Pioli explains decision to start Giroud over Jovic against Empoli: “I’m lucky”

By Ben Dixon -

After starting AC Milan’s mid-week Coppa Italia clash against Cagliari, Luka Jovic will return to the bench, with Olivier Giroud set to return to the Rossoneri’s starting lineup. In his pre-match press conference, Stefano Pioli gave insight into the decision. 

After scoring a brace in the Coppa Italia, Pioli is likely to have experienced a headache about who to start in Milan’s weekend fixture.

On one hand, there is Jovic, who has been one of the most in-form Serie A strikers since December, scoring five times in all competitions, the most of any Serie A player in this time. The Serbian has refound his feet, his confidence, and the back of the net.

On the other, there is Giroud, who has experienced a rough patch in front of goal in recent weeks, with only one Serie A goal since November 11. While he has provided his teammates with assists, there are arguments that Jovic should instead lead the line.

In Stefano Pioli’s pre-match press conference, he spoke about his forward options and the reasoning behind starting Giroud, and his full comments can be found here.

Why will Jovic not start tomorrow?

“I’m lucky to have two centre-forwards like this. The decisions are never definitive given that one of the two will be ready to take over, either to play with his teammate or to replace him. I hope that both will continue to be two important points of reference.”

Tags AC Milan Luka Jovic Olivier Giroud


  1. PioLOLmakes a gamble again. You should give younger and faster one to develop. Well maybe pioLOL gives respect to the older one, whatever, we need to win the game.

  2. Pioli gave the guy confidence, when y’all were laughing at the transfer or outright ridiculing the player. Pioli defended him, spoke highly about him, challenged him to show his worth.
    Suddenly now you guys are his biggest supporters. Laughable. You are all so…transient. So…temporary. You only know what you’re feeling in the moment.
    You don’t like the player; you just look for every opportunity to undermine the coach, and make it seem like whatever choice he makes is wrong.

    Just…let the coach decide. The stats say Giroud has earned his place. The form is with Jovic. The coach will decide who to go with. That’s his job. Do yours as a fan: support and defend whoever gets on that pitch.

    1. P.S: I guess the transient thing is not peculiar to this particular set of fans here; I think it’s a general thing. Fans or people in general are becoming more impatient. No loyalty anywhere. It’s one of the things that contributes to the high transfer turnover. And why the youths will never really be given a chance.

      1. Jovic just played a full 90 and Giroud is rested. This is the entire point of having to competent players in one position, so you can alternate them.

        1. Yea he’s rested. The main players are rested. So what do we do? Just bench Giroud forever? And not start Leao or Pulisic? I don’t get fans. I really don’t. I’d wish Pioli would sub in players a little sooner, but our main players are rested.

      2. 💯. It’s like listening to a bunch of entitled university kids half the time – they want everything yesterday all the time.

        1. Even though I doesn’t always agree on everything with anyone here on sempremilan I really appreciated reading the stuff you guys wrote here because i often question the sincerity of parts of the fan base because it simply doesn’t make any sense to me supporting a club and then bash it 24/7 so thanks for showing some heart for the club. I for one actually said that if jovic would at least work hard it would be a begining and if he were to score a couple of goals fans would quickly turn on a plate so people should take notice of that because things can quickly change in football.

    2. I’m one of the fans who mocked Jovic as mediocre and useless. But after 6 goals and a couple of assist, Jovic got my vote.

      But i’m always with “let the coach decide” motto because he’s the one who knows more about his players than any fans.

  3. I have no doubt that Giroud is the man to lead the line in most of our games ,he has experience and his form is also pretty impressive…He can score goals against any team …He has great technique confidence and ability to deliver when it matters most ..
    His record this year shows 8 goals 6 assists in all competitions,,,I expect that to end up at 20 goals all this season perhaps more …He needs service like any other centre forward…I have to say our midfield has not been at a most creative level of late …That doesn’t mean I haven’t got confidence in our team ..Loftus cheek has a had a blip in form of late ,,,but you can be certain he will come good again soon .I have been impressed with Aldi ,,,who seems so confident and comfortable on the ball ⚽️..I can see him being a huge asset to out team,,,as I can the youngsters that we have ..Yes jovic has done well of late ,,and this is very encouraging,,,and he will no doubt get more games ..
    For me the three up front of reafeo leao ,,pulisic / Giroud should start the next match .
    It is not me to decide but piloi …He knows exactly what he is doing ,,,and indeed gave games to many fringe players against calgari, but I am sure most of you agree that as opposition they were very poor ,,,and at least two of our goals the goalkeeper should have saved ..Yes jovic scored two goals ,,but had Giroud had played ,,,I believe he could have also easily have scored a couple ..That said we have another forward who is looking good ,and as I have said more games will be given to him .
    I have complete confidence in our coach pioli ,,,he has achieved great things with us ..the best is still to come.
    A brace from Giroud next game ,,why not .He is class .

  4. The problem with Giroud is that Pioli overuses him and keeps him playing during the games when he’s no longer effective or isn’t even in the game much like against Salernitana.

    He just needs to make that substitution sooner. Half time, 50th, 60th minute. Don’t wait until 70+ to bring in Jovic. He won’t always have time to equalize like he did against Salernitana.

  5. Play the hot hand for Christ sake!

    @VOR I’m pretty sure most the folks criticizing Pioli have been doing so for a while. And folks didn’t start right away, Pioli for the most part got the benefit of the doubt for 3 years worth of games, the questions of him really started on the back half of last season. Over that time his limitations have been laid clear and we see the same patterns of mistakes and bad tactical decisions that plagued him at Fiorentina, Inter and Lazio (since you’re not a petulant college kid surely you’re old enough to remember those years). Obviously the issues are not all his but when there’s a hot hand and the coach continues to pick a player who is underperforming it’s fair not fickle to criticize. As for Jovic, when he arrived he was coming off several seasons of really poor play and professionalism. So based on history ppl were right to question the player and expect little because thats what has been shown. The transfer was a last chance for him. Fortunately Jovic seems to have figured it out and is playing well. Thus he has earned the support of the skeptics. It takes a stronger person to change their mind than to stubbornly stick to their prejudgments. Personally I always thought he’d have about 10 goals in him and I’m glad it’s worked out but I was in no way confident he’d pull it off and not be another Origi… I’m glad some of my doubts about Jovic have been dispelled.

  6. Lol some fans always complaining when Pioli made less rotation. But when he did rotate, these crybabies complaint too. Just STFU and let the coach decide who’s gonna play.

    Also, it’s obvious Giroud gonna start considering Jovic played full match and Giroud was fully rested in Cagliari. And next mid-week we will face Atalanta in Coppa Italia. Jovic and other players needs some fresh legs.

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