GdS: Solidity, balance and finishing – Pioli remoulds a more effective Milan

By Oliver Fisher -

Stefano Pioli has developed a real knack of galvanising his side and pulling them out of difficult moments, and he seems to have done it again.

La Gazzetta dello Sport recall how Milan had few difficulties against a Rennes team that promised to be full of confidence, having won eight games in a row across all competitions including every match in 2024 so far.

Milan’s 2024 hasn’t been bad either: seven victories, a draw and a defeat. A dramatic change of pace which brought the fast-paced Rossoneri to within one point of struggling Juventus in the league table.

Rafael Leao’s third goal is a symbol of maturation too as the Portuguese back-heeled the ball to Theo Hernandez and finished his return ball with a first-time finish. That heel was reminiscent of the one against Newcastle in the Champions League.

That night Milan shot 25 times towards goal without scoring. Yesterday, they had eight shots on target yielding three goals, while they hit the crossbar (again Leao) and forced a couple of fine saves from Mandanda.

In the most difficult moments of the season – namely the heavy defeats in the derby and in Paris against PSG – Milan proved to be dramatically vulnerable to transitions, incapable of recovering from a lost ball, stretched and disjointed, and of filtering in front of the defence.

Yesterday, despite the need to attack to secure a win in the home leg, they conceded very little to a team that were not only in fantastic form but also consider their strong point to be quick counter-attacks.

Th defence did not concede a goal for the second consecutive match and Mike Maignan hadn’t enjoyed two clean sheets since September-October. Whichever way you look at it, Milan appear to be growing.

Alessandro Florenzi, for example, took the place of the injured Davide Calabria and was excellent on the right side, setting up Ruben Loftus-Cheek to score as he had already done against Bologna.

The right flank has been inexorably in the shadow of the left side due to the glare of Theo and Leao, but yesterday they stood up too and showed they can contribute.


Tags AC Milan


  1. The team has looked really good since the beginning of the calendar year. I hope we get hot at the right time of the season.

    While the Scudetto is far out of reach, I do think we need to put all our eggs into the EL basket and do the best we can there to salvage a positive season despite all the setbacks.

    As for Pioli, even with a positive EL campaign, I think Stefano’s future will depend a lot on the Derby outcome. 6 Derby defeats even with an EL trophy might be to tough to digest…

    1. I think we should put more eggs in the EL basket. We are currently 10 points away from fifth place, and while a second place looks better on paper, 2nd, 3rd and 4th are all the same UCL wise.
      With that said, I don’t fancy our chances in the EL, Liverpool and Leverkusen are simply way too strong and even Atalanta is better than us H2H.
      Another defeat against a top 4 team (especially inter) would probably be it for Pioli. While we seems more solid since january, the truth is, every team south of the 5th place is absolute garbage this year and we didn’t win or even draw a single game against top 4 teams. Not to take away anything from our wins, but this is not Spaletti’s Napoli, the old Roma or the Lazio that used to compete.

  2. That EL trophy needs to be a big goal for this team. It will add substantially to our European coefficient and give us easier groups in the future.

  3. I’m not gonna say Milan was good last night, they weren’t, it was rennes who was poor. And for the whole remould angle. It was his fault we had difficulties in the first place and needed remoulding… no points. Dude is useless, his expiration date was 2022

  4. Meh, despite their good showing in the French League I had my doubts whether Rennes was going to be a challenging game (e.g. like Lille a few years back)

    The game against Atalanta will be the testing ground on whether we have reached a higher level and equilibrium that will allow us to challenge in EL. If we win convicingly against Atalanta, then we can start dreaming for an EL final.

    Until that point, our focus is to be consistent and try to avoid injuries.

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