AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli deserves credit for his role in engineering the win over Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano last night.
It might have been Franck Kessie’s perfect cross and Junior Messias’ well-placed header that provided the actual winning moment for the Rossoneri, but La Gazzetta dello Sport (via MilanNews) remarks that Pioli was the ‘best of all’ for a number of different reasons.
The first is that managed to immediately get the team back up after their first league defeat against Fiorentina, and he did it without key players such as Fikayo Tomori, Ante Rebic and Rafael Leao.
Then there were the four changes that the Milan boss made in one go just after the hour mark. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s introduction gave presence to the attack, Tiemoue Bakayoko added steel to the midfield, Alessandro Florenzi provided energy and dynamism down the right while Junior Messias of course ended up being the hero of the evening.
At the age of 56 and with over 700 games as a manager under his belt, Pioli won his first Champions League game last night and it was fully deserved. It is fitting, too, that it came thanks to his proactive decision making.