Pioli discusses injury situation, emerging from tough moment and potential tactical tweaks

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has given an update on the injured players and highlighted what is needed to emerge from such a difficult moment.

Milan are on a dreadful run of form at the moment having won just one of their eight games to begin 2023 across all competitions, which includes being eliminated from the Coppa Italia and losing the Supercoppa final to Inter, as well as dropping from second in the table to sixth.

The Rossoneri are now on a run of seven games without a victory and have lost their last four games, while the defensive record reads 19 goals conceded since the turn of the year meaning an instant revival is needed.

Pioli spoke to the reporters who gathered at Milanello for his pre-match press conference to face a number of questions regarding the current struggles, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.

Tomorrow the milestone of one million fans for the season at San Siro will be passed…

“We have to thank them for their passion and support, especially in the most difficult moments.”

How is Ibrahimovic?

“He’s doing better. His role is as a great motivator and a great player. He’ll be with us tomorrow and this is important.”

How is Leao doing?

“Leao is important for me and for the team. He’s back from the World Cup, he played very well right away in Salerno and then lost a bit of his brilliance. He’s fine, he’s much happier when he plays; I see him very motivated and very concentrated.”

Could someone like De Ketelaere suffer because of the formation change?

“No. There are no winning formations, the important thing is the interpretation.”

Ibra has not been included in the Champions League squad list…

“I have no regrets and neither does he. His guarantee is too limited. Everyone says maybe he’ll be ready in a month? I can control my picks and what my players do.”

What do you think of Sacchi’s words?

“A coach must evaluate everything. We lack a better build-up from the back and a more solid defensive phase. I accept the criticisms. I just have to think about getting Milan back to winning ways. We’re not denying the path we’ve made so far.”

What kind of a game will it be tomorrow?

“It will be difficult, Torino are a very annoying team in the way they play. We have to move a lot and well. It will take courage.”

What makes you positive for tomorrow?

“The commitment of my players. This keeps me always positive. For a coach, it’s a great thing.”

How are Maignan, Tomori and Bennacer?

“The scar is healing well [for Maignan], but we can’t say for sure when he’ll be back on the pitch. Tomori and Bennacer aren’t available for tomorrow, but they should be back for Tottenham.”

Will 3-5-2 be confirmed tomorrow?

“Every match is different. Tomorrow we will have different positions compared to the derby. Against Inter we accepted to stay a little deeper, but there was no strong pressure on the opposition ball carrier. Negative first half, better after.”

How are you feeling amid the crisis?

“I’m focused, positive and serene for what I see from my players. I don’t think it matters how I am, what matters is how Milan will play. Moments like this happen in football, I need to keep believing in my players and in the work we’re doing We know we can do more.

“We set off to win the Scudetto again, but it won’t happen. A new season starts tomorrow and we aim to finish in the top four. We have to start again with spirit and enthusiasm. There are still many games left, the season it doesn’t end tomorrow. We are responsible for what we manage to do.”

You have repeated several times that the team trains very well…

“We had different perceptions on the pitch compared to what we experienced in training. We just have to think about putting on the best possible performance. Torino are difficult opponents who have always created difficulties for us. I know my players well and I know that we can get out of the crisis.”

What’s happening to Theo?

“The same goes for Leao. I didn’t want him to play in Salerno and against Roma, but he had to play.”

How is Thiaw? He came on and did well in the derby…

“He’s growing and I rely on him, he’s a strong player.”

How does Milan’s left wing change with the change of form?

“In France, Theo played the whole wing. Leao or Rebic can vary on the pitch.”

Why wasn’t another goalkeeper signed?

“The choice was mine and that of the technical area. We didn’t take him because we have faith in Tata and Maignan will be back soon.”

Many players have improved under your guidance…

“They are talented youngsters and now everyone forgets that Kalulu, Leao and Tonali took time to establish themselves. Each player has his own path. The team moment is difficult and therefore perhaps it is better at this moment to play more solid players.”

What offends you the most about the criticisms that are coming?

“Nothing. I repeat that criticism is everything. I know what I have to do, I know I have strong players who want to react. This is what counts.” 

Tags AC Milan Milan Torino Stefano Pioli


    1. I agree with you in pioli i trust ..We will win again very soon ,indeed against Torino ,and Olivier Giroud and Rafeol Leao will both play a major part ..Yes it’s AC Milan for me …Confidence will come back to the whole team .
      Please all fans remain optimistic and hopeful.

  1. In pioli i also trust ..things will come good again and we will win against Torino ..
    Rafeol leao and Olivier Giroud will be decisive.
    When we win this game confidence will come back to the whole team .It’s AC Milan for me .
    Please all fans stay optimistic and hopeful.

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