GdS: ‘Pioli fixes Milan’ – the issues and positive signs 11 days out from Bologna opener

By Oliver Fisher -

The first game of the season against Bologna is just around the corner, and AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has some issues that must still be addressed.

La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) writes this morning that Milan have fewer certainties than almost all of their Scudetto rivals. The midfield is all new, the starting striker will soon be 37 years old and the defence is not secure anymore.

At the same time, they also has more growth potential than all the top sides in italy, because Chukwueze-Pulisic-Giroud-Leao-Okafor is a quintet capable of shaking up the league.

Pioli is suspended between defects and dreams. The first problem is that Milan conceded goals against everyone in their preseason friendlies excluding Lumezzane. Fikayo Tomori’s performance is the most evident detail: two mistakes in the United States, one against Monza.

The tactical adaptations are less evident but equally important. This season Pioli has slightly different defensive principles and with Rade Krunic the pivot of the 4-3-3, he is using a player there who has never been a natural regista and must drop deeper.

Just 11 days before the season begins with the trip to Bologna, there are tactical mechanisms to memorise, a physical condition to perfect and Davide Calabria to come back too.

Problem number two concerns the goals scored and let in by Milan in the summer friendlies. Against Real Madrid, Tomori netted from a corner and Romero with a screamer. Against Juve, another corner and a free kick. Against Barcelona, ​​no goals. Against Monza, a penalty retaken.

Just one goal from open play to show, and none from nice build-up play. Olivier Giroud showed the classic flashes of a champion but was more an assist man than a target man, causing some to hypothesise that the Rossoneri need a different No.9.

Everything is suspended, waiting to see if Okafor can play there (he played out wide against Monza), if Lorenzo Colombo will stay, or even if the transfer window will lend a hand. Meanwhile, against ES Sahel (Saturday) and Novara (Sunday) it is time to score some goals.

One positive is that spirit that the squad seem to have, seen in the videos Samuel Chukwueze at the end of Monza-Milan and in his the press conference.

His smiles, Reijnders rejected Barcelona, ​​Rafael Leao’s enthusiasm and Yunus Musah doing everything to come to Milan shows that there is a positive energy surrounding the club.

It is clear that it is not enough to get to the Scudetto, but the detail is more important than elsewhere: the dressing room of Napoli, Inter and Juventus – for better or for worse – has its own rules which are unlikely to change. Milan’s is a microcosm to be built.

Another positive note is that Reijnders seems to have adapted well, showing more than flashes of quality and now it seems he will be an undisputed starter for Milan from matchday one.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is growing too. While still waiting to get back to 100%, he showed his physique and his willingness to get on the ball and make things happen.

Pioli has 11 days to work with the almost complete group, because the calendar has been anything but kind. He can insert Musah – who in his mind is almost a starter – and understand if Chukwueze is ready to lend a hand immediately.

Calabria will be back into the group and Leao will get back towards his best who is already doing well and can go up a notch.

Tags AC Milan


  1. For me the management of Milan seems to have commited a classical mistake this summer, simply changing too much. My guess is that we will struggle a while this fall. We have 6 of the top teams in the first 10 matches. The question for me is whether or not Pioli will survive. If he does, then maybe this team can gel well in time under his care. He must show that he can stand on his own, independently of M/M Ibra and Kjær.

    1. Lazio, Inter, Napoli, Atalanta and Juve look more planned then us. You can’t count out Roma coz of Maurinho. Would be a tough season ahead.

        1. Yeah. They got no European football so all they have to focus is on getting top 4. Napoli is still the same team just without Kim.

          1. Juve and Roma gonna surprise some ppl here. I think Juve will be battling for that Scudetto easily this year. It’s going to be difficult to beat Anamix said, change too much. It never works out well

        2. I actually don’t rate Spaletti that much. His teams always play nice to watch and never win much. Considering how good the squad he had he lost the CL with no fight. I somehow agree though. We don’t have a coach to handle this much change so fast and who rotates. Pioli never rotates. He plays the same team till someone gets injured and then subs have to play against strong teams. There is lot of games and we now have lots of different attackers. I can’t see him staying much longer and I can pretty much tell(and the rest of the world can as well, so the opposition teams for sure know) who will play in the first game and how we will play.

    2. Changing too much? Well, let’s see…

      1) Buying Diaz to keep him? Is there ANYONE here who thinks Milan should have paid Real >25M€ to keep him? Anyone? Yeah, didn’t think so.

      2) Bennacer out. Well, not the management’s fault Calhanoglu ruined his knee. Buy a replacement or wait over 3/4 of the season for him to come back? Yeah, sounds like a great plan.

      3) New right wingers. For years people have demanded upgrades over players such as Castillejo, Saelemaekers and Messias. Now we got 2 or 3 of them. Why complain? Best teams have the best benches. Having options is good.

      4) Tonali? Well… We needed the money and Newcastle paid an insane amount for him. I think Reijnders will make people forget the anger for selling him. At least I won’t be missing Tonali’s set-pieces that for sure.

      So… Who/what else? Not anyone from the starting 11. Rebic left. Pulisic came. Anyone have issues with that? I don’t. CDK is about to leave. No regrets. Well, okay, there’s regrets but that’s about buying him in the first place.

