Pioli analyses Milan’s work in and out of possession vs. Bologna: “This will really help us”

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli praised his side’s performance in last night’s win over Bologna, describing his team as being ‘organised’ and in control of the game.

It was certainly a tricky test on paper for a new-look Milan side as they faced off against Thiago Motta’s Bologna at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara to kick off the new Serie A campaign, needing to win to keep pace with Napoli, Inter and Juventus.

Win is exactly what they did, and it was thanks to two goals in the opening 21 minutes. The first was scored by Olivier Giroud as he fired in at the far post from Tijjani Reijnders’ first-time feed, and the second saw Giroud set up Christian Pulisic for a rocket of a shot from 20 yards out.

Pioli spoke to Milan TV after the game to give his thoughts on the result and the performance to begin the new campaign.

“The right approach, we took the game a quarter at a time. That was important and we did it really well. The game showed that we still need to work a lot, and that there are things we can do better,” he began.

“Bologna played well too. We were organised. This game will allow us to work out where we can improve.

“We did everything we wanted to in the summer, which is huge. The players trained with continuity. It’s clear that, today, we got the answers on their own, which tell us where we can do a lot better; we saw that.

“This will really help us to be more precise in our work. But the new guys have come in with a lot of enthusiasm. These are talented players. They don’t need time to develop, they’re ready because they’ve played for good teams and have a lot of experience.

“Of course they’ll need time to adapt to such a unique and difficult league. They’re showing the right attitude, hunger and spirit. The whole team needs to learn certain patterns of play and work hard.

“Once this side learns to make sacrifices without the ball, we’ll be a top team because with the ball we’re great.

“The secret is always teamwork. The secret is always to play for your team-mates, make sacrifices, run harder, especially with such a talented squad. We have some lovely footballers, who know how to score and dribble. This will be our end product.

“We can be a team that scores and creates many chances. The aim now is to improve our build-up play and be compact without the ball so that we don’t concede many goals. You can only win things if we score a lot but concede very little.

“In terms of our balance on the ball, I don’t think we let them counter effectively. This means that we were organised. We like to be fluid in our build-up and when we lose the ball, some players might need to act in the position they find themselves.

“So, a full-back might end up in midfield and the centre-back is a bit more open. It’s not possibly to be fully balanced at this point. The friendlies gave us an indication and we worked on that, but it’s really these matches which tell us which direction we are going.

“Without the ball today, especially in the first half, I think our timing was a bit off and that means that we weren’t as compact and we need to work on that.”

Tags AC Milan Bologna Milan Stefano Pioli


  1. At least Pioli noticed that we still have that imbalance when opponent counterparts from our attack. That’s a good start, now just let him cook.

    I stand by my opinion that, If we can get 6 wins from 10 first matches of the season and continue strongly from there we will have quite a good season.

    1. um…you thought the coach doesn’t understand that good high presses with numbers in the middle of the pitch are susceptible to counters? he does coach for a living…

  2. I Like piolis new tactic for a fluent attacking style. It makes us unpredictable, wich we lacked last season. I had concerned that he would not change much with the tactics but what we saw in that first half was great from an attacking point. If he can manage to solve the problem he has addressed, man I’m looking forward what we might achieve

  3. I disagree about being organized and that they didn’t let Bologna counter effectively. Milan left a ton of space and were caught out of position a lot. A team with better offensive players would have really punished us.

  4. Bologna had a lot of stats better than us including possession, shots, shots inside the box, passes and so on on. If it was a more organized team we’d be punished. At least we got the points and that’s what matter before Rd 3 and 4

    What I noticed was that we were comfortable when the opponent’s have the ball and we also let them have it. This was what we used to do during kakas time. It set us up for using our speed on the counter attacks. I don’t mind it at all as.long as we secure the points

    1. this happened after the 51st min because the team was tired and they seemed happy enough to pass the ball between their defense. Fitness will take more time.

  5. We have got a brilliant squad ..
    Well done my man Olivier Giroud….hope you all listened to my pre match comments about him .
    Giroud is class ,,,with the players around him this season he can rack up some goals ..I predict for Olivier around 20 goals this season in all competitions.This man’s ability to be in the right place at the right time is a genius. Inside the and around the 18 yard area the man is superb ,technically he is brilliant,such physical strength and awareness.
    What a performance from Oliver and pulisic in the first half .,yes they both faded a little in the second half ,but hey job done ..The wonderful thing this season is we have players who can can off the bench when needed …I think Loftus cheek will have much to offer in future games ,so strong on the ball and can defend and attack when needed .The team we have now will score loads of goals ,especially from pulisic ,Giroud and Rafeo leao ..
    I happen to think different from many of you .
    I think we have a superb manager in pioli and a superb team .The match against Bologna on paper was never going to be easy ,,there will be a lot of teams that go there and lose points .
    So it’s well done for us and the 3 points ,,another 3 points against Monza on Saturday..another goal for yes hear it hear it …Olivier Giroud..still a class man to have in our team ,,,why did he still play for France in the World Cup ?
    Any how man of the match pulisic closely followed by Olivier ..
    I will also tell you all this from experience and watching lots of football..We will challenge for honours again this season .enough said .

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