Pellegatti analyses Pioli’s future, the three-striker need and Milan’s two ‘elite’ players

By Oliver Fisher -

The well-known journalist Carlo Pellegatti has shed some light on various topics connected to AC Milan such as the future of head coach Stefano Pioli and the need to sign multiple strikers in the summer.

Pellegatti spoke during an interview with MilanNews who questioned him on the key issues that are in the Milan orbit at the moment, starting with Pioli and whether he might be reaching the end of his cycle at the club amid the rumours that he is being judged through four factors.

“Since I’m not Pioli Out, then I must automatically be for Pioli in. No, it’s not like that. My fear, being a conservative, is this: Conte arrives, but we start from the assumption that Conte doesn’t come so it’s useless to say ‘let’s hope Pioli goes so Conte arrives’. No, at most ‘let’s hope Pioli goes so another coach arrives’,” he began.

“Second point: my fear is that if Thiago Motta arrives, and Bologna play really very well, it’s not so much the pressure from the environment but the very concrete fact that next year they will always play.

“Experienced coaches are already struggling, let alone a coach who has never managed double commitments [league and Europe]. It’s clear that if they keep Pioli they will look him in the face and ask him for guarantees regarding injuries, not regarding the derby that can be won or lost.

“A provocation: we have the strength to take Possanzini who is doing well in Mantua and seems to be the new De Zerbi? If we have that strength that Silvio Berlusconi had when we took Sacchi, then it’s fine.

“I also read about people who would like to sack him [Pioli] if Milan win the Europa League: I don’t know what he did to them… If Milan finish second and wins the Europa League, I don’t know what more you want. Do you know what the real problem is? That Inter are ahead by 14 points, if it were Napoli, nobody would care.”

As a follow-up, Pellegatti was asked about the notion that keeping Pioli but not extending his deal – which is currently set to expire in June 2025 – might be a mistake because he would coach next season with that hanging over his head.

“Pioli is coming to an end, his adventure is over. Then if we combine the league and the Champions League [winning both], maybe they’ll still keep him. But let’s not exaggerate now, we’ll have another good year.

“Otherwise, the news I have: Pioli won’t go to another club in Italy. If he were let go, he would stay at home and Milan pay him. And the following year he will look for another adventure.”

The journalist was questioned on the issue of needing to sign a new centre-forward amid the reports circulating that Joshua Zirkzee is the man that the management have decided to focus on.

“Look, Zirkzee on a technical level is not the ideal one for Milan, because maybe someone with Giroud’s characteristics would be needed. But he’s so delightful, he amazes in his play, he’s fun. He’s really a good player.

“If you take Zirkzee, However, who do you put next to him? Let’s be clear about whether Milan’s next attack is Zirkzee-Jovic-Okafor, no. If it is Zirkzee-Giroud? Yes, but we need another player, young in age but strong, a Boniface before he becomes Boniface [Bayer Leverkusen striker].

“We need three, next year we will always play at the highest level. Zirkzee-Jovic and Okafor is not good. Zirkzee and another with Okafor being the third? Exactly.”

Pellegatti was asked for his feelings on the quarter-final draw in the Europa League, which pits the Rossoneri against a side they know very well in Roma, who have enjoyed a resurgence under Daniele De Rossi.

“The loss of Kalulu was a terrible loss. It’s no coincidence that Milan played a good, authoritative game in Verona with Kalulu and Tomori. With them the whole management of the match changes, we play more forward. Theo’s performance also improved and as he has nothing to fear behind him.

“If Milan repeat the match against Verona or Atalanta, they will also compete against Liverpool. If instead they repeat the first half like this and like that against Lazio or perhaps a stuttering match like the one against Empoli, then you can also lose against West Ham.

“If Milan play well, I don’t care about anyone. Good means sometimes aesthetically, sometimes head-wise: they have won 12 out of 17.”

Finally, he touched on the fluctuating season of Rafael Leao who has been much better in 2024 and scored a lovely goal for Portugal over the current international break.

“Leao seems to me to have started on the path of being a champion. Even after the match against Sweden, A Bola called him ‘a poisonous snake’. He is perhaps making that leap in quality which he will definitively make when he scores that goal he missed in Verona, so to speak.

