Pioli explains decision to start Leao over Piatek; highlights problems Roma caused

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has explained his decision to start Rafael Leao over Krzysztof Piatek up front in the defeat to Roma.

The Rossoneri fell to their fifth Serie A loss in nine games at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday night as Nicolo Zaniolo netted the winner in a performance littered with yet more individual errors.

There was speculation all week in the build-up to the game suggesting that Leao would lose his spot in the starting XI to Piatek, who netted off the bench against Lecce last weekend.

However, Pioli instead elected to play the Portuguese U21 international up front, though he struggled to assert himself in the game and Piatek came on just after the hour mark.

Speaking after the loss, the 53-year-old explained his decision, which was based on the idea of not changing a formula that worked well.

“My idea is to make the most of the players, I only had ten days of work, after a good collective performance against Lecce I preferred to change as little as possible,” Pioli told Sky Italia (via MilanNews.it).

“There will be room for everyone. We must work well and prepare at the best the next game. We want to get back to winning, we have to show on the field that we can succeed.”

On the problems Roma caused, he added: “It was difficult to play on the pitch, Roma had the midfield stacked with players.

“It’s useless to criticise a certain player or a department, We have to work on many directions, especially on attention.

“With more attention we could have found an equilibrium. A huge mistake downed us, then we tried but we didn’t find a way.

“At these levels, against a strong opponent, we need to make a better match on technical level. After deservedly drawing level the game we had to manage it better, after the 2-1 Roma closed down well and has been more complicated for us.”


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Tags AC Milan Krzysztof Piatek Rafael Leao Stefano Pioli