be doing (and how Inter would be doing) if Lautaro played for us instead of for Inter? He scored like 30 goals for them already!!! Add this to us and subtract this from Inter and see what happens to the points. The fact that Lautaro is so good is his merit, not our fault.

    If Inter had not had this extraordinary run that no current Italian squad can match (especially, none of the others; we could have matched it without the injuries – see, Inter had practically no injury and featured their best 11 over and over), fans would be a lot less upset at Pioli, but again, Pioli can’t make Inter play poorly; he can’t make Lautaro stop scoring. We have no control over Inter’s great form.

    Let’s keep Pioli instead of gambling on a new coach and changing everything which would entail another unstable season. Let’s give to Pioli a quality striker, a quality defensive midfielder, some more depth in some other positions, and see how he does in 2024-2025. Then management can decide if he gets a contract extension or finishes his contract and we hire a new guy without the financial pressure of terminating him ahead of the end of his contract. THAT’S what makes sense.

    1. I don’t disagree with you. BUT, two scenarios for you:
      1. Milan win EL, lose the derby.
      2. milan lose EL final, lose the derby;

      Regardless of EL result, do you bring back the coach that lost to Inter 6 times in a row?

      1. Yes… if we play to Liverpool 6 times in a row in a 1 year span and lose all 6 times, do you sack the coach? The answer is no, because Liverpool is definitely a better team

        Inter has 35-40mill more in salaries… that’s roughly 40% percent more in salaries… it would be like getting on a free two top players with 10-15mill salary … forget getting on a free a Calhanoglu or Thuram, I’m talking better than that. Inter also spent on signing bonuses in the last year alone 15-20 mill more than us.

        Now imagine if we had salary that is 40 mill higher than Inter whether we’d be winning or losing to Inter…

        You can be optimistic about your chances but right now Inter is a better squad because a lot more money has been invested in it and has been built for a longer period of time.

        Don’t blame Pioli that we have a salary cap and that other teams are overspending us.

      2. For me, yes, we do regardless. We may well lose to Inter again next season – once again, they’ve signed one of Milan’s targets in Teremi for next year and they’re continuing to overspend at a level they can’t afford.

        Does that mean Pioli has no blame? No, for sure he should be able to look for a way to keep us competitive with them in single games. But do I judge a season just by results against Inter? No.

        He’s integrated a lot of new young players and he’s overperformed salary spend in both Europe and Serie A. The squad seems to have a good spirit and work for each other.

        We’re not in a bad place now. The only reason to make a change is if we think there’s a real long-term visionary coach that would take us forward. But I don’t see anyone on the market offering that guarantee.

        Motta is the most appealing, but that’s on the basis of one good season. At least he’s not coming in from Sampdoria like the last few before…

        So for me, Pioli should stay.

        1. I agree with you mostly. There isn’t a clear upgrade to Pioli available. But 6 straight losses to Inter is psychologically tough to swallow.

      3. Milan win EL, Pioli stays regardless of the Derby.
        Milan loses both, it’s trickier but I still think Milan will have lost to superior teams (Inter, Liverpool) and it’s not Pioli’s fault as he can’t control the form of these excellent teams that are actually really better than we are.

        Yes, we’ve lost to Inter several times but Inter is beating EVERYBODY! They only lost a zebra to Sassuelo. And lost in the UCL which is the rule for Italian teams of late. It doesn’t mean they won’t continue to dominate Serie A. Last year they went to the UCL final but it’s not easy to repeat this two years in a row.

        I still think that Pioli did well; it’s just that Inter are way better than we are and that can’t be changed unless Pioli gets new players and/or Inter loses some of their excellent players especially Lautaro.

        1. Milan can’t allow Inter to clinch the Scudetto away to us. Just as a principle of pride. So I want to see how Pioli approaches it.

          I do agree that if he makes it to EL final, he should stay next season.

    2. Injuries had some impact. Though we mostly had our best team available for CL games.
      Honestly it was the form of the players in the 1st half of the season that was most concerning.
      Yes we had lots of new faces to integrate which is understandable.
      But the like of Mike, Theo, Leao etc were well below par.
      It’s a big decision and not 1 to take lightly. I think Pioli has 3 games to prove his team – the 2 v Roma and the derby v Inter.
      They are both good opposition and will provide the test to see where this team is at. We have had a lot of easy fixtures in 2024, so it will be good to see how the team does in these important games which I think may define the season

    3. we keep giving pioli players and it is the same after.. play like dogsh*t and keep lowering the “goals” of the season.

      Enough. Time to move on

      1. We are not playing like dogsh*t, we had several good games once the injury crisis ended, we’ve been winning in all competitions, repeatedly. Be less negative! We’re freaking second in the league. Only behind a team that is indeed WAY better than ours; Pioli can’t magically make Inter play poorly or make Lautaro stop scoring endless number of goals for them; they are beating everybody, not only us. We can try to control how we play, but we can’t control how Inter plays.

