CM: Milan confused by Pioli’s ‘bizarre’ tactical moves in Roma defeat

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan went to Rome hoping for a famous night, but in truth the Europa League tie was over after less than 25 minutes leading to some question marks about Stefano Pioli’s moves.

As Daniele Longo writes for, Milan sadly exited the Europa League against a better team from every point of view. Roma were superior on a technical, tactical, personality and character level, and they are rightly into the semi-finals.

The Rossoneri had to play a much better game to overturn a first leg that had seen them succumb to the pressure at San Siro and instead they entered the field with the fear of those who seems to know they couldn’t do it.

Pioli put a lot of effort into fielding a ‘bizarre’ starting XI: he excluded his best midfielder in favour of playing Yunus Musah wide to cover Spinazzola, and then Davide Calabria flopped in a more central role where other qualities – such as those of a natural midfielder – were needed.

The result? Roma attacked through the central routes this time and scored two goals in 22 minutes, which ended up being more than enough to win the game against a Milan that looked out of ideas and lacking in confidence.

It was also questionable to relegate the most in-form player in the squad, Samuel Chukwueze, to the bench. The Nigerian, who came on at the start of the second half, was the only one able to disturb a very well-placed team with his unpredictability.

Pioli may have got the better of Roma in the two league meetings this season but he has now lost his last four European games against Italian sides, namely Inter and Roma, scoring just one goal. These are dire numbers that mark, in all likelihood, the end of his time in charge.

Tags AC Milan Roma Milan


  1. I think he’s all done with that inverted wing back s**t, but wow he decided to play that card in one of our most important matches of the season.

    1. Even a donkey knows Calabria is best for
      1v1 duels, my problem is why take a man from his strength and put him in his weak spot? Pioli just like to break things to fit his fantasy. I thought Giroud would be subbed and Okafor introduced to stretch the Roma back line but alas, Giroud played the whole 90mins. Pioli isn’t a serious coach.

      1. Piolisimo was thinking “outside the box”. he wanted to confuse the opponents with an unusual tactical masterplan, and ended up confusing not only himself but the players as well. Nice job!
        Come to think of it, it sometimes seems as though he had a strong desire to be fired based on the way he pick his tactics and subs during matches. As though he was testing out some theory he had discussed with his team. when it backfires, he finds some excuse and moves on, with no consequences. Little wonder Maldini wanted him fired even before the season started. He foresaw he was at his wits end last season.
        I’ll go fire up Football manager and fire him there! lol
        Forza Milan. lets hope there are better days ahead.

        1. Are you a childish dumb ?? Come on, football manager?? This piece is for grown up who deserve and like to see Milan matches
          My god what I have to stand for….

          1. THAT’S what you want to clutch your pearls over, Stone? That he made a joke about firing Pioli in FM because he can’t do it in the real world? Seems like he’s not the dumb one, here. 😂😂

  2. I have said it since last season, it’s not like we don’t have the quality and sqard depth, we just don’t have a tactical coach to piece these players to form a formidable team. The setup of this team is all wrong.

    Musa for example has never been used right since he was signed, RLC was only used right against PSG in the return leg. Bennercer is a shadow of his former self because no guidance and he is frustrated. Leao is just not peaking cus he has no instructions to carry on, same for Theo in most cases. The team is in shambles.

    It can be agured that we have come this far, but I can tell you it wasn’t due to tactics mostly, it was just lack of quality from the teams we have played so far.

    We need to shop a new coach even before the season ends so these players can adapt to proper football tactics in pre-season. And No Conte please.

  3. I think his starting set-up was interesting and created problems to Roma in the first 30 minutes, particularly with the position of Pulisic more internal and Musah wide. The goals of Roma are bad individual errors and not tactical problems. But Pioli completely screw up the game following the red card, emptying the mid field and playing a crossing game with two defenders that are phenomenal in aerial duels like Mancini and Smalling. Giroud on the pictch for 180 minutes in those two games is just insane.

