Summer 2020, Scudetto and UCL run: Milan aiming to repeat a trend under Pioli

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan have their eyes on the Europa League final in Dublin plus the possibility of snatching second place from Juventus, but Stefano Pioli will need to extract the best from the team to make it happen.

As La Gazzetta dello Sport write, to achieve their remaining objectives, Milan will need to bring out the best bits of recent years, where the team took steps forward on the field both from a results and a psychological standpoint.

The deep run

Looking at the coach’s career at Milan, he and the team have always given their best at the end of the season, starting from last year when the Rossoneri reached the Champions League semi-finals.

They were back among the final four in Europe, sixteen years after the last time, after beating Spurs and Napoli to get there in the last 16 and quarter-finals respectively.

The win against Luciano Spalletti’s Azzurri was particularly poetic and partly influenced by the spectacular 4-0 win they inflicted at the Maradona in the league just before the two legs.

On 2 April, Rafael Leao’s brace and goals from Brahim Diaz and Alexis Saelemaekers made it a perfect evening, sparking a final rush of pride.

The mentality

The 2021-22 season finale is even more paradigmatic, with the 19th Scudetto the end result. The last few months were when Milan seemed fun and united, with the coach clarifying his idea several times: “We can go far.”

The turning point was the overturned derby against Inter thanks to Giroud’s brace on 5 February 2022, but the last-gasp 2-1 win against Lazio on 24 April was also huge, as was the victory at the Maradona against Napoli.

Milan secured the title on the last day against Sassuolo, thanks to an impeccable run in the second part of the season. After the defeat against Spezia in January, the Diavolo arrived in May without having lost a game (5 draws and 11 wins in the last 16).

The heroics

The Scudetto dream had also been launched in the previous year, until the February 2021 defeat in the derby against Inter. For the Nerazzurri, that was the start of them running away with it.

For the Rossoneri, it ended up throwing things into question and all of a sudden a battle for first because a battle for fourth. The group raised their heads and immediately beat Roma at the Olimpico, then drew 1-1 with Udinese and won 2-0 against Verona at the Bentegodi.

Putting aside the elimination in the round of 16 of the Europa League with Manchester United, the only late defeats came against Lazio (3-0) and Sassuolo (1-2), in April.

These were two big defeats which lead the team to increase concentration, so as not to lose a top four spot that was never in question until a few weeks before.

The 3-0 success against Juve, at the Allianz Stadium, is the push that shifted the balance in the sprint, then two penalties from Franck Kessie away against Atalanta in round 38 sealed second.

The beginning of the cycle

The most iconic ending was the first act of the Pioli era. He had been chosen in October 2019 to replace Marco Giampaolo, the coach arrived at Milanello amid the skepticism of many fans, accompanied by a #PioliIOut which soon became trending on social media.

He was supposed to be a ferryman and pass the baton to Ralf Rangnick, but after a difficult start his team changed gear. On 8 March 2020, the defeat against Genoa at San Siro was the last game before the break for the pandemic.

These months helped Milan to reflect and resurrect. The season restarted in the summer and the Rossoneri achieved positive results through good performances.

Big wins against Roma, Lazio and Juventus followed and on 21 July, at the end of Sassuolo-Milan, the club made the confirmation official: ‘Pioli renews until 2022’.

The team finished in sixth place and advanced to the Europa League preliminaries. Simply put, Pioli’s Milan tend to finish seasons strongly and they hope to do the same again this time.


Tags AC Milan


  1. Pioli’s coaching career was built on the pandemic. Without the pandemic he’d be coaching Cagliari right now, because before the stoppage Milan was in an even worse position than during the banter era, and everyone was about to be fired , not just Pioli.
    He owes his only coaching success to a catastrophic world event and Ibrahimovic.
    Teams playing in empty stadium also helped.
    Juventus downfall helped every team.
    More luck than competence.

  2. Milan need stronger team for scudetto.

    Class young striker like Zirkzee. Central defender with Tomori level. Defensive midfielder like Kessie, and right back similar to Hakimi.

    Selling Maignan would make this easily happen, what would need to make Milan to buy new goalkeeper

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