        1. Winning by individual efforts.

          Look at how lost we often look in the attacking 3rd when in possession. It’s sad.

          Pioli is mediocre at best.

          I have the pleasure of watching a coach who’s winning in his first head coaching role. Arteta was a gamble but had a plan and great behaviors.

          If Pioli showed any inclination of the ability to improve I think people would be more forgiving. We however will be in this exact same situation next year if he stays.

          You may be happy with 2nd, the EL with am easy draw and out of the Coppa Italia but a lot of fans are not.

        2. I don’t think flying turtle objectively accepts Pioli as a good coach. I think he just doesn’t like him on a personal level for some reason. Nevermind his achievements.

          If social media was around during Carletto’s time, he would talk sh*t about him too. Honestly.

          Pioli has been HUGELY successful at Milan.

    4. Well said.
      Interesting take on if we had a 30 goal striker and take theirs away. I’m pretty sure they’d be like 4th or 5th. We had full backs playing at centre backs for a good chunk of the season and we’re still better than everyone except 1. I really really don’t get what exactly people want or expected with so many changes.
      When you’re in the 80 points + rate, you’re in Scudetto range and normally we would have been. Napoli had a crazy season last year’s this year it’s Inter, Juve had for like 5 yrs when there was no one around but outside that we would have been in the mix.

      1. Exactly! Glad to know that someone gets it, in addition to me! 🙂

        I hope the management gets it too and don’t commit the senseless folly of firing Pioli.

        1. I don’t see why they would. He checks all their boxes. Europe ✔️ CL qualification ✔️
          Unreasonable Requests ✔️ Players like and respect him ✔️

          I do hope for key upgrades this summer to elevate the team quality.

    5. Some people don’t like how Pioli plays the team which they make it as “give ball to Leao and see what happens”… which reminds of what people used to say of Allegri “give ball to Ibra and see what happens”

      I think the problem that some fans have with Pioli, is that the team sometimes is sluggish, doesn’t synchronise their movements (not just this year, last year as well…)
      This is very true!

      Other people say that with Pioli we will never win a trophy again. This does not depend on Pioli. Was Pioli’s fault that we couldn’t renew Kessie or that we had to sell Tonali to buy other players? Was it Pioli’s fault that we got outbid by Inter and instead of Thuram, we ended on the last day with Jovic? Was Pioli’s fault that instead of Botman we ended with CDK (also very late in the transfer window)?

      What people sometimes don’t consider is that even great teams have human beings as players. You could be slightly sick or injured, you might have a family member that worries you, etc that don’t allow you to perform as well, but you still have to go on the field and perform… and sometimes it’s hard to motivate oneself to be at 100%, especially in your early 20s.

      Even Klopp who’s considered as the best possible replacement of Pioli, had quite a few slumps with Liverpool…

  2. These injuries occur at the same stage every season under Pioli’s tenure. This needs to be addressed.
    For me the distance and difference between Milan and Inter was crystal clear from the first derby. Regrettably, Inter struck with first blood and then didn’t stop…! Pioli has and should continue to redeem himself firstly by smashing Inter at the next encounter then by establishing the second star next season. Total victory as nothing else is really acceptable. Forza ACM,⚡

    1. The injuries got addressed. There was a push to change the methods of the Athletic Department and to chance some training practices. The injuries largely stopped happening after that, with a few exceptions but not at the number they were happening before.

      I’m not sure if we will smash Inter. They are just better than we are. It is true and unfortunately needs do be acknowledged. Losing to a very superior team (like Inter, and most likely to Liverpool if we survive Roma and Leverkusen) is no shame. These teams are basically beating everybody, not just beating us.

      Now, if next season we get a good striker, a good defensive midfielder, good depth at CB, RB and LB, a better solution for the RW, we can be competitive with Inter, but not with our current roster, and this is not Pioli’s fault. He’s been trying to do the best he can with the human material he’s been given.

      Have you realized that Pioli has won more with Milan than freaking Ancelotti, and he accomplished it in fewer games and with a way inferior roster than the one Ancelotti had???

      Have you realized that Pioli received the team after the banter years, got us back to the UCL, won a Scudetto, got us to the UCL semis, and despite having a moment when our defense was UTTERLY DEVASTED by injury, still has us as second-placed team in the league and still playing in Europe?

      Pioli is WAAAAAAY better than you guys think, and firing him now would be a colossal mistake, which many noted journalists and also some team managers have been realizing, lately.

    2. Hehehe… I dream of that and relish the feeling of smashing Inter. I hope for it really

      But let’s be realistic. Those guys form is something else currently. And unfortunately, they cowardly went out of the champions league meaning they have a whole week before every game henceforth, and we play in-between weeks.

    3. The difference was that Milan had a brand new midfield made up of foreigners in their first season in Serie A.

      While Inter is still stronger, I don’t anticipate another 5-1 loss to them this time around.

