GdS: Huge games, Pioli’s fate – why April is the ‘month of truth’ for Milan

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan are now on six wins in a row across all competitions thanks to a very positive month of March, yet the feeling is that April contains the games that they really must get right.

La Gazzetta dello Sport talks about the things that are at stake in the next four weeks: second place in the league table, the Europa League campaign and subsequently Stefano Pioli’s future as the head coach.

Pioli has already accustomed everyone to excellent performances in the final part of the season, but it must be recognised that March went above and beyond expectations: six games, six wins, 14 goals scored and five conceded. Yet, the six games in April will leave a clear mark on the season and the future.

The trust of the management

Nothing is set in stone yet, also because there is still a lot at stake between now and the end of May, but Paolo Scaroni’s recent words and those of the CEO Giorgio Furlani allow us to think that, barring disasters, the coach will remain where he is for next season.

This is an important starting point, also for the players: a coach under discussion obviously equates to a question mark about the following season and can have effects on the performances of individuals.

Once again, Pioli managed to pull himself out of the quicksand, and that in itself is a very clear sign that the dressing room continue to follow him.

It also happened because he is a coach who, despite stumbling into errors in the management of some games, has been able to come up with something new on a tactical level (this season, for example, a productive 4-1-4-1).

It means being credible in the eyes of the squad and the key players. If you don’t believe that, just go and reread what prominent figures such as Theo Hernandez and Rafael Leao say about him.

Big games

The warning for April concerns a rising difficulty coefficient. The two league games against Lecce and Sassuolo appear winnable on paper but they come either side of the first leg against Roma, then games against Inter and Juventus follow the second leg.

Thus, there will be room for more practical reflections. Losing in Europe against either Bayer Leverkusen in the semi-finals or Liverpool in the final would not create particular outrage, but going out against Roma would not be taken well.

The Giallorossi are thirteen points behind in the table and the fans expect that to be reflected over the two legs. Speaking of points gaps, we come to the derby on April 22 which carries a catastrophic possibility: Inter winning the title that day.

However, these are worst-case scenarios that go against the actual positive trend. Milan are averaging 2.42 points per game this season, well above what normally guarantees qualification for the Champions League.

They have the second-best attack in the league in terms of goals, and 18 points in seven away games in 2024 as well which is even more than the Nerazzurri (17, with two less games played).

The contribution of reserves

The injury situation seems to have stabilised a bit two. There are two or three absent players per match, but above all there have been no more muscular problems.

The consequence is that Pioli can proceed with rotations induced by logic and not by emergency. In recent weeks no one has had their minutes stretched more than is legitimate, also because the bench options are offering a greater contribution than in the first part of the season.

Enthusiasm has therefore returned to San Siro, and the objectives are clear to everyone: continue the road towards Dublin, postpone Inter’s title celebration and keep Juve’s comeback ambitions at bay.

Also because second place, in addition to getting a few million euros more than the bronze medal, would guarantee participation in the next Supercoppa.


Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli

1 Comment

  1. This April we will see if Milan indeed had made progress and can have a strong finish to this season, or did otherwise just happen to enjoy a lucky stream of easy games since mid-december.

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