  4. I guess it was to confuse Roma because it definitely confused me too. I genuinely thought Reijnders was injured until I saw him come on in the second half lol 😂
    It’s so ironic that we play inverted full back a but it was Roma who attacked through the middle

    1. I guess the idea was to confuse the opposition.
      “If you’re confused, that means your opponent is confused” right ?
      Also, tactics aside, I still don’t understand the subs. We subbed out our midfielders, had like 2 right wingers, 2 strikers, was it a 2-2-6 ? or a 4-1-5 ? What was the idea behind the subs ?

      1. With you bro. I don’t understand the subs either. Brought Jovic on, put RLC back in deeper role he hasn’t played all season. ???
        Moreso I don’t even understand the tactics.

  5. Because De Rossi is a better coach and if he was there all year Milan would be 0 to 4 against Roma. AC Milan did not face De Rossi Roma in regular season.

  6. Pioli deserves a lot of respect for his tenure with us, and should always remain a positive figure in our history. But his all-out-attack high risk high reward type of football got us some really poor results this season, especially against the top serie a sides. Yes, we have many defensive holes in our squad, but Pioli’s tactics often seem to enhance these weaknesses instead of hiding them. This was apparent already last season, and this season it’s even worse.

  7. If G Gerdinale does not fired before the Derby ,beleife me the qualification to next UCL will be at risk.
    Furlani and Scaloni the President must be fired at end of the season.
    I ahve told many times to fire Pioli when the team sold Tonali and made huge importan Investment best in Europe.
    I anaylused that this Project can not lead Pioli to any acheivements and he is the fisrt enemy of the prioject clearly and indicated Facts and Figures.
    Now you see the same result failures i forcusted accedemically in hoest,Experienced,Policy and its advised way to my beloved team acmilan’s interst.
    Decesion making in the rigjt time wothout love and hate with good infomation is the best.
    Do we lower tha O Marseille who fired G Gatuuso mid in the season ,they are in the semifinal,do we lower than Ivory Costy Who fire when qualified the round od 16-African Cup of Nations than they won the cup.
    You make big company ,but you assign who destroyes it.

  8. Serie A
    Giroud goal every 156 mins
    Jovic goal every 127 mins
    Okafor goal every 118 mins

    Either of Jovic or Okaafor should be starting – Most people have had enough of Giroud – supposed target man yet can’t hold up play, can’t find a pass, misses sitters. every other touch is a fancy flick, 99% of which go to the opposition. Thanks Olivier but this season you’ve stolen your place….. next

    1. Giroud is an enigma.

      He’s a winner.

      He’s won World Cups.

      He’s won titles.

      But you’re right, his hold up play is awful, he misses sitters, he tries so many fancy flicks….the flicks are the most bizarre..

      He’s also scored crucial goals.

      And then missed crucial sitters.

      I think in general terms his signing can seen as a massive success. I don’t think Okafor or Jovic have the…..Giroud Factor….to take his place.

      This is where stats are so misleading.

      It’s very hard to pin down precisely what makes a team a win.

      Apparently it is a player like Giroud. Most of the time.

      1. There also just comes a time/age when a good player loses his level. He’s done very well being able to play at a high level until age 37, but being the starting striker for a club like Milan might be a bit too much at this point. None of the top clubs in the top 5 leagues start such an old player at striker, that I know of. The closest is Lewandowksi and he’s also starting to drop off, with 13 goals in 28 LA Liga games and 3 goals in 9 UCL games. Father time bests us all.

      2. He’s a winner but he was never the main driver of a winning team, aside from arguably the Scudetto. Strikers rarely are. If the striker gets service he will score more often than not. Milan’s biggest issue is that the strikers are frequently not getting service. When they can’t they need to do more. Jovic and Okafor offer more to the team at this point and either should be starting over Giroud given his terrible performances in the last games.

        People would be calling for heads if Jovic or Okafor had a stretch of such performances while still getting starts, rightfully.

  9. “Pioli put a lot of effort into fielding a ‘bizarre’ starting XI” plus bizarre subs too.


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