Pioli praises Milan for their ‘great intensity’ and claims it was ‘not a negative performance’

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli admitted that there are regrets about the way the first half went for his side, stating that the result was negative but not the performance.

Milan were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw by Empoli at San Siro tonight, and it was a game where the home side dominated the possession and the chances but once again were unable to create the moments of quality required to unlock the game.

After the 4-0 win against Napoli last weekend it is baffling how the team continues to be so inconsistent in the league, though in the second half there was a penalty overturned as well as a goal by Olivier Giroud for handball.

Pioli spoke after the game to Sky Italia to reflect on what was a frustrating night for his side as they missed another big opportunity, with his comments relayed by MilanNews and translation below.

“It’s not the result we wanted and we may have regrets about the first half. We played with great intensity and great pressure, conceding nothing, and doing everything we had to do to win in the second half, but the ball didn’t go in. I see a healthy team. It’s a negative result, not a negative performance,” he said.

Are you disappointed with Rebic and Origi?

“Goals are expected from the forwards. The taller full-backs would have given us more breadth in the first half and we had to fill the area better not only with the forwards. The team played a good match, but we lacked something.”

The alternatives are not the same level as the starters…

“The judgment could have been different if Rebic had scored in the first half, if Origi had scored with a little more luck with his heel… De Ketelaere does everything he has to do in training to convince me; he works as hard as his team-mates.

“Then I already changed a lot and I didn’t want to exaggerate. You all said ‘finally three midfielders’ and today… Choices are made. Charles has to be ready and trains very well, he’s a mature boy. Then I make the my choices.”

What game was it today?

“It’s been a long time since we played with this intensity, compactness and desire not to let the opponents play. I’m sorry, we’re Milan, but in my opinion as a coach we’re returning to our levels. We can do better. Our game is improving”.”

How will he play against Napoli?

“I didn’t do anything genius. Tomorrow morning I’ll tell the team one thing: in Naples we needed the points more than them. On Wednesday we’ll have great motivation and we’ll both play with great energy.

“I expect a strong Napoli, a completely different match from the league. Maybe we’ll change something, because Napoli have positions that created us and could create problems for us.

“Playing the Champions League here at San Siro is fantastic. Napoli is a great team. Then, as happened to us, we lost to spend so much in the Champions League. something in the league.”

Tags AC Milan Milan Empoli


  1. Clearly understand on these diplomatic answers by him. One thing he never does is to blame his players. But all of us can see the gap between the first team and the ‘other’ team. Everytime we take out Leao, Giroud, and Diaz (often replaced by Rebic, Origi, and CdK) we never look like the same team.

  2. Honestly, if I was the coach, I would probably have similar tactics with what Pioli fielded (resting several key players).

    It’s easy to blame him when we don’t get the full points, but again, hindsight is 20/20. Had Leao/Diaz started, we might have won it, but at what cost? Both are reported to have a slight fitness issue. If they got injured, I think the fans would’ve crucify him and there goes our season.

    It’s just such a pity that we didn’t score, and the quality of the strikeforce is pretty much poor today. Had that weird scorpion thing Origi attempted went in, I think everyone would’ve praised Pioli for resting players and still managed enough to get 3 pts. While Origi was indefensible in his performance today, I think the rest of the team did okay-ish.

    1. It’s not just points missed (which is still very valuable in this top 4 race), but it’ll also affect our morale facing the next match. Our morale was as high as ever after that 4-0 statement againts Napoli. I bet the morale is not as high after this result. This is a sport in the end. When you’re in winning streak, the adrenaline hits you and it feels like you can keep playing and playing. That’s where the result comes. Talking about mind over physique.

      While Napoli knew they have to win the game vs Lecce after that disastrous performance againts us, to get their morale back. That’s why we can see they played with their best line up (minus Zielinski).

