CM: Pioli must recover dressing room harmony after three expressions of discontent

By Oliver Fisher -

Stefano Pioli must show that he has control over the AC Milan dressing room again after three recent incidents which shed some doubt on things, a report claims.

Daniele Longo writes for that Milan ‘exposed all their current fragilities’ last night during their 2-2 draw with Napoli at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, having been 2-0 up but then throwing it away in the second half.

Pioli had spoken of tension and nerves in his pre-match press conference the day before at Milanello, and they were on display last night with the Rossoneri seeming on edge.

Olivier Giroud was unhappy with being taken off while potentially being on for a hat-trick. He sat on a freezer box for a while and didn’t head to the bench before then sitting alone, in a corner, disconsolate.

Rafael Leão wasn’t happy to come off either as he headed towards Pioli to ask for explanations. These were two quite dramatic reactions that occurred after the double change, with Okafor and Jovic coming on.

Of course these things can happen in the heat of the moment and Giroud clarified that there was no problem, but it comes after the misunderstanding with Davide Calabria after the 3-0 defeat in Paris.

Pioli still has to deal with the discontent of his players and this is a sign that cannot be underestimated: he urgently needs to rediscover the harmony shown at the beginning of the season before it’s too late.

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli


  1. I think is a good time to part ways. Pioli has already given more than he can give to this Milan. He did a fantastic job, and it should stay like this.

  2. Leaõ has come under a lot if flack from fans and even more respected voices like Sacchi. However, I’m beginning to think that under a different coach, we may not have this issue.

    Vinicius Jr was somewhat hit and miss under Zizou. He didn’t get along with senior players like Benz and Hazard. But when Carletto came, Vini and Benz became super cool.

    Leaõ has a right to feel special. Ibra always felt special. In his days, Romario didn’t do defensive duties. I think if a different gaffer takes over, a better Leaõ will emerge.

  3. Pioli no longer has figures like Ibra and Maldini to help deal with players frustrations. He’s all on his one now. This is what he and management wanted – complete control over the dressing room; transfer decisions; formation changes and tactics etc…well so far it isn’t going that great. Still time to turn things around but doesn’t look promising. IMO we have peaked with Pioli and won’t get much better with him at the helm. He is limited in his tactical abilities and now seems to have lost or is slowly losing the dressing room and respect of the players. That means it’s time to start thinking about making a coaching change which is normal after 4-5 years. Pioli is no Pep or Klopp – so anyone who thinks this is the coach to take us to the next level doesn’t under tactics.

    1. Over reaction. This was always going to be a tough group in the CL and this run of fixtures would give any team struggles. That said if Pioli didn’t do his normal thing and totally f up a won game your tone would be different. Besides if Maldini were here the team would be in 10th and Pobega would be starting regularly. I think the reality is Pioli is a terrible in game manager, he always has been and honestly seems to be getting worse. I think he’s on the verge of being washed. I mean who takes off their most dangerous players in a big game where a goal means everything in favor of two guys who haven’t gotten regular playing time and haven’t been productive. Did Pioli really think that was the moment 🤦‍♂️

      1. I think you’re adding to Juro’s point that we’ve peaked with Pioli. I don’t see his post as that of an overreaction but more laying out what happened over the summer and the current state of affairs

        1. Idk Juro’s comment reads more as a criticism of management rather than the coach… I still think Milan are miles ahead of where they would be if Maldini were still in charge. Also it’s worth a shout that had one of Kalulu and Kjear not been injured that first goal probably wouldn’t have happened. Which of course changes the whole dynamic of the game

          1. Well that too. But we can’t really do what ifs because you can apply the same to last season.
            I don’t know if we’re better off now than with what Maldini would have done (another what if) as we would have had some of the players here and others like Berardi who’s playing very well right now. But to say we are much better than last year, sure in some sense. Like the RW but we can’t say if it would have been better than anything M would have done.

    2. I think this is the make-it-or-break-it year for Pioli. He does what he said he wanted with the players he wanted. So if we start dropping points more, he will be on the hot seat.

      Results in Europe will be a big determining factor whether he stays or goes, as it’s a huge financial boost for the club.

      But I can’t help but wonder whether Maldini’s words of upgrading on Pioli still echo with the management?

  4. The players are frustrated because the substitutions didn’t make sense. Jovic and Okafor is not an upgrade to Giroud and Leao.

