Pioli talks through Leao’s miss and how Milan ‘conducted the game’ vs. Newcastle

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli believes his side conducted the game against Newcastle United exactly as was planned, without finding the finishing touches.

Milan came into the game against Newcastle needing a response after a dismal 5-1 defeat in the derby against Inter on Saturday, and they certainly managed to rectify a lot of those issues in their Champions League opener.

The stats show just how dominant the Rossoneri were with 25 shots to the visitors’ six, with nine of those on target to the Magpies’ one. Milan also had four big chances to zero, and the xG suggests the score should have been at least 2-0.

However, it was 0-0 due to Nick Pope’s heroics and some bad finishing, which makes progressing from the group a bit more difficult after PSG beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in the other game.

Pioli spoke to the reporters who gathered in the conference room at San Siro after the game to try and assess what was a positive performance from his team but perhaps two points dropped, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.

Did you expect this Newcastle?

“We know them well. They are usually very aggressive. We probably took some of the pressure off by moving the ball well and making them move.

“We conducted the game as we wanted. These are games you should win, but we weren’t able to finish the situations well that we could have exploited differently.”

How is Loftus-Cheek?

“Maignan said he felt something small, while Ruben said he only had cramps, in fact I was bringing him off anyway…”

What happened in Leao’s head for that missed chance?

“Football lovers like Rafa because he tries things that aren’t normal for other players. He does things that he can do and others can’t. It’s clear that the goal was gaping there.

“I feel sorry for the boys, they put in what they had. I’m sorry for the crowd because they cheered us on throughout the match. I’m sorry because it will be a tough group and we wanted the victory.”

How do you comment on the performance of the new signings?

“Musah, Loftus and Chuku need to play to get used to the mechanisms of their team-mates. They need to play and they have been ready, there will be opportunities for them because we play every three days. I have many players, maybe the others will probably play against Verona.”

Will Maignan have a scan?

“Maignan will do some evaluations tomorrow. I think it’s unlikely that he will play on Saturday, but I don’t know. Theo is ok, he’s fine, he takes a lot of hits every game.”

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli


  1. Some of us said earlier this summer that Pioli would be next in line if things turn wrong. The communication campaign ran by Jerry has been effective since #PioliOut has now replaced #CardinaleOut on Milan’s social media.

    Dismantling the team unsurprisingly has an effect. We have a midfield made of players that would be substitutes for UCL contenders. Reijnders is no De Jong, Loftus-Cheek is no Valverde. Krunic was a depth player, he’s now our cornerstone midfielder. We needed reinforcement at left back and striker, we still don’t have that. What we had this summer was smoke and mirrors. Maybe our recruits will improve in the long run, hopefully, but they have to adapt first and it could be longer than expected. For now, we are still Leao-Théo-Giroud dependents.

    1. Gasp…you said dismantling the team unsurprisingly has an effect. 😮😮 How dare you Bartholomeo lol 😂😂🤣. They’ll come after you be careful now.
      Now that the enthusiasm of transfers has died down, we can actually look at the football on display. Went well vs smaller teams it seems but vs decent level of quality… ummm not so much. Was hoping we’d just add a couple pieces than dismantle tbh. Verona is now a very interesting game lol. That’s our test of whether Inter was a blip.

  2. The team is too stretched, there is no exciting movement off the ball, leao is the only player in modern football who is allowed to walk around or even stand when off possession, substitutions take forever to happen and when they do, its the wrong ones, its a pain to watch, rather than spending more on players i feel its time to spend that money on a top manager, some teams play proper beautiful modern football with unkown players, we all know the manager, why not go for him before a top club tie him up

  3. I dont know if the average age of this forum is in its teens but I dont understand the desire to be rid of Pioli. Especially after yesterday where he got things right. He cant leave his technical area so cant score the goals himself.

    1. Oh yeah Pioli has done great especially the past two games. Perfect tactics, on-point instructions, timely subs, and he even started world class Pobega in CL. The movement and flow on offense is sublime. He’s the best!

    2. I agree, we had 8 shots on goal and newcastle had 1 and besides of that we pretty ran the show throughout the match and the only thing that really missed was a goal which we propably could and should have gotten several off but sure people complains about Pioli being a culprit, Absolutely ridiculous,

      1. Milan dominated against Inter (possession 70vs30%) but the players lacked the determination needed to win it. Yesterday Milan made Newcastle look like a Hungarian 3rd division team instead of the 4th best team of EPL last season.

        I understand people hate Pioli and he’s not my favorite person in the world either but demanding his sacking due to these two matches makes zero sense. It would be a disaster.