      1. Exactly.
        Thiaw for Kjaer and was a no- brainer but why Pobega for Krunic? With the defence and midfield almost the same as v Napoli, Pioli could have risked CDK at 11 and an untried schoolboy at 9 – Rebic and Origi have no place in this team

        1. I assumed no Krunic because he will be a starter on Wednesday.

          But it truly was an unforgiven mistake to play Origi. That must never again happen.

          1. It’s always easy to condemn in hindsight, but if we’re resting Giroud, who are we gonna play exactly? Ibra is out. so it’ll be between Origi or CDK who has scored a grand total of 0 goals. I personally was baffled that even CDK can’t get a start on this match, and was hoping that he could break his duck here as starter, but again, choosing Origi (a more natural striker) is understandable.

            It is just a matter of the execution didn’t match the plan. In any case, sure we dropped points, but I sincerely hope at the very least, this would open Pioli and management’s eyes, that we have troubles killing off teams who are barricading themselves. We have no creativity, no good/reliable crosser, no aerial threat, no setpiece threat and most importantly, we have no sharpshooters who can shoot from outside the penalty box. This makes it easier for teams to turtle it out, as we are kinda clueless when we’re playing in tight spaces.

            I am sure Napoli would be watching, and there’s a case for them to copycat this strats, as Osimhen is doubtful and SImeone went off injured yesterday. If this disappointing match has a silver lining, this is it, I hope Pioli has found the solution by then.

          2. “It’s always easy to condemn in hindsight, but if we’re resting Giroud, who are we gonna play exactly? ”

            You said it: CDK. Even with 0 goals so far he’s faaaaar more probable to score than Origi who doesn’t seem to even know what a ball is and what’s the goal (pun intended) of the game.

      2. As for the morale, IMHO, this shouldn’t effect the starters negatively. It would be more devastating if they all started and we still ended up 0-0 (or even lost the match). Now that’d be a hit for morale.

        Afterall, Giroud actually scored the goal, albeit unlucky that it hit his arm and got disallowed. So, the first team would hopefully be raring to go from the get go against Napoli.

        As for the defensive side, this was a free clean sheet and stat padding for them. 😉

  3. Okay did he fully rest his core players? Nope. No 3 points, no full rest. What did he achieve? Backup players are horrible yes but he should have known that better than anybody, right? How would you feel if he said “oh I did not know Origi and Rebic are that bad”?

  4. If milan 10 points clear on the table its right to rotate, but this time milan are struggling to get UCL spot. No creativity. Dont change the winning team. Look at Napoli, every match who the fuck they play with others team always play the best player on the pitch.

    Sriwijaya FC aja bermain dgn pola serta pemain yg sama beberapa tahun, akhir nya juara2 terus dan jaya di zamannya.

    Next season milan must buy great striker. That condition must milan do if they want to win serie A or at least UCL spot. Legendary milan squad always have great striker and good fantasista on the pitch.

    Forza Milan !!

  5. Honestly, milan need some good striker and creative fantasista next season if they want to go UCL. Legendary milan squad always have that 2 things.

    Sriwijaya FC aja juara dgn playmaker yang bagus.

    Forza Milan !!

  6. Milan are almost out of top 4 race unless Roma drops points aswell. Last spot would be taken by Coppa Italia winner most probably Inter or Juve. Juve might aswell catchup on the top 4 itself.

  7. Opet ista greška Piolija !!! Trebo je počet sa udarnom postavom pa kad postignu par golova razlike onda mjenjaj ekipu i odmaraj !!!! Ovi su nam bodovi bili strašno važni zbog plasmana u ligu prvaka dogodine !! Ova utakmica kao i sljedeče dvije u prvenstvu opet ponavljam su prioritet veči nego sljedeče dvije s Napoljem !! Na koncu kakvo ODMARANJE !!! Svi su plačeni i previše da bi trčali i zabijali golove !! To im je posao i tek kad pobjede mogu zaslužit nekekav odmor !! Ocjena Pioliju za taktiku i igru ista je kao i za Origija 3,5 !! Forca Milan

  8. Origi will become a club legend in Milan (too): He will be remembered as the worst striker who has ever played for the Rossoneri.

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