CM: Missed targets vs. improving numbers – Pioli’s fate is ‘in Ibrahimovic’s hands’

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan are down to their final eight league games of the season plus hopefully a few more in the Europa League, meaning the time is approaching to make a call on Stefano Pioli’s future.

As write, the numbers almost never lie and they tell the very clear story that Milan have turned a corner in 2024 and they are not far off the pace that Inter have set in what has been an incredible season.

Inter have obtained 31 points from the 20th matchday and Milan are on 26 points after the victory against Fiorentina, the fourth in a row in the league for Pioli’s team. The Rossoneri are on 65 points after 30 games, while at the same point in the Scudetto season they had 66.

These are numbers which will be examined by the Rossoneri management when deciding on Pioli’s future as the head coach.

Evaluations in progress

The runway is getting shorter. As mentioned, Milan have eight more games in the league plus however far they get in the Europa League, and they will be used to get a more precise picture of things.

The fact is that the team are paying for two difficult months between October and December and a series of injuries, but they still maintain the hope of closing the season with a trophy and that would be a convincing argument to stick with Pioli.

He is under contract until June 2025, which remains in effect despite months of speculation about other coaches and hypotheses of a sacking which never materialised.

Two voices more than others will rise above the others to express a definitive judgment on Pioli’s fate: the Senior Advisor Zlatan Ibrahimovic and of course the owner Gerry Cardinale.

The former has said little or nothing since he officially returned to the Rossoneri in his new role, except when he appeared at the Formula One Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia when he spoke to Sky about Pioli.

“To remain he must continue as he is doing. We talk about a good job, we are happy with him,” he said. It was March 8, almost a month has passed and Milan in the meantime has continued to grind out victories and points, both in the league and in the Europa League.

This has helped rehabilitating the image of an excessively fragile and inconsistent team that was seen in the two months that have effectively compromised the chase for the Scudetto and resulted in the premature elimination from the Champions League groups.

These were missed targets that made Cardinale reflect, even publicly, given what he said just seven days before those comments from Zlatan.

“Everything regarding Milan must evolve. We will also look at the personnel, we are not satisfied with the injuries. Zlatan and I are not happy that we are not first in the table, but the team is young and can improve over time,” he said.

“If you buy a player and you don’t have him available, what do you pay to sign him? It’s frustrating. The medical aspect at Milan needs to be improved.”

Maintaining the current average of 2.6 points per games, the projection leads to 88 points at the end of the league season. Not bad for a team that has changed a lot with the last summer window, and only insufficient because of Inter’s historic season.

The ‘pro-Pioli party’

The stance taken by the executive side of Milan – the one led by the CEO Giorgio Furlani and the president Paolo Scaroni – have remained firm on their stance.

In the recent interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, the former stated: “No one from the club has ever spoken about the coach being at risk. And he will not be evaluated just based on the Europa League or the derby. Our season so far has been good, but how.

“Last year there was a team that went beyond predictions: yesterday Napoli, today Inter. Now it would be ungenerous to evaluate them based on their future path in the Europa League or the outcome of the derby, however important it is.”

The latter reiterated the concept a few minutes before the match against Fiorentina: “I have always said that Pioli is staying because I like coaches who win and since we are doing well I like Pioli, it’s all very simple.”

Eight league games, plus the journey in the Europa League: Milan’s season comes to life, in its decisive phase. Everything is still open, everything is still in the balance.


Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli Zlatan Ibrahimovic


  1. It’s an American business. Don’t get me wrong, my whole professional experience is under american corporations (sadly), so I am not trying to offend someone. But the american model is – today I love you to death, but tomorrow I may kill you. All nice words, etc. mean absolute horse poo for Gerry and Co. On numerous occasions I’ve seen even top executives in listed companies being treated like a second-hand toilet paper. The moment they have a better option, anyone is out. What they struggle with sports in Europe is that the fans have immense power over revenues, and the same fans are emotionally driven.

  2. Well this is about more balanced. Yes we have more points than last year but we also exited the UCL in the group stage. 6 of one, half dozen of the other.
    “The Rossoneri are on 65 points after 30 games, while at the same point in the Scudetto season they had 66.”. This just tell me what I’ve been saying all along..we’ve been made whole from the prior years’ trajectories. It was clear we prioritized UCL last year at the expense of the league and it was made mention that we didn’t have a squad to compete in both competitions properly. Right now we’re right back where we used to be. No more, no less.

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