RR: Injury numbers before and since Pioli make for staggering comparison

By Oliver Fisher -

There has been a lot of emphasis placed on comparing AC Milan’s injury record season by season from when Stefano Pioli arrived onwards, but not as much on the record before and after he was hired.

With Malick Thiaw now out for a minimum of two months, Milan have racked up 25 injuries for the season the vast majority of them are muscular (18). It is a topic that the club are analysing very seriously in this period, and figures like Matteo Osti have come under scrutiny.

Osti is someone who Pioli has had at each of his last four clubs and joined the Rossoneri with him in 2019, but what about figures like Stefano Mazzoni who has been the Head of Medical for a much longer period?

As the excellent Simone Cristao points out, there is a rather intriguing comparison between the pre and during-Pioli eras when it comes to the number of injuries, as he plots in a table.

The number of games remains relatively even, with 57, 49 and 42 matches played (all competitions) in the three seasons prior to Pioli’s first full season (which is 2019-20), then 53, 48 and 52 after that, plus 17 this season.

The amount of games missed due to muscle injuries peaked in the pre-Pioli period at 49 in 2017-18. Vincenzo Montella’s Milan appeared weak and tired in some outings, and they identified the culprit as Emanuele Marra who was in charge of the preparation. They sacked him.

In 2018-19 the total was 44, then 42 the next year. In Pioli’s first full season it rose to 86, then 94, then 105 with 50 already amassed this season which is a pace of about 150 games missed.

In terms of the number of players out due to muscle problems, it was 10 in 2017-18, then 7, then 12. From the split it goes 14, 15, 18 and is currently 13 this season which means it would go above 30 if things continue like this.

The number of muscle injuries in general went from 13, 7 and 16 in the first three years to 24, 21 and 27. In 2023-24 so far the total in 15, so again that is a current pace of about 45. The bottom row shows the players who missed the most games.

The added caveat is of course that Pioli and his staff came in part way through 2019-20 but without a preseason to work with the squad it is unlikely they had got their methods across. From the first summer they did, the record is horrendous.

Tags AC Milan


  1. That’s what happens when the coach has no tactics, but he just forces players to run around, chasing and pressing the opponent and then running fast, trying to score on the counterattack.
    Piolismo = Press and sprint.
    Milan plays 1v1 football offensively and man defense, defensively. Do you actually need a coach to play that kind of football?
    They are not, nor do they play like a team, and that’s on the coach.
    The moment Pioli gets fired, the players will organize a parade around the city to celebrate. They will be free from Pioli and his team torturing methods that shortening their careers.

  2. I’d like to see the opinions of those who said that Milan had always a injury problem from decades ago.
    It’s clear here that this era (2020-…) is head and shoulder above anything that happened before and it only seems to be getting worse each season. I’m afraid that if this staff remains here until this end, we can lose some of our players to career-ending injuries.
    But again my question remains: The administration and staff supposedly investigated this issue during the last international break, what are their conclusions ?

  3. And will Pioli change anything..? Absolutely not. Pioli is the very definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

  4. I would just note that Eddie Howe at Newcastle has had a similar effect. When he was hired, he complained that the entire squad was out of shape.
    He whipped the team into shape, had them play an up tempo, intensely pressing and fast counterattacking style. The first half season, he got the team out of relegation into the top half of the Premiere League. Last season, they finished fourth for Champions League.
    This season, they have had a horrendous rash of injuries. In recent matches Howe had only academy players and two guys from their Championship days available on the bench.
    They are currently in seventh place.
    The Newcastle fans still love Eddie Howe to death because his coming was the final end of the awful Mike Ashley ownership era.
    But yeah, if you want to do gegenpressing, you need a really big squad

    1. “But yeah, if you want to do gegenpressing, you need a really big squad”

      Weeeellll… Key words ar: proper rotation. Two good players per position should be enough. And you don’t play a ~40-year-old strikers twice a week fror 80-90 mins.

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