GdS: Ignored instructions and a message to Leao – Pioli irritated after Slavia game

By Oliver Fisher -

It would be fair to say that Stefano Pioli seemed irritated after last night’s 4-2 win over Slavia Praha, something which tells its own story about how the game went.

It was a real rollercoaster of a night at San Siro, starting with Diouf getting a red card for the away side after less than half an hour, with Olivier Giroud scoring the opener before the away side levelled after less than two minutes.

Milan went in 3-1 up at the break thanks to goals from Tijjani Reijnders and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, yet they were pegged back again in the second half by another excellent strike. Christian Pulisic tapped in a fourth late on after great work by Rafael Leao, but the 4-2 win left a bitter taste.

Pioli’s statements after the match were relayed by La Gazzetta dello Sport this morning (seen below), summed up the frustrations that the 60,000 fans felt.

“We did well but not very well, we had to move the ball faster, I expected a second half with more pace. It’s not a question of character but we have to play well. We have a good lead but we still have to get through to the next round, we have to do better in the return leg,” he said.

“We took the lead and then immediately let the opponents come back, it could be a loss of concentration. In this case we made small mistakes, we weren’t ready.

“On the other hand, the final stoppage time of just three minutes was too little, I wanted the team to accelerate to try for an extra goal, it would have been very important. We had some difficulties, which is normal when opponents play deep and close up.”

The paper highlights a particular comment from Pioli regarding Leao’s performance. While he was again involved in a lot of the positive attacking play, he drifted in and out of the game and he missed a big chance early in the second half that could have killed off not just the game but the tie.

“Leão can reach very high heights, but it’s not like we have to talk about his qualities every time. He has to move with more intensity and we had to serve him better and more. Rafa must try to be so incisive in every match and aim to grow further, he can always be decisive.”

Finally, the coach talked about the unexpected difficulties his side suffered against an opponent who were outnumbered for over an hour.

“We filled the spaces too much, the full-backs were too high, instead they had to close in more so as to leave more space on the outside for Leão and Pulisic.”

A tactical indication which Pioli asked to be implemented that was ignored, and now a battle in Prague awaits.


Tags AC Milan Rafael Leao Stefano Pioli


  1. I don’t know if what is said is the fault of the players or the coach, maybe it is both. The issue is that the management cannot delegitimize the coach in public and that’s what they’ve done so far with their talks and search of a new coach.
    Doing so gives an alibi to the players to slack off and do as they please. After all, the coach is a dead man walking and all they need is to pay attention to the next coach.

    All our older players that are supposed to hold the locker room (Giroud, Kjaer, possibly Maignan) are going to leave at the end of the season, so nobody is putting a real effort to make things better

    The only hope is that once we get closer to the final in EL, that will be enough motivation on its own and hopefully give us a better chance.

    The way we’re playing though, even a game like Empoli has a 30% chance of being lost/drawn.

    1. You have a valid point.

      With the media speculation, and the management handling about coach replacement issue is not the right way to do it.

      It seems like the player doesn’t have instructions on how to execute the match. Running around like a headless chicken most of the time passing the ball around in our own half.

      RLC can do more like we saw in psg game but instead he seems like he didn’t have purpose on the field most of the time. It’s like we playing with a man down with his movement off the ball. Also what’s with the passing between our cb? I know kjaer is good with the long pass why he didn’t do that last night? Urgggh It’s so frustrating to watch.

      I know we can do better but last night performance is very worrying.

    2. Spot on.
      While I’m all for changing coach for next season, all this talk about Pioli’s future decided whatever he does is more harmful than anything else.
      If I was Pioli why should I even bother so much knowing than anyways I’m gonna lose my job by the end of the season ?
      Either change coach mid-season or at least set an objective (like winning the EL) that could save him.
      And I agree this also send a very bad message to the players who always know that the coach is gonna be the scapegoat and that they shouldn’t give their 100% since the new coach is gonna set things differently anyways.

      1. Have you people ever hear from the management that they have lost confidence in Pioli? Has management ever come out publicly saying they want to change Mr. Pioli? Is it not the work of reporters? Reporters are the one’s propagating such unfounded truth.

  2. Maybe it was ignored because we should NEVER be dropping back deep against a 10 man Slavia! How on earth do you justify trying to park the bus against a smaller team with a man down, when you’re only a goal ahead?

  3. how does the news of the club searching for a new coach affect his job? should he not better direct his energy to secure another post for himself ( with better on field performances?) after he is fired? he could then resign after achieving the results, even if he was asked to stay?
    In what way should the news be affecting him? is he not paid millions per year to do this job? When he was benching Adli last year for not fitting into his plans, Adli was supposed to take it on the chin like a man. he should do likewise. he was not hired to coach us indefinitely. he should be a professional – do his best and he will not lack suitors, In fact, they will queue to speak with him if he had been performing well.
    the article says his instructions were not followed: which ones? were they ignored because the players didnt deem them good enough and they assumed they knew better? if the players intentionally violated his instructions, there should be a price to pay. if not, then it proves the coach was merely gambling.

  4. If Pioli want to get the best out of Acmilan then he has to change is approached to things like improving in the aspects to avoid using wrong players like tomori,thiaw, and learn how to improve Acmilan attacking midfield and their pressing pattern and improve Acmilan in the area of not allowing the opponent to hold the ball and ability to put ball in dangerous area and score at least 5-6 goals per match and we need to feed a strong line up when facing dangerous opponents in Europa league

    1. you can’t score 5-6 goals a game every game, even Bayern, Real, PSG,… at their peak couldn’t do it. We’re conceiding goals pretty much every game even against weak sides or teams with 10 men. We need to improve ball recovery and defense. High line and man marking oriented pressing is a recipe for disaster.

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