        1. I might have repressed the memory of that match by now and turned off the match at 1-3 but that was not really how i experienced the game so im a bit surprised about those stats not that im questioning what you are saying im just rather surprised by it,

          I agree it would be absolutely detrimental to sack him especially just to please the womens wailling choir on sempremilan.

          1. Ah, about the stats… The 70vs30% was at half time (somehow failed to mention that, sorry!). I don’t know how much it got tighter during the 2nd half but still. Milan was in control of the ball and with such dominating figures one shouldn’t be 0-2 down at half time. Never.

    3. I have the answer to that question Patryk. The answer is 12. There’s no way one looks at one of the most winning coaches in the history of Milan with a far less superior squad than in the past, decent enough attacking game, and goes hmmm I think we need to get rid of him after 4 games into a new season. Plus the way people write here about how bad players are, never been through the banter era. I still have PTSD from that time

  4. Someone should really say to our players to avoid acrobatic complicated shots and plays at 0-0 , this is not the first time, do your job,score a goal and make a fun when you have 3-0 lead,not before that. We always need 10 chances to score a goal and that last for the past 5 seasons.

    1. Thank you! Literally made this point somewhere else. Why go for the spectacular when you’re not even winning yet 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️ and Giroud has a free header, literally. But no, he wanted a glamour goal smh. So infuriating

  5. Don’t keep criticising pioli …He got the tactics spot on .
    We defended so so well ,Newcastle only got one chance all game ….look at the chances we created ..
    We were clearly the better team ,,,Rafeo leao tries to be to elaborate sometimes and should have scored ,when instead he tried to do a back heel into the net .
    Olivier Giroud worked very hard as usual ,but surprisingly did not get into the far post areas that he normally does ,,.however both him and leao must start the next match ..Tomori was superb ,and definitely the man of the match ,,every tackle he made inch perfect …Musah ,..what can I say truly inspiring when he came on ..He must surly start also the next match ….We need to win this match by 3 or 4 goals ..
    We will be back on track then …
    We should have won the match against Newcastle 2-0
    We got one point ,but we lost to .
    We will still challenge for the scuddeto this season .

    1. His criticism is because of his lack of support for the new signing. Did you see how he said that Reijnders is not indispensable? But still choose to play his favorites for every game. He doesn’t know how to rotate. Playing giroud and Leao for 90 minutes when you still have Okafor and Jovic on the bench.

  6. Pioli did a good job for the match against Newcastle, he indeed brought Newcastle down to the level Udinese, it was the players that refused to score and the heroics of opponent’s goal keeper. Save for the goal, it was like Milan vs Udinese.
    A good match but we need to borrow some determination from Inter. Not even Inter were truly better after watching the match again, they were only more determined and hence had superior mental strength.

    1. “Not even Inter were truly better after watching the match again, they were only more determined and hence had superior mental strength.”

      I agree. But for the Pioli-haters it is absolutely impossible to see things that way – even if true. Determination was the key in the derby. Also the lack of it yesterday. I guess they’d need Zlatan to make the players understand the meaning and power of the word “determination”.

    2. You’re brave to watch the match again lol . But yes sometimes it’s the grit that counts and wanting it more. So much so that tactics get thrown out the window. Look at how Dumfries, Mikhi and Thuram wanted it more, even Fratessi when he came on. They were on a mission to make a point, we were not. And they steam rolled us

  7. Today Pioli was better today and we should have won the game – BUT – that doesn’t change the fact that Pioli is not a tactical coach and if we want to take the next leap in quality he would eventually need to be replaced.

    Also – Although still very early in the season, we should discuss Moncada and Furlani’s transfer market. No striker; no back up LB; no starting calibre RB; and SO FAR – only ONE (Pulsic) of our attacking signings – Pulisic, Chukuweze, Okafor and Jovic – has made an impact. Like I said it is still early so I will give some players like Chukuweze and Okafor more time – but compared to Pulisic – none have contributed anything this far. That is a problem as we are already starting to see fatigue in Giroud and it’s only September. So as much as many initially praised the transfer market by management – we are slowly starting to see that some key areas that were not addressed are becoming problems. Time will tell if some of these players adapt or not – but that doesn’t change the fact we needlessly gambled on not getting a striker to help Giroud and not getting a LB to spell Theo nor a starting caliber RB to challenge Calabria. Big mistakes IMO. Not a good position to be in when you have to turn to Florenzi to generate offense from the right flank in a UCL match. Yikes

    1. @Juro, what exactly are you saying? The team still needs a striker, a backup LB and RB – after 10 new players were signed?

      Are you saying the signings were not prioritized or that additional ones should have been made? I need to understand.

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