Pioli denies fatigue factor in Salernitana draw and explains Leao’s ‘strange situation’

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli believes that there is currently a ‘strange situation’ going on with Rafael Leao as he picked apart the problems from the draw against Salernitana.

It was a frustrating night for Milan in front of over 70,000 fans as they needed to take advantage of the poor results for Inter, Lazio and Roma and looked like they would after Olivier Giroud’s header from a corner, but Boulaye Dia’s first time finish at the near post equalised for the away side who earned a draw.

None of the Rossoneri’s key performers really showed up aside from the goal scorer with Leao struggling to make the right decisions, Brahim Diaz neutralised mostly and even the three-man defence looking shaky.

After the draw, Pioli spoke to the reporters who gathered at his post-match press conference and his comments were transcribed by MilanNews.

Was it a mentality problem or tiredness?

“No, no tiredness, but quality: we weren’t as fast as we could be and careful. When will I have the team review the goal we conceded… It was too easy to score. We had to manage better, we tried, but we had to be more lucid and precise.”

At the beginning of the second half the team looked off..

“Not giving up, but not as dangerous as we wanted: we move the ball vertically too little maybe because we didn’t move much.”

What will you bring to the next match?

“Definitely disappointment, this wasn’t the game we wanted to play, to transform into energy.”

Did you lack some courage?

“I don’t think so, there was a lack of quality and players in the box. It’s a question of position and of accompanying the action better. We had to manage the second half better.”

Should Leao be criticised or is supporting him important?

“Being close to my players is my priority, when things are going well or badly. Leao’s strange situation is this: in training he does very well, he moves a lot and very well, everything, and then in the game he does something less. He has to find a middle ground.”

Tags AC Milan Rafael Leao Stefano Pioli


  1. Of course he denies it, otherwise he would have to admit his mistake to use the same players over and over again.
    We all saw Giroud getting booked intentionally just so he can get a rest.
    His system only works when players run a lot and press aggressively, but then he goes on and uses the same team every time, not allowing them to rest.
    Out with Pioli already. Now, not after we miss the top 4. Then it’s too late.
    It’s unacceptable for the winners of the previous season to look this bad.

    1. Also, what the hell did we play in the closing stages? Balls over the top and hope for a lucky deflection? How are we supposed to score like that.
      I remember an anecdote from Sacchi. Some player asked him why they don’t play more directly in the last few minutes when it’s 0-0 and they need to score a goal to win. His answer was something like: “if that would be the best way to score, we would play like that all the time, not just the last few minutes”.
      Tell that to the geniuos Pioli…

    2. I suspect Giroud intentionally rather miss the Udinese game than potentially miss the Napoli game. I don’t think it had anything to do with fatigue.

    3. “We all saw Giroud getting booked intentionally just so he can get a rest.”

      Please tell me you’re joking, right?! No one would ever do that. The reasoning for the intentional yellow was 100% due to that he wanted to make sure he wouldn’t get a yellow in the Udinese match and miss out on Napoli.

      1. Why would’t he want to miss the game against Napoli? We need him against teams like Salernitana or Udinese. Those are the teams we need to beat. We have no fight with Napoli. They’ll demolish us with or without Giroud.

        1. Do you think so? I remember Milan outplaying Napoli even though they lost in the previous fixture. Now, that was a while ago so I may not be remembering correctly. I actually think Milan will play better against Napoli than they did yesterday. Kind of difficult not to though.

        2. “We have no fight with Napoli. They’ll demolish us with or without Giroud.”

          Let’s pretend you are right – which you aren’t. But let’s pretend anyway. So, Napoli is so scary and unbeatable (although they just lost a week or two ago). Do you REALLY think a professional footballer (such as a World Cup winner Giroud) is afraid of this club and doesn’t want to play? There isn’t a a pro player in the world who wouldn’t want to participate in a top match against the team on top of the table. Those are the matches that decide whether people are up to the task or not. Players who can perform against bottom-table team but never against the top team will not become GOATs. And if you think about Giroud… He’s the one who shines especially against the top teams (remember his brace against Inter?).

          So saying **** like “Why would’t he want to miss the game against Napoli?” just prooves you have no idea what you are talking about. Those are the matches the pros live for.

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