      Let’s summarize this for those who think my text was too long. 4 out from our starting line-up. Diaz would have been waaaay too expensive to buy, Benny was replaced due to a serious injury, Messias & Saelemaekers screamed for to be upgraded and then there’s Tonali (who might have been upgraded too already). Why bitch and complain about changing too much? Would you really had preferred to see CDK struggle for another 40 matches without scoring, Origi as the Giroud backup, Rebic as the vice-Leao, Saele&Messias as the “threat” from right lane, Krunic as the new Ambrosini etc? I got two words… Bitch, please. 🙂

      1. It’s also nice to see that Newcastle fans love Tonali. It seems it was a researched purchase by them. Everyone loved his one touch football style during his debut and how he linked up. He will need to hold on to the ball longer in the EPL but when you read the comments he got 10/10 from fans for his debut.

    3. A mistake implies that they did something they weren’t intending to. Based on everything I have read, they did exactly what they wanted to do. There will be a long feeling out process as you mentioned and I don’t think management would do this and then fire the coach for having to integrate 4-5 new players into the team without a very long leash. You don’t sign only 24 and under players for important roles in order to win now. They are clearly playing a longer game. They have been open about this.

  2. A kindly reminder that our ealry matches in the league is far from easy. We don’t have a time to waste, we have to put the pedal to the metal right from the beginning. Yes a friendly match is just a friendly match, but I do hope we can see a sign that we’re on the right track.

  3. The whole thing is positive when you apply extreme wishful thinking. You have to pretend really hard to be positive about the preseason when you can’t beat Monza with the first team, 2 weeks before the start of Serie A…Juventus looks better than Milan, Inter as well…

  4. Well, personally I was not convinced with Pioli.

    Yes he gave us scudetto 2 years ago. But, I always not convinced with his style playing.

    And with all the rumours about Krunic, that Pioli insists to keep him, and always play Krunic, I think this is like a joke.

    Hope Pioli this season, with half of team are new players, hope he will give us a good Milan attacking play, and can superior on Inter this season

    1. The thing I’m not liking is that Pioli is more and more dependent to individuals skills rather than teamwork. Last season was a clear evidence, everytime Leao plays badly, the result would follow. And now we also have player like Chuk who def has more flair on his individual skills rather than a teamwork.

    2. Couldn’t agree more. I just hope someone like De Zerbi could come and change the philosophy entirely. I am even more optimistic on Ibra as coach than Pioli. At least Ibra could infuse some mentality to the team. Pioli doesn’t even know what he’s doing.

  5. Pioli deserves respect he brought us back, the people who should leave is cardinale for sacking maldini, selling tonali and ruin all we build for the past years, definitely i know maldini would have been helpful to pioli in fixing our defense issue, but mf redbird are cheapskates

  6. I am going to disagree with most of you ..
    The fact is we have a good squad ,better than most , and capable of putting in a challenge to win the scuddeto. Don’t laugh I am serious.
    We have virtually a new team ,and in my opinion a better possible team than in the last two seasons in which we one the scuddeto and last season a magnificent performance to get to the semi final of the champions leauge ..The problem is we will need a period for these new players to settle in ..WE have a superb physical strong quick midfield player in Loftus Cheek which we where lacking ..We have another exciting player in pulisic etc etc ..
    When Rafeol leao start to relax on the ball ,we will start again to see the best of him ,I think perhaps he is trying to hard ,,,anyway sure it will come good ,,,don’t worry about Olivier Giroud ,yes he was very disappointing against Monza ,he seems to have some minor injury and definitely seemed in some pain at the end …Yes he may be 37 years old ,but he will till score lots of goals this season ..He simply cannot be replaced ,Technically he is still the best target man to have in and around the 18yard area …Yes he needs a back up player to give him some rest from time to time ,,but I am certain he will play many games for us ..He will score goals ,as will the team we have ..So let’s get ready for when the real season starts ..

    1. You are too optimistic,firstly giroud is not getting any younger, he ain’t no Ronaldo or messi, it’s only in Italy that old veterans can play till 40, if he was in England he won’t even start for Luton, if Italian teams don’t change this mentality we won’t win ucl anytime soon, secondly none of our new signing is proven, pulisic and loftus cheek are Chelsea rejects the rest signing played for small teams

  7. Ac milan will be beating up opponents this season, leao will be more unstoppable, support them or not, we know we will beat inter juve napoli roma lazio and everyone, even in europe we will have good results, ac milan is ac milan, pain is coming to haters, ex-supporters who pretend like they still care are the worst, ex’s always behave that way, and we have a bunch of them here, ac milan always wins, always excited, cant wait to see the team again, been a long boring break

  8. So much whining on here. Virtually everything that was a weakness last year has been upgraded. Possibly another player or two still to come in the market. Give the man time to optimize.

  9. Remember when ACM beat bayern muenchen 4-0 in pre season ? Ppl here so arrogance said : We will conquer europe again and the result of season ? 0 trophy finish outside CL zone after splashing 200m euro from debt . It is better lose in preseason so team know their weakness and ppl here not over confident . We only changing brahim ( back to real madrid ) , Junior messias , Tonali in starter team this season . The rest starter still same except bennacer ( injury till february) but the depth upgrade greatly with many fresh young quality player replace deadwood from last season in bench . Homework for new management now are sell deadwood from last season like origi ,cdk,ballo toure, ( rebic & junior already get sold )

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