  3. You people let pioli continue if suck pioli next season we will fight for number 7 or 8 believe me,and don’t management try to made a mistake of sucking pioli you
    will regret.

    1. Completely wrong. You don’t seem to even understand Pioli’s results and the status of this current team.

      Pioli has had lots of success despite Kessie not ever being replaced, and despite poor solutions for the most important position, that of the striker.

      Give Pioli an excellent striker and an excellent defensive midfielder and the team will improve immediately. Give him some more depth for the defensive position and more depth for the right wing and the team will improve even more.

      Think of adding Lautaro’s 26 goals and 2 assists to Milan’s games, and subtracting his 26 goals and 2 assists from Inter’s games. And there are still 8 games left; he will easily go above 30 goals and maybe a couple of other assists. So remove a player with 35 goal participations from Inter’s season and give him to us. What would then happen to the number of points achieved?

      I’ll tell you what would happen: we would win the Scudetto.

      That’s what we are missing when we don’t have an outstanding striker like Lautaro, and Inter does.

      Now, get us a proper defensive midfielder, like Kessie was, and see our number of goals conceded dive down sharply, also adding to league points.

      Is it Pioli’s fault that we don’t have a proper striker and we don’t have a proper DM?

      We love Giroud but the guy is old and irregular and way less prolific than Lautaro. His back up is washed Jovic, who actually did relatively well in the second half of the season but can’t even lick the sole of Lautaro’s shoes. Or even Thuram’s, Inter’s second striker.

      Don’t blame the coach for management’s failures in securing top players in essential positions.

      1. HINT:
        You can’t argue with everyone in these threads. Pick your battles. His comment is SO ridiculous, it’s not even worth touching.

        Like a pile of s**t – unless you need to retrieve something from it, don’t touch it or it will stink.

        1. Good point. As usual, i like your comments, you are one of the few here who know soccer well and understand what is at stake. I’m appalled at the lack of sophistication of most fans here. It’s just knee-jerk reaction, “fire Pioli, Pioli sucks” without even understanding the miracles that Pioli pulled off for us, while being given a deficient roster and facing devastating injuries.

  4. I’m sure finding a Lautaro is really easy. It’ll be simple for us.

    So many rose colored glasses. With the amount of money we spent to upgrade we should be competing for the title.

    Instead we play second fiddle. Go back and watch the games again. Listen to the commentary. Read old articles about how our attack is clueless when we have slow build up.

    That’s not on accident. That’s Piolis capabilities.

    We’ve won through broken plays and attacks. Weve won when we are playing on counter or at pace. That’s usually reliant on individual brilliance.

    As for Pioli winning a scudetto I will come back to the biggest moment of that season. Inters own goal with a few games left. Totally wrecked them and they never regained mentally. If not for that they would have their second star already. We didn’t win it as much as Inter lost it.

    1. Maybe give up on glasses and try contact lenses.

      “ Read old articles about how our attack is clueless when we have slow build up” LOL!!! What? The second best attack in the league? That one? Due to individual brilliance? No patterns of play?

      1. According to these “fans” all that we have accomplished is just luck and individual brilliance. So, what about Inter? They rely heavily on Lautaro’s individual brilliance. For them, that’s fine, but not for us, huh?

        I think these are very young fans. They have not lived through the banter years. They don’t understand that Pioli actually lifted us up from that and achieved a Scudetto, several participations in the UCL, one of them getting us to the semis. He is one of the winningest coaches in Milan’s history. He is respected and liked by the players. He was able to turn around many of the downturns we’ve suffered; he is resilient and has stamina.

        He is not perfect. He is stubborn and slow to learn from mistakes. He tends to repeat errors game after game. But overall he is a good coach. Just look at how he was able to integrate 11 new players into the team.

        People criticize him with the most unrealistic views. A favorite thing is to say that he doesn’t give opportunities to young players. Milan is the European team that used the MOST young players of all European teams… and he is blamed for supposedly not doing it. Unreal.

        It’s like when lots of these “fans” criticized him for supposedly not giving CDK opportunities. Whoa! Pioli gave NUMEROUS opportunities to CDK who ALWAYS wasted them. I’m very glad that he is gone. He doesn’t fit our system and doesn’t have the mental stamina to play for a big club like ours. He is doing better at Atalanta, good for him, but good riddance. The unrealistic views of Pioli v CDK here were laughable.

        Pioli doesn’t only have qualities. He has shortcomings. But he has A LOT of qualities and I don’t see anybody available and realistically affordable that would be an upgrade over him.

        I think these fans think we’ll suddenly get Klopp or Pep and win all games and all competitions, magically. That is called wishful thinking. And Conte??? Don’t make me laugh. That guy is toxic and destructive, and doesn’t fit our system at all. It would be extremely disruptive to get Conte.

        Thiago Motta? He is happy at Bologna especially now that they are likely to make the UCL. He’s not coming. And if he were, as much as I do like him, he has had ONE successful season. It’s a gamble.

        No, we must keep Pioli. It’s crystal clear.

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