Costacurta postpones assessment of Pioli and blames players for Monza showing

By Oliver Fisher -

Alessandro Costacurta has given his thoughts on the idea that Stefano Pioli is reaching the end of his time at AC Milan, shifting blame back onto the players for their part in the Monza defeat.

There were some eyebrows raised regarding the fact that head coach Stefano Pioli chose to make six changes from the team that had quite comprehensively beaten Stade Rennais on the Thursday night prior for the game against Monza.

He made the call to alter the attack and midfield almost entirely with Luka Jovic leading the line, Samuel Chukwueze on the right and Noah Okafor on the left. We wrote an analysis earlier this week about Pioli’s battle with effective rotation.

Matteo Gabbia had a bit of a disagreement with Costacurta and his assessment of the game against Monza during his post-match interview in Sky, adjudging that the ex-defender had been too harsh in criticising individuals.

Now, they must respond against Rennes in the second leg but it is a difficult moment to do so given that they are 3-0 up, meaning the focus is more on controlling the game and not conceding rather than playing on the front foot.

Costacurta is someone who knows how to win in Europe given he lifted the Champions League five times and the Intercontinental Cup twice, and he spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport ahead of tonight’s game in Rennes.

Are Milan able to get to the final of the Europa League?

“Liverpool and Leverkusen are stronger. Against them they wouldn’t be the favourite, but in a possible final anything can happen. The qualities to get to the end are there.”

Is it right to shift the season’s ambitions to the Europa League?

“If you reach the final, and you can even accept losing it, the season is positive. Playing for a European title has value from many points of view: technical, exposure.

“It creates anticipation, makes you excited for the ride. On the contrary, the season would become not good. And I underline not good, I avoid saying negative.”

Pioli decided to rotate for the game against Monza at the weekend, fielding the reserve options. Was he right to do so?

“I know that Pioli does not accept the term ‘reserve’, so I say that the replacements have disappointed. Chukwueze, Jovic and Okafor should have given much more. And it’s wrong to always blame the coach, the players are responsible: they disappointed me, not Pioli.”

Does not pointing the finger at the coach mean renewing your trust in him for next year?

“Too early to say. If Milan reach the [Europa League] final and get second in the league, for me yes, he must be kept. If they let Inter go to 20 points ahead and exit Europe against a team that isn’t up to the level of Liverpool or Bayer, it’s right to question him.”

In your opinion, which side is the team on?

“The feeling of the end of the cycle [for Pioli] belongs more to the fans. The players show that they follow him, recently they have won thanks to team spirit, due to the strength of unity. And the group is created thanks to the coach. Then they determine the results and Pioli knows this better than anyone.”

Conceding fewer goals would help, is it a question of individual errors?

“Same thing as before. The imbalance is attributable to the coach, but it is also the person on the pitch who must be able to make better choices. Who thought Pirlo would become so good at intercepting opposing balls? Or that Calhanoglu could do it?

“It is Adli, Bennacer and Reijnders who need to take a step forward. And it’s the same reason why in the summer I would invest first and foremost in midfield. All the strongest teams in Europe make a difference there. Rodri is the perfect example for Manchester City.”

Is it enough to rely on Leao up front?

“I have seen him grow in his attitude, and it is the basis for improving in everything else: first of all, in finding the goal more. I have often been critical of him, he was considered a champion too early and yet he still isn’t.

“However, I recognise a different attitude in him, more inclined to sacrifice. And with the desire to learn he can really get close to the greats.”


Tags AC Milan alessandro costacurta Stefano Pioli


    1. Nah can’t blame Pioli, Pioli is Sacchi, Capello, Ancelotti incarnated.
      Thiaw came back only 3 days earlier after being out for 3 months because of an injury.
      Everyone saw that he might be healed but not in shape yet. Pioli decided to play him because Kjaer needed a break even though he had Simic on the bench. So yeah Pioli is to be blamed as well. He is in charge of who plays and who doesn’t.

      1. Yes because you need to be 100% fit to not make stupid challenges and that too he did it BACK TO BACK, never seen a player make a mistake and then his first thought is to repeat that mistake again 2 seconds later.

        and whats your excuse for Adli passing to the opponent and then Thiaw getting nutmegged easily or what about the 3rd goal where he refused to tackle because you need to be at 100% fitness to tackle, so sad for him

        1. Ha ha 😂.
          “You need to be at 100% fitness to tackle”.
          Thiaw didn’t play football for 3 months. It takes time to get back in playing shape physically and mentally. If Milan had a coach instead of a standing lamp light on the sidelines he would understand that he needs to ease Thiaw in. As I said Simic was on the bench, healthy and fit, but Pioli doesn’t play young players unless he has no other option.
          When it comes to Adli, don’t forget that he is learning a new position. Even Pirlo in his 1st year at the new position was making mistakes.
          You are defending a mediocre coach just like the people that you were arguing with all summer long defended a mediocre director.

          1. Thiaw was ready physically, but not mentally, as was evident in his idiotic fouls.

            “Thiaw came back only 3 days earlier after being out for 3 months” – that doesn’t mean he hasn’t physically trained at all and was thrown straight into the game. He had to have trained for a long enough period to be ready. He looked good in his cameo against Rennes. Made 100% sense to start him against Monza.

            ESPECIALLY since everyone was criticizing Kjaer and waiting for Thiaw’s return.

      2. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Pioli but to compare the level of talent in his teams with those of the aforementioned coaches, I think he shouldn’t be ashamed. We had many, many coaches in a few years and he’s been the one able to develop top players and get Milan back on top of Italian and European football. He’s not responsible for the internal turmoil, the turnover in owners, executives and players, and injuries.

        1. Blaming everything 100% on Pioli is dumb, it makes no sense and those people just have an agenda at this stage, they are bored of this toy and want a new one, they’ll do the same with the next manager in a couple of years trust me.

          anyway, Thiaw himself making many mistakes this season he needs to focus or he’ll permanently lose his starting spot, Gabbia isnt messing around anymore

          1. Blaming everything on Pioli is just LAZY! Many commenters here just come to vent and lack complete objectivity.

            Thiaw will get more alert and focused, just needs more time. As will Tomori. THANKFULLY we have Gabbia (can’t believe I’m saying that)

    2. I think costacurta opinion is 100% same with my thinking

      The most important is midfield focus. The midfield must improved with players that we already have or add more midfield next summer. Its the best example of pirlo that he is look weak defensively but can be good to intercept ball from opponent. And of course he is the best not to make blunder or losing ball when in possesion

  1. “If Milan reach the [Europa League] final and get second in the league, for me yes, he must be kept. If they let Inter go to 20 points ahead and exit Europe against a team that isn’t up to the level of Liverpool or Bayer, it’s right to question him.”


      1. I don’t know about you, but i feel like we need to upgrade on coach. Pioli has run his course. Players need new stimuli, new ideas, and a new coach to elevate their mentality and conviction. You get complacent after a while.

        Natural progression.

        1. Exactly. Progression. That’s the keyword. We have done the opposite since the scudetto. Progressively regressed. That needs to change.

  2. Now this is the difference between Ac Milan and other serious clubs like Real Madrid.
    I mean, in 2007 Capello won Madrid the league, they had not won it in four years, but instead of celebrating him, they analysed the overall performance. I mean you can go and read the speech when they sacked him, if you’re a Madrid fan you would be proud of the club vision to see beyond results.

    But at Milan, we are stuck with results. We don’t analyse the process, the performance, we don’t follow the means. It’s really painful.

    We aren’t improving under Pioli, this is a clear fact. At the end of the season, let him leave regardless of the results.

Comments are closed

Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.