Möller’s Corner: Hauge treatment alone shows Milan fans are right to question Pioli

By Isak Möller -

Milan are in a real pickle following the loss against Lazio on Monday, sending them down to fifth place in the league standings. If some ignored the decline before, it’s impossible to do so now as Champions League is at risk. 

The Rossoneri have five crucial games left to play and everything will go down to the wire. Considering how well they did in the first half of the season, it’s a shame that it has gone this far as UCL could have been more or less secured by now.

Yet, injures and absences have put the team in a very difficult place in recent weeks, but something else has also happened. From being a united team with great confidence, no matter the circumstances, Milan are now no longer themselves even with a strong team.

And with a strong team, of course, I mean one with few injuries as that really has been the case recently. Despite the return of some key players, Stefano Pioli hasn’t been able to get the results he wants and questions must be asked.

Ultimately, it’s the manager’s responsibility to come up with a good game plan for the team and field the right players. As opposed to the first half of the season, both of these factors have been lacking in the last few months.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a limit to how much blame you can put on Pioli given the many injuries, but even with a full-strength team things have looked very different in 2021. Just last game, they were outplayed by Lazio as they lost 3-0.

And when you lose 3-0, almost no matter how well you played, you can’t simply come out and defend the performance afterwards. That is more or less what Pioli did, shifting focus to the referring of Daniele Orsato and the half-chances missed.

It’s almost as if Milan didn’t concede three goals, which is the thing he should be most upset about. You can create how many chances you like, but if you concede three goals, it’s very hard to win a football game.

In short, the tactics have been subpar recently as Milan have struggled to find solutions especially without Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the pitch. The Swede is very important, yes, but without him this team has done very well too, but not in recent months.

The Lazio game was a perfect example of the flawed tactics as in addition to the attacking struggles, the Biancocelesti players were allowed far too much space and were superior in every part of the pitch for most of the encounter.

It’s not just the tactics that bother, though, but also the team selection. Jens Petter Hauge salvaged a point against Sampdoria a few weeks back, coming off the bench and scoring a great goal. Since then, however, he hasn’t played a single minute.

That was four games ago, and the likes of Brahim Diaz and Rade Krunic have been used instead. It’s a decision that baffles as you want the players in form on the pitch, and when a player scores you should always try to build on that.

It’s not just Hauge either, as Pioli has insisted on playing Ismael Bennacer (out of form) and even Soualiho Meite recently instead of the very talented Sandro Tonali. The youngster didn’t have the best start to his tenure at the club, but he has taken big steps. Not playing him has thus been a bit strange.

Again, Pioli got most things right in the first half of the season but that doesn’t make it wrong to criticise his choices this half. The manager has experienced similar declines in the past and it wouldn’t make sense to completely ignore that.

We can only hope that Milan will secure a top-four finish, which would give Pioli a chance to redeem himself, but we can all agree that the situation is more complicated than it should have been. And it’s only natural that questions arise as a result.

READ MORE – Milan legend Ambrosini on UCL race: “The situation has become very complicated”

Tags AC Milan Jens Petter Hauge Stefano Pioli


  1. The form issue is a weird own when it comes to Pioli’d selections. Kalulu was just about getting the hang of the right back position when Pioli used Dalot and then Calabria from a knee injury clearly out of form. Same with Tonali, he was enjoying his best run of form when Pioli stop playing him.
    Hauge might not be great physically but he has great luck and some technique. Why wouldn’t u include your top scorer in the Europa League rounds in the knockout? Oh right to play him in Serie A which he never does. Smh.

    1. You are exactly right. Also he need to change the Formation everyone knows how to defeat us. I would also say give Romagnoli and Tomori/Kjaer a chance because there were also some mistakes in the last few games.
      Pioli had with Lazio, Inter, Fiorentina good runs in games but then they run out of form same as Milan now. Pioli is a good trainer for short but Milan need someone else ex. De Zerbi, Allegri or maybe Sheva

  2. My biggest issue with pioli is that fact that jens Hauge and Tonali have been left entirely out of the games . I still can’t figure out why. Pioli must be sacked if he has refused to field our in-form youngsters who are very eager to make statements in the game. Replace Pioli, even if we eventually qualified for top four

  3. If we see reality , i believe that pioli doesn’t like hauge at all. Even hauge played great game like what he has done against sampdoria. No place for hauge…
    Fired pioli.

  4. Pioli’s done enough to deserve another season as manager, whatever the Hauge situation. He needs more backing from Elliott, and the poisonous money-grabbing elements of the squad (Donnarumma, Calhanoglu) need to be cleared out. We need a squad who are proud to wear the shirt of one of the biggest of all European clubs.

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