Pioli responds to questions on Milan’s difficult period, individual players and formation change

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli received a bit of a grilling from journalists at his press conference today ahead of the Lazio game.

It would be fair to say that 2023 has not been kind to Milan so far as they followed up a win against Salernitana to begin the new year with a draw against Roma after throwing away a two-goal lead, a Coppa Italia exit to Torino who had 10 men for a large part of the game, a draw against Lecce after a poor first half and a comfortably Supercoppa defeat to rivals Inter.

Tomorrow’s game against Lazio will be anything but an easy game too given that Maurizio Sarri’s men are in the chasing pack hoping to get in the top four, and have many attacking weapons even though they are without star striker Ciro Immobile.

Pioli spoke to the reporters who gathered in the press room at Milanello on the eve of tomorrow’s trip to the capital, with his comments relayed by MilanNews and translated below.

Milan are not going through a simple period…

“We have to face it and overcome it. The criticisms are there right now, we’re back to being a great team, expectations are high, but we have solid foundations. Let’s face this moment with humility, compactness and the desire to react. My players are strong and they deserve my trust.”

What’s wrong with the team?

“Resetting this moment helped us. We have to improve from all points of view. The most important aspect is the mental one. We remember last year’s match, in which we suffered, but we resisted and brought home the victory at the end.”

What game will it be tomorrow?

“It’s important because we want to overcome this difficult moment with a performance from Milan. We know it’s an important match.”

What are you working on to fix your Milan?

“About principles and how to stay on the pitch. We know what we have to do, we just have to put it back on the field.”

Why is this complicated moment lasting so long?

“When you coach such a strong team, expectations are always very high. It’s been a difficult 10 days, we played a lot, we had to do more. Now we have two options: either to continue feeling sorry for ourselves or to react. We are doing everything to react.”

Do you understand what happened to Milan?

“Of course.”

Are you able to solve problems that you understand?

“Of course.”

Could there be some new tactics? Maybe adding an extra midfielder…

“No. We have our principles.”

Tomori seems to be struggling…

“I have a very responsible group. They have been very positive and have brought us a lot of energy, now we need to face the negative ones. We have never looked for a culprit, we all have to do better.”

Should Milan be more cynical up front and at the back?

“We have to be cynical and concrete in both phases of the game.”

What are you expecting from Lazio tomorrow?

“They are having an excellent season, they have a capable coach with a very precise identity. Immobile will be missing, but Felipe Anderson is doing well as a striker.”

How long until Ibrahimovic’s return? Did he say anything to the team?

“The recovery is proceeding well, he’s respecting the schedule. He’s resumed working on the pitch on his own. He’s always present in the dressing room, so he’ll certainly have talked to the team.”

Have Milan lost their identity in the last period?

“In two or three games it doesn’t lose its identity. We struggled, but our identity is clear and precise.”

Tags AC Milan Lazio Milan Stefano Pioli


  1. “Could there be some new tactics? Maybe adding an extra midfielder…

    “No. We have our principles.””

    And one of the principles is “this team won the scudetto last year so we don’t need to change anything as we’re already the best”? Or is the “4-2-3-1″ won us the scudetto so we’re sticking to it until I’m sacked”?

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