“A player who is serenely moving towards 140 million in value. A unique player. We have two of them in this moment: Theo Hernandez and Leao.

“There aren’t many players who are up to these and there aren’t many unique players. There aren’t any like those. Then maybe there are better ones but they are part of the elite of unique players.”


Tags AC Milan Joshua Zirkzee Stefano Pioli


  1. It is very simple.
    You have had Pioli for 5 years. I don’t care how this season ends, after 5 years you should know if he is a coach capable of elevating the club performance and results or he has reached his limit.
    If the club thought that he can take the team higher, they would have extended him instead of waiting to see how the season ends. If you are going into next season without an extension or you are waiting to see how this season ends, then it means that you don’t believe that this is your coach for the future.
    If he isn’t, then cut the cord and move on. It’s not like you are firing Capello, Sacchi, Ancelotti or Guardiola.
    Pioli has been Milan coach for 5 seasons and only in 1 of them Milan was in the scudetto race past January. The year when they won the scudetto.
    In the 1st season he finished 6th, after a late season push helped by a covid stoppage and no fans in the stands.
    Just a reminder, Milan finished 5th, 1 point behind 3rd and 4th spot with Gattuso season prior.
    2nd season finished 2nd, but the last game was deciding if Milan would finish in top 4 or 5th.
    3rd season scudetto thanks to inter sh!tting the bed.
    4th season finished 5th, 20 points behind Napoli.
    This season 2nd, 15 points behind Inter, thanks to Juventus collapsing and the rest of the bigger teams Napoli, Lazio, Roma, being doo doo.
    Milan needs a new coach. Even Pellegatti says that Pioli adventure at Milan is over.

    1. I am with you 100% but 2 years we were in the scudetto race to atleast februari 2020/21 and 2021/22.But as you mention he has done a fantastic job but cant take the team any higher

    2. I couldn’t have said it better myself. The only thing that would save him for me personally, is winning the EL. All that said, there are risks in all of the other options we have been linked with. Even Pellegatti points out the fact that Motta hasn’t managed a club fighting on multiple fronts (although he’s still my favorite). Then there are the even less proven managers like Farioli. RDZ doesn’t really seem to be in the frame. Sarri? Is he washed out or does he just need to be a better organization? Klopp seems out of reach. Then there is the dreaded Conte…

      1. Yeah but it’s not like Pioli or for that matter Conte are any good in dealing with multiple competitions.
        Conte has never been good in Europe except for the covid year where the games were played WC/Euro style.
        Pioli also is bad in multiple competitions. Out early in Copa Italia. And the years he had some success in Europe, Milan was/is far off, point wise from the top of the table.
        Pellegatti is right that we don’t know how Motta will handle European competitions on top of serie A and Copa, But, we do know how poorly Pioli has handled multiple competitions.

    3. Why would covid help Milan and not anyone else. It’s like the weather. Every was dealing with it equally.

      Why do we need to be in a rush to renew? What do we gain? We signed him through next season. If there is a clearly better option that is actually available then sure we go that direction. I don’t see clearly better options. Only possibilities.

      He is not Ancellotti but has won as many games. He is not, but …

      This year we clearly had an injury problem that is cause for our glaring defensive weakness.

      I do see the inflexibility of Pioli and some lack of imagination. But if we cannot find a replacement who fits the roster, commands respect and can recruit them we will move backwards.

      I’d prefer to take the time we have to get the right coach. maybe we learn that is Pioli.

      1. Why would covid help Milan but not anyone else?
        Go check the table before the covid stoppage and after it.
        Milan was 11th, 21 points behind Inter and Juventus on the table. No club benefited result wise from covid than Milan. Milan was a mess in 19/20.
        Gazidis was ready to fire everyone and bring Ragnick to be a coach and a director.
        If covid didn’t happen, everyone was getting fired.
        Without covid, Pioli would be coaching Salernitana today, and Maldini would be doing, well the same thing he is doing now, playing tennis.
        When it comes to the extension. As I said, if you go into next season with Pioli on expiring contract it just means that you don’t see him as the future coach and you are just kicking the can down the road.
        How many big clubs go into a season with a coach on expiring contract?
        How much more time do you need to figure out if Pioli is the right coach? He has coached your team for 5 years. Another 5 years?
        He isn’t some young coach like Motta or Xabi, so let’s give him time to grow. Pioli has gotten plenty of time, way more than he deserves.