    If they had stayed on the pitch we could have won the game.

    Milan need to part ways with Pioli. Obviously without Ibra and Maldini influence he can’t control the dressing room.

    Christophe Gaultier is available and there are a lot of players who speak French in the team. He also coached Maignan and Leao before at Lille and he might be able to help with Maignan’s renewal.

    We are also linked to Todibo and Jonathan David which a players who were successful under Christophe Gaultier when Lille won Ligue 1. So he would be a good candidate to take over from Pioli since he’s familiar with some of the players in the squad.

    It’s time to say goodbye to Pioli. I don’t see this getting better and if we drop out of the UCL then Pioli should be sacked. We can still save the season and challenge for the scudetto.

    1. 1 google search tells you he’s in Saudi, why would we get a coward manager who ran off to Saudi? He coudnt even win the title with freaking PSG

    2. Um ya, NOOOO. Gaultier is literally hiding in Saudi trying to avoid getting dragged back for a court case in France. We ain’t taking in that walking disaster

  5. It’s fair to say that the player are becoming discontent with their coach. They need a leader and someone who can help them make the next step. Pioli will remain a Milanista but his work has peaked with the Scudetti. Time for new ideas and leadership at the dressroom.

  6. I dont remember this baldy ever admit he made a mistake most often he was trying to defending himself like ” we did good for 50 minutes and so on” his tactic most often are so boring keep playing the ball in the back and thats why i was surprised with how we played last night at the first half thats the Milan i wanted to see, we could easily killed the game off if Reinjders not keep shooting the ball to the moon. Pioli must leave but currently i dont see any good coach around to replace him, De Zerbi wont be coming as im sure EPL top teams like MU and Chelsea probably after him next season.

      1. Here you go boulden the very Pioli co*k sucker, keep being stupid as you are if you think we are better than Chelsea, remember last season we got beaten by the very weaken chelsea and EPL whether you like it or not have a higher standard than Serie A but ofc delusional fool like wont admit it

  7. Even though it’s unlikly to happen but let’s ask this:
    -If Pioli is sacked now, who should replace him ?
    -If Pioli is sacked by the end of the season, who should replace him ?

  8. This is what happens when the players see the coach playing favorites with certain players. Krunic has done nothing to deserve these starts. Adli has proven himself while Krunic was out and Krunic immediately takes his spot again even though he has been awful since coming back. It’s not fair to Adli and it’s not fair to the other players on that team.

    1. Adli was literally sleeping on that 3rd PSG goal and numerous times has been defensively exploited but sure he makes nice pass, as a CDM thats totally the most important thing

      Also way to get a totally unrelated player here, Adli nor Krunic has shown any discontent, stop trying to control what they feel, you arent god

  9. Stop making excuses. Krunic was the worst player on the pitch against Juventus, gets rewarded with the start against PSG and is the worst player on the pitch again, and of course gets rewarded with another start against Napoli. If you don’t think the other players in the locker room notice that, you are foolish. We didn’t lose a single match while Krunic was out. Since his return we lost 2 and then blew a 2-0 lead for a draw. But I’m sure he’ll start the next match as well.

  10. Giroud should never have come off. He was hot. Pulisic neither. Pioli’s trying to please too many bench sitters and give them a chance. But they’re not up to it.

  11. For those who haven’t played sport this seems like insane reactions but this is par for the course. People are reading waaaaaaaay too much into these reactions. It’s the heat of the moment and they literally made up there and then..of course this brings clicks but this is super normal. Worse has happened in training, TRUST ME.

  12. This is not Pioli’s team, so he will never have full control over the dressingroom. He didn’t choose 80% of the players, he doesn’t have a clear identity, he doesn’t have a plan or a system and unfortunately he is at the mercy of players who decide when to play, how to play and when to be substituted. If you do not know what you are doing, everyone will think he is right and that’s where chaos sets in. Pep and Alex Ferguson could put players in their place because it’s his players, his system, his plan and if you do not fit in he ships you out. Pioli does not have authority over his players and the rot will get worse unless he leaves or builds his own players around his style of play. This emotional stop gap approach (Jovic, etc al) to solving our problems is just exacerbating the situation. I feel for him and the players, maybe they are a complete mismatch. Or maybe his time has expired he could only take the team so far.

