GdS: Pioli under serious pressure with Conte an idea to replace him

By Oliver Fisher -

There was turbulence on the flight that brought AC Milan home from Salerno on Friday night, and that wind surrounds Stefano Pioli’s future as head coach.

This morning’s La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) writes that Pioli’s position ‘was in question yesterday like never before and the club are disappointed and worried’ after the 2-2 draw against a team in rock bottom.

How close were Milan to changing coach? The answer came in the afternoon, sanctioned by a phone call between Gerry Cardinale and Giorgio Furlani. In that call it was determined that the club will move forward with Pioli for Christmas and who knows, potentially until the end of the season.

An interesting note emerges in the report: the phone calls that the club made during the day to the most important players, the leaders, were decisive for the confirmation. Many, at least the majority, evidently said they were still with Pioli.

In this story it is appropriate to immediately talk about injuries, because they are a large part of the problem. The club attributes the 30 physical problems in five months to Pioli and his staff, an Italian and probably European record.

Injuries have generated defeats, lost earnings (the Champions League round of 16 above all) and a devaluation of the players. It is a theme also linked to the coach’s ability to motivate the group: seeing Leao and Theo Hernandez far from their peaks is striking.

Milan will continue to try to resolve the injury problem with Pioli – it is certainly difficult at this point of the season – but Gerry Cardinale, in his Christmas greeting message, was clear: “Like all of you, I am not satisfied with our current position in Serie A or the Champions League.”

There is a certain pressure on the coach and there have evidently been evaluations on a sacking, put aside for now due to the players’ responses, but in Cardinale’s evaluations is the difficulty in finding a top alternative.

However, something has broken and at the moment it is very likely that Milan will change coach at the end of the season, and there are two names that stand out above all as being options.

The first is Antonio Conte, a high-profile coach without a job at present, oriented towards returning to Italy, who does not like it when players lower the intensity. The technical conditions would be there, because Milan have many players suitable for Conte, while the problem could be financial.

Conte has earned a lot in recent years, so could he accept a lower salary for a new challenge? It is possible, but then he has always asked for players with high transfer fees and salaries, ready to lend a hand immediately. RedBird has reasoned differently so far.

The second name is Ignazio Abate: he is respected and is having good results – very good in Europe – with the Primavera this season. It may be an interim solution, with the possibility of becoming something more, but the step between Primavera and Serie A is very high.


Tags AC Milan Antonio Conte Stefano Pioli


  1. I don’t want Pioli to go right now as I feel overall he’s doing an acceptable job, had a good relationship with the players and the club doesn’t have a clear succession plan.

    But if he does leave then I definitely do not want to see someone like Conte come in, playing awful football for two years, moaning and criticising and alienating players and then leaving the club in a worse state.

    Milan are not spending as much as Inter or Juventus and they’re performing on par for where they should be. Stop pretending it’s the manager’s fault for the horrendous injury record or the fact we’re not dominating a very competitive league.

    1. Finally someone who talks sentence about our situation. People have the shortest memories, bet they weren’t saying anything when Pioli took a squad that at it’s best is 3rd or 4th in the series a when compared to inter, Napoli and Juve. Not to mention our low wage bill compared to all 3 main competitors. Let’s be honest, the games against salernitana wasn’t great and there’s been a bunch of those games but giroud, Leao and Pulisic all had shockers. I feel like most of the witch hunt to get Pioli is just fake Milan fans and idiots in the comments who have short memories. We aren’t doing bad and this is a long term project that requires time as we haven’t spent insane amounts like other teams from a net perspective, as we had to get rid of tonali to make these signings. We miss maldini from a personal perspective and morale is low but give us a win or 2 and all of a sudden things are fine again.

      1. “We miss maldini from a personal perspective and morale is low but give us a win or 2 and all of a sudden things are fine again.”

