Pioli says Milan must ‘be united’ amid poor run of form and discusses transfer market

By Euan Burns -

AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli has said that everyone at the club must be ‘united’ in order to end the poor run of recent form which has damaged the Rossoneri’s Scudetto hopes.

Speaking during his press conference ahead of the match against Sassuolo on Sunday lunchtime, Pioli was asked about the tough times that the team are going through.

He stressed the importance of togetherness in the group as well as being back in front of their own fans at San Siro, with comments transcribed by Milan News.

“We have an opportunity tomorrow. I believe that in order to get through this moment, we need to be very united and turn the page,” Pioli explained.

“Thinking too much about what we had to do and could do does not help us. We know we can do much better and we’re happy to be back playing in front of our fans, who were an inspiration in Rome: they showed they were compact and supported us. It’s our turn now.”

He was also asked whether there is a desire from the players to redeem themselves after such a poor run of form that included a 4-0 defeat away at Lazio.

“Absolutely yes. Nobody should think that the players don’t want to overcome this moment or that they don’t put 100 per cent into it to do better. There has always been great focus and will. We overcome this moment by working, as we have always done. We have always believed in our work,” Pioli said.

Focusing again on the importance of the collective, Pioli refused to lay the blame for the bad form at the feet of the attacking players, also referencing the poor defending that has been on show.

“The last three games have been negative overall. We can do many things better both in attack and defence. Right now it is the collective that has to help the individuals and not vice versa,” he said.

Asked about whether he expects anything from the final days of the transfer market, Pioli suggested that he is happy with the players that he has.

“We have the necessary resources and qualities to get out of this moment. The club has been talking about the market for some time. We are recovering from injuries and we are fine,” he said.

Tactical changes planned for Sassuolo?

“All the players must feel ready to overcome this moment. Everyone must be ready to help the team at any time. Today we still have an important training session and I will decide.”

How do you find the spirit of last year?

“For those who play team sports it’s normal that energy, positivity and spirit increase with performance and positive results and can drop with negative performances. You recover by working and winning games. We can come out of this through positive results.”

What message do you send to the fans?

“The fans don’t need a message from me but they need to see our qualities and the way we play. We will guarantee our maximum commitment. Nice words but only the result tomorrow counts.”

How has the group changed?

“Nothing has changed within the group. There is great cohesion and availability. Clearly there are a few less smiles and silence: therefore more attention to work. The group works because it is aware and feels a great sense of duty towards the club and the fans.”

What do you expect from Sassuolo?

“Sassuolo can be aggressive but also less so. A technical team, we will have to play precisely from a technical point of view and be careful on the counter-attacks.”

Have you worked on the approach?

“Yes, we have worked on it. In the defensive phase we have to be more lucid