  13. I can’t understand some of you lot ,,always criticising pioli …some of you have been so critical of my favourite player big time Olivier Giroud..
    What a match he played ,as did pulisic.
    Yes Olivier Giroud doesn’t need a replacement,,,he is a top man …I told you that when we signed him .
    It was a pity he was taken off ,,,and I wish he had not ,but I think pioli was a bit concerned and he was limping at one stage..I also thought reafeo leao should not have been subbed as I believe with both Olivier and Rafeo on ..we could have won the match .yes rafeol had a poor match ,but he has the ability to change things with one flash of brilliance ..
    But again I respect pioli decision as we have so many injuries at the moment ,,.so I suppose he was concerned.. we played reasonably well in the first half and should have been more than two goals to the good …in the second period we were poor ,,,making so many individual mistakes..I think we would have won the match If pulisic had not sustained an injury ,
    He had a briiliant first half along with Giroud,,,and indeed provided a superb cross which Olivier delightfully tucked away .just hope the injury to pulisic is a minor one’s also a pity that Loftus cheek is injured yet again ,,,that’s a huge loss as when fit he is a superb athlete and has ability to pass a ball ⚽️ with accuracy,,and he definitely can score goals ..
    We have been very unlucky with injuries, however I honestly still believe in our team and our manager pioli …We can win the scuddeto again this season ..
    So please fans keep believing..We are going through a difficult period at the moment ..But this will pass .
    A couple of good wins needed to boost confidence.

    1. “Yes Olivier Giroud doesn’t need a replacement,,,he is a top man”
      If he always performs this way, this would be true. But the fact is, this is the best Giroud game since at least a month ago. Also we can’t ignore the fact that he is getting older and can’t physically play as a regular every 3 days. Another good striker is a must.
      Giroud is a winner, and I have the most respect for him, but we can’t rely on him forever.
      “But again I respect pioli decision as we have so many injuries at the moment ,,.so I suppose he was concerned.. we played reasonably well in the first half and should have been more than two goals to the good”
      In another post, I did say it seemed to be a reasonable sub, especially with the injury crisis.
      But Pioli needs to confront Leao about how bad he is playing lately, he can’t just keep running away from him.
      “We have been very unlucky with injuries, however I honestly still believe in our team and our manager pioli …We can win the scuddeto again this season ..”
      You are one of the few optimistics here.
      Losses aside, when I see how Pioli comments about the last defeats (that we played better than teams that have scored 3 goals or more against us) I am VERY concerned.
      You also can’t ignore the fact that the players are losing confidence with the coach and that is no leader (Ibra and Maldini gone) to calm things down.
      Also, it becomes clearer that pre-scudetto Pioli is different from post-scudetto Pioli.
      But perhaps we can win the scudetto, who knows.

    2. “We have been very unlucky with injuries,”. It’s not luck when it happens every season. 4 seasons of being the most injured club in football. They are doing something wrong in the way they are training and warming up for games.

  14. Giroud didn’t seem tired. He was on fire. Leão was actually improving; he fired a shot at the lower left corner that should have been a score if not for a miraculous save by their goalie. And then Giroud and Leão are subbed out, for useless Jovic, and Okafor who is decent but didn’t really help in that game. When the subs happened, I told my son, there goes away any possibility of scoring a third. Yes, Rafa wasn’t doing well (failed to pass the ball to Romero who would probably have scored) but Rafa can be quiet or doing poorly and suddenly score or assist for a score. I would have left Giroud finish that game and would have kept Leão. So, yes, Pioli’s subs were bad and the players got frustrated. Yes, he seems to have lost the respect of the locker room. The problem is, we can’t really afford to change the manager mid-season unless a very good replacement is available and willing, and I don’t see any at this moment. We’re stuck with Pioli until the end of the season, but then, yes, I don’t think he should stay. Apparently he knows it as well, as he’s been talking about it.

    Now, definitely, Kalulu’s lesion isn’t Pioli’s fault. The first goal maybe would not have happened if a better and more experienced player like Kalulu had stayed as opposed to Pellegrino who wasn’t ready to have his debut in a big away game against the champions of Italy, Napoli.

    And Pulisic getting injured was also very unfortunate as he was spectacular in first half, and with Musah they were completely overwhelming Napoli’s left side (our right side). Once Pulisic left, Musah became orphaned and more unproductive.

    With no injuries, we would have won this game. It’s not all Pioli’s fault. But yes, usually Pioli makes bad subs and can’t adapt his strategy and tactics during the game like other managers do.

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