GdS: ‘Europa at all costs’ – Pioli needs UEL win to save job as same cycle repeats itself

By Oliver Fisher -

Stefano Pioli has once again ended up back in the dock after AC Milan lost 4-2 against Monza on Sunday night, failing to take second spot from Juventus.

La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) writes this morning that the great opportunity to jump above Juve has turned into Milan having to watch their backs, because the gap to fifth has reduced and Atalanta arrive at San Siro on Sunday.

Like Milan, Pioli also experienced his groundhog day, which has been going on for more or less a season: a few flare-ups, a bad result, criticism from the fans, a collection of certificates of esteem from the club’s top management, positive results and then another slip. It has been a repeated cycle.

Will the defeat on Sunday evening in Monza weigh on his fate? Not much, if Sunday’s blow is followed by a convincing recovery. If there is a recovery, will that alone be enough to keep Milan at the end of the season?

Well, in this case the answer is more complicated because everything or almost everything will pass through Europe, starting with conquering a top four spot to return to playing in the Champions League next season but also going deep in the Europa League.

Going all the way and lifting the trophy in Dublin – also entering the next Champions League automatically – would overturn perspectives and evaluations on Pioli’s season, perhaps even in the eyes of many fans who today don’t know who they would like to replace him.

Otherwise, qualifying for the Champions League for the fourth consecutive season would mean reaching the club’s minimum objective. Would that be enough for a reconfirmation? It seems unlikely.

What is certain is that it cannot be the Milan seen in Monza: a team that took to the pitch with the wrong approach, distorted by the massive rotation that redesigned the attacking trio, and then roared back with 10 men before losing anyway in added time.

The limitations shown the other evening risk becoming Milan’s worst enemy in this second part of the season, and Atalanta will try to exploit them on Sunday. Gian Piero Gasperini has already beaten Pioli in both games this season, and with a win they would go four points behind the Rossoneri.

The streak of nine games without a loss in the league, and the sparkling 3-0 against Rennes in the first leg of the Europa League play-off, have shown that Milan are capable of maintaining a top-level pace, but then the crash at Monza brought them back to Earth.

The team falls into the same mistakes cyclically and Pioli this season in particular seems unable to definitively remedy it.


Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli


  1. Yes Atalanta on Sunday will be Pioli’s death sentence!
    2 losses to them this season and a 3rd on the way.

    What will Pioli do now, what magic can conjure up to save the team, and respect as a Seria A manager?
    The figures are stacked against him, and defeating big team are not in his plans.

    1. “What will Pioli do now, what magic can conjure up to save the team, and respect as a Seria A manager?”

      What will Pioli do? LOL. The same (mistakes) as he has always done. He’s the old dog that cannot learn new tricks. A lost cause.

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