AC Milan lost at home against previously winless Udinese on Saturday and left the field to a chorus of jeers, which has sparked suggestions that Stefano Pioli’s team are in a crisis again.
Going into the last international break Milan were alone at the top of the table but now they find themselves six points behind Simone Inzaghi’s Inter and with one foot out of the Champions League after the halfway point of Group F (two points and zero goals scored).
While the club are backing Pioli for the time being, several insiders are starting to hypothesise what the Milan of the future could be if the crisis were to deepen and the coach’s position were to become untenable.
If you’re feeling a bit more lucky than the Rossoneri have been in recent weeks you should check out new sweeps, but in the meantime the director of Sportitalia – Michele Criscitiello – has talked about what is happening at Milan and suggested who could replace Pioli.
“Milan analysis: the team has clear and objective gaps. Reflection: Pioli is an excellent coach and was a great ferryman from ‘little Milan to big Milan’ but he cannot be the pivot of the project. He won a Scudetto and it was a sporting miracle,” he began.
“Objective: maintain the Champions League and get back into the top four. Aim for the round of 16 but a miracle is needed. Cure: calling Antonio Conte and securing him for next season, getting him on the bandwagon in December wouldn’t make any sense for the project.
“Conte brings you charisma, self-esteem and professionalism. Conte’s crazy mentality is needed. The psychopathic patient who breaks everything if he doesn’t win. We need his determination, his hunger to be more practical and less puppets.
“Rewinding the tape: you had to get De Zerbi, perfect for Milan and son of Milan when he was at home after the Ukrainian bombs and not let him escape from Brescia to Brighton. Milan are in great difficulty because when they don’t have individuals who can unlock games (see Leao, Giroud and Theo) they struggle to build.
“There is a lack of brains in midfield and in attack they are always predictable. They’re only scary when Leao lights up but, with his inconstancy, he becomes a normal player in the long run.
“Pioli obviously has his fault but the fault lies with those who have not understood in recent years that the coach is good and capable and has grown a lot but entrusting him with a European project like that of Milan is too much.
“We’re talking about someone who won the Scudetto and had a bad two legs in the Champions League semi-final a few months ago. Unthinkable goals if we think of Pioli in Salerno, Bologna or Florence.
“The far-sighted club must understand, in the summer, that if you make the right managerial revolution you must also complete it in the technical sector. In private I told someone and I was told that Pioli wasn’t a problem. Warning: he isn’t one but he becomes one over time.
“An analysis needs to be done on the involution of individuals. Too many players have gotten worse in a few months, you have a serious problem with injuries and athletic condition. If you’re in the league, Champions League and you’re Milan, you can’t suffer these things but control them.”