    4. Thanks for downplaying our Scudetto win.

      Some fan!

      If you can’t appreciate the wins then what’s the point?

      Go do something else.

  2. As always (seems like every year lol 😂) I hope they keep the current team and add just two or three world class pieces. We’d be a force to be reckoned with. Remember Ibra made Nocerino look like a beast. That’s the sort of player that elevates the technical level of the entire squad.

    1. The Kjaer and Ibra transfer window was hands down our best since probably 2004 when we signed Kaka for 8.5m!

      From mid table to Scudetto contenders in one transfer window.

      If you were to add a Kjaer and a Ibra to this Milan we could really go places.

      Even a Carrick to plug our leaky midfield!

      1. The Ibra/T Silva exit also demonstrated how much of a loss at the technical level there was for that team.
        The Ibra/Kjaer signing was critical to being where we are right now.
        The Kaka transfer eventually became good but the technical level was already high at the time. I actually didn’t like him when he first came 😯 oops lol 😂. I was a huge fan of Rui Costa, LOVED loved loved me some Rui and hated that eventually got less playing cuz of Kaka. But as we all know, things worked out well in the end and easily won me over 😁

  3. Last year Inter was 10+ points behind Napoli and iirc had lost 11-12 games in Serie A. If Marotta had heard the fans, he probably would have fired Inzaghi and hired another coach.

    Pioli has done mistakes but it’s infantile to think a player can improve but he can’t. Leao and Theo are our best players but they both had slumps this year and games where they made mistakes that cost us. If Ancelotti hadn’t won the penalties in 2003, he would be called a loser after the Juve scudetto lost in Perugia against Lazio.

    People need to pay more to history or the same patterns will keep repeating. IMO Pioli should stay one more year if he can maintain second place or if he keeps top 4 and goes to EL semifinals

    1. Inzaghi was in his 2nd season as Inter coach and had 4 trophies to show for his work in those 2 years. He also took the team to the UCL final and didn’t need Juventus to be docked 10 points to qualify for the UCL.
      You are comparing apples and oranges.
      Inzaghi averages 2 trophies per season at Inter. He also has 3 other trophies with Lazio.
      Pioli averages a trophy every 25 years.

  4. A factor no one is mentioning is that if Pioli were to stay for another season, the coaches that are available now to take over in the summer likely won’t be available in the summer of ‘25.

    So if for no other reason, if you want to upgrade on Pioli, then you may have to do it this summer regardless of results.

        1. Motta would be interesting.

          Sarri and Conte have both lost their mojos.

          Lazio are 9th and after Conte left Spurs they returned to the top 4!

          For me it would be Klopp, De Zerbi or Motta in that order.

  5. 😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴🔙

  6. It’s hard to make a decision to be fair because personally I see all Milan players this Season just average other than Theo, Pulisic and Giroud. The rest were playing 1 good game followed by 3 bad ones. Our midfielders look clueless most of the time while the defense has been just terrible lots of errors costing us many goals. While I can understand the frustration the season has not ended yet and for me reaching UEL final and getting 80 points in Serie A should be enough for Pioli to stay.

    1. I have decided we need to prioritise a DM over everything to plug the hole in midfield.

      That would make a huge difference whoever is in charge.

  7. Pioli cannot manage this squad even with a better bench and he’s constantly making the same mistakes.

    Loses to Udinese and Monza and dropping points to Salernitana and Leece plus getting thrashed in the derby is just unacceptable.

    Personally I think Pioli cycle is over. Motta has shown to be more tactically astute than Pioli and with better players he will do great things at Milan.

  8. Pioli its the Mr. No. 2. I think he has reach his limit, cant more higher level. But he has doing fantastic job beside injury festive with his player. I think not much coach can doing like this. still 50-50, wait until end of this season

Comments are closed

Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.