Pioli discusses ‘decent’ Milan display and remains hopeful for return: “We are a great team”

By Isak Möller -

AC Milan lost the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final against Roma, conceding an early goal in the first half. After the game, Stefano Pioli spoke to the media and shared his thoughts on what went wrong. 

Roma opened the scoring after just 17 minutes through Gianluca Mancini, making the most of a corner. Ruben Loftus-Cheek lost the centre-back in the box and it was an unsavable effort for Mike Maignan, who otherwise did well between the sticks.

Speaking to Sky Italia after the game, as cited by MilanNews, Pioli shared his thoughts on the performance and where things went wrong for the Rossoneri.

It wasn’t the usual Milan…

“We had some difficulties in the first half. We should have been more courageous in our choices without the ball. They created a couple of chances but we conceded a goal from a corner kick. Then we got into the game, but probably not with the clarity we had lately. There is one more leg and I think the team can fix things.”

On De Rossi’s choices…

“We didn’t expect El Shaarawy on the right but nothing changed: Theo and Rafa found less space but we created more on the right. We created chances and had many shots but without quality. In the second half, I liked the team better over time, we were more compact. Of course, we have to take risks: we played the match there but we lacked the spark.”

Does the colourless performance of some big names worry you?

“It doesn’t worry me. In fact, I expect a lot of pride and will to demonstrate that we are a great team. It won’t be easy to turn this around, only really strong teams do it. I told the boys that if there is a team that can do it, it’s us.”

On the courage that was lacking, in what sense?

“We had prepared to be aggressive with Giroud and Leao on Roma’s centre-backs and we knew that Dybala would go behind our midfielders. In the beginning, we kept too much of Lukaku’s two-on-one with our defenders. We went high but we weren’t aggressive. In the second half, we did better. We played a decent match but not an excellent one. We have the qualities to do it next Thursday ”

On referee’s decisions…

“I like talking about football more, but it seemed to me that the offside which then led to the corner kick was there. Abraham wanted to hit the ball with his head but then hit it with his hand.”

Should communication also be improved?

“Definitely yes. Communication is part of the organisation of a team. Getting things right, reacting in a difficulty. In that situation, Loftus had to tighten up ”

On substitutions that were too late…

“Because Leao and Pulisic are trusted players, from whom you can expect important actions even on nights that aren’t as good. I made the substitutions when I thought it was right.”

The second leg is scheduled for next week and will be played at Stadio Olimpico, so it is bound to be a very tough clash for Milan. At the very least, they managed to avoid conceding another and thus have an okay chance still of making it through.

Tags AC Milan Roma Stefano Pioli


  1. Excellent assessment. It was a great match. Roma couldn’t afford to come all out against Milan so they passed the ball around the back. Milan responded well, but, didn’t get the goal. There’s all to play for in the second leg.

  2. Dude, the match is decided by the goals number. Who scores more wins. It does not matter how many times you hit the bar or how much ball possession you had.

    1. @Inter fan, What if Giroud had scored with that Chukwueze’s lovely effort! We’ve got to win by all means. I can’t afford to see us get knocked out by Roma. Forza Milan! ❤️🖤

  3. One goal difference is nothing. We can still go through and if we dont because Roma park the bus and hit us on a corner or counter. I guess theres is nothing any of us can do about anyway, so lets all stay calm and not stress ourself to much.

  4. The problem of having to put out next Thursday for a result is the fact that we have the derby right after, with a lot of tired legs and less sharp minds.

    1. Given how lack luster a display we had last night, I think it’s no harm. We need these guys to sharpen up, wake up even. Quite often after we have had long breaks the team is lethargic, they seem better when they are busy and energized.

      Anyway they are the only 2 important games we have left, so they may get on with it and give their all, unlike last night (unless they all prefer to hit the beach)

  5. I love how people are still defending this performance. We were crap. Pioli time at Milan is over. Everyone raving about how great he is. But first time against a decent team recently and guess what we loose. We are too slow. We have no creativity we just hit and hope. He even says it himself he kept pulisic and leao on for so long hoping they would have a bit of a spark and score. That is pioli tactics.

    Anyone that will disagree doesn’t want to see this team do well.

    1. Oh the slow (and still inaccurate!!) passing in the half-way line is such a thrilling thing to watch. FFS, put some power to those kicks. It’s not that hard. It’s the basis of everything in football. If you can’t pass the ball, get off the pitch FFS.