        Speaking of short memories… Didn’t Milan just win big time lately? Shouldn’t that have been a morale-boosting victory? Or the win against Newcastle? Nope. Both were followed by vomit-inducing performances. So let’s not pretend “a win or two” will suddenly fix everything and we’ll be heading to scudetto number 20.

        1. You’re dreaming if you think this squad in its entirety under any coach is capable of winning the scudetto. Plain and simple inters squad is too strong and has so much depth, they have bloody cuadrado as the bench rb, arnautovic and fratesi on the bench, 3 players who would walk into the Milan line up. That’s the problem with fans like yourself, the expectation is set completely wrong in the first place. We smashed Monza and disgusting performances from key players like Leao against Sal made it tough. If you’re thinking of scudetto 20 no wonder you’re upset. We are exactly where we’re meant to be – in 3rd place. That’s literally what the squad level is at. If we want to change that there must be players signed, which is a transfer thing, not a Pioli thing. Wake up you nonce! morale boosting victories are there to help but if you do not have the team to compete on 2-3 fronts that’s a whole other issue. Maybe with less injuries but even then we are not good enough roster-wise.

          1. Some people think that sacking Pioli is a solution, replace with who? Nagelsman? Conte? Nagelsman is good but choosing someone who never prove himself at serie a would need adaptation period, I would give him the benefits of the doubt if we choose him at the summer. Conte like to spend his money and sometimes at older players as well. Not to mention he doesn’t usually take over mid season, he is not compatible with us at least on paper.

            Pioli should be sacked last season when we lost at super coppa to Inter. My first choice at that time was De Zerbi, what a shame that Pioli was kept and De Zerbi made a name at England. The moment I realized Pioli can’t grow with the team, I knew his days were numbered. I am not a fan of Pioli but sacking him at this time is not a solution.

          2. ” I am not a fan of Pioli but sacking him at this time is not a solution.”

            Sacking him at summer means no UCL next season. That would be catastrophic. We cannot let him butcher the rest of the team and play draws with bottom teams.

          3. Milan isn’t playing a like a cohesive unit and it shows. The same coach that took this team to a Scudetto with Paolo’s and Ibra’s help is now left to his own methods and we are observing what he can and can not achieve. And what is can not achieve are consistent results.

            Sure, let’s say with so many foreigners brought in it takes times to accustom them the Calcio in Italy. But the worrying sign is that this team will beat PSG 2-1 as a UNIT, then lose to Udinese. Beat Newcaslte, then lose to Atalanta. Beat Monza, then draw the worst team in the league…

            That’s inconsistency. That’s on the coach. Sure this team isn’t stacked with World Beaters, but Pioli can’t get anything consistent out of this team. i’m fine with a Top4 spot. I don’t expect a Scudetto. But we are getting dumped out of contention in any competition we’re in so far.

            Are you CONFIDENT we stay Top4 under Stefano?

          4. Exactly!! If you fail to understand and agree what ACM1899 just wrote above, then you’re either delusional or just plain stupid. He said everything that needed to be said.

    2. I do agree with you on conte, he should stay away from our club. However, on those injuries pioli is to blame as much as the staff. Playing most of the games like headless chicken surely play a part in it. Or like sachi said ” individualistic style of play”. Then from training to conditioning etc. Both baldy, conte and crap bird should stay away from our club.

    3. “Stop pretending it’s the manager’s fault for the horrendous injury record”

      Stop pretending it’s not. The lack of rotation and faulty training methods mean players will drop like flies. Just watch and see how Reijnders will be next as he has had zero rest. Then come back and say “it’s not Pioli’s fault”.

    1. Perhaps because it’s IMPOSSIBLE to appoint coaches who are under contracts with other teams????? Can you even imagine the amount of €€€€s it would take to get either of them to lead Milan? Try f***loads or sh**loads. Even those amounts most likely wouldn’t be enough.

        1. He’s the goofball who loves “schooling” everyone on about football and comes out with Graham Potter. I mean you can’t make this sh*t up.

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