      And it is indeed hilarious to see “great match”-comments (when they’re not sarcastic). People have set the bar REALLY low these days. Roma dominated us. They kept us under a leash. They could have and should have scored 3 more.

      DDR with a few months experience is already 100x more competent than Pioli. He even has tactics and playbooks. We have none.

  6. Pioli’s answer to the last question on the subs coming too late….
    Sums him up perfectly. He is so stubborn. Refuses to adapt from plan A with his preferred starters. Even when it is clearly not working.

    Needed to pull off Bennacer & RLC at 60th minute for Adli & Chuk (moving Pulisic to the CAM role).
    No way Giroud should have still be on after 75 mins.

    Why was there two unused subs when the team is struggling in attack to unlock a tight defence?

    1. It is just stubbornness.

      I fully agree with your suggested subs.
      I’d bet any money Okafor would have scored that easy chance.
      Why on earth we have to play with Zombies like RLC and Giroud I will never know, sure they will get some goals in easy games, but we can’t afford to carry them in games like this

  7. Same old baldy. We played like crap. Derossi did a good job studying our weaknesses while baldy didn’t. We had possession but roma dropped deep after the goal. I think if they would have kept playing the same after the goal they would have scored more. We were lost there in the first half. The subs were right on, however that whole in the midfield is and has been a problem. Gameplay that depends on the creativity of the wings only. No creativity ever comes out of that midfield. Hope this is his last season.

    1. Adli should start because he makes lot of progressive passes instead of playing it safe like Bennacer did the whole first half and Pulisic is easily read by opponents so chuk should start in the next leg. Both should start in the next leg,those two were the missing pieces in the first half.

  8. Same ridiculous garbage and refusal to change tactics, even when he’s actively being embarrassed and losing. Horrible management. Get him out already

  9. Pioli steadies the ship on the same storms he creates himself. I’m sure he understands the gravity of needing to advance in EL and I’m hopeful he gets this team firing on all cylinders once again next week.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see a rotated team sunday against Sassuolo.

  10. If only Pioli could come up with some tactics for the game like he always seems to do for the press conference. Time for him to go be a pundit or coach a mid-table team. He doesn’t deserve our desire and the true potential of the squad

  11. The only positive in this game was Adli coming on. He was a real bright spark and if anything we need someone in his position who can spray those passes. Our transition game was boringly slow, enough to make you fall asleep. It gives opponents too much time to regroup. Something to work on, especially with teams parking the bus against us (they have figured us out, we can become directionless when teams don’t open up). But we take comfort in the scoreline, everything to play for. Ps, there are no certainties in soccer, look at Liverpool…

  12. I can understand why the coach wont bash his teams performance but it wasnt really a decent performance in my view. Things could have gone a lot different result wise if some things had gone differently but the performance would still stand. Below average but the fixture is nevertheless still fairly open..

  13. Its nice to see alot of people here with sensible opinions and actually agreeing with how dire and stubborn Pioli is. Enough is enough and he has to go…:)

  14. We need a coach who does not guarantee a starting spot for anyone.

    Yesterday one team was playing with a clear instructions and tactic and the other one was playing whatever type of football they want.

    Calabria is in fact a right back yeah? But he was running anywhere he wants like a headless chicken. At the end of the game he was a Left winger, playing in Leao’s spot.

    Do you see Di Marco playing in Lautaro’s position? Or do you see Kyle walker in Doku’s position? Never! Because their coach will f**k the player up if it happens.

    Theo suddenly decided to referee the game after their goal.

    RLC was passing the ball more to Roma players than Milan.
    Even commentator was asking what is wrong with him.

    Pulisic, as always, is disappearing against strong opponents.

    Any coach who respect himself wouldn’t play Giroud anymore. Even though I have massive respect towards him, his mind completely detached from the squad. You can’t give him a starting spot, hoping to score one out 1000 chances.

    The most importantly, our players are intimidated when they see opponents playing better than them. This was (and is) the main factors of derby losses.

    I don’t know how we survive in derby ffs

    1. Correctly said. Pioli has quite mediocre mentality if facing smarter coach and this feeling transmitted to his players. Psychologist maybe need to be hired

  15. As much as I hate to criticise milan for the love of the club but last night de rossi owned pioli and cornered him exactly where he wanted….its not about chances missed its about how you take control of the game which we never did…..at olympico it will be a miracle for milan to either not concede….technically the match isn’t over but they way de rossi set up it will be even harder for is to come out of the black hole at olympico…..this might be the end of road for milan in Europa well till next Thursday fingers crossed….hope for milan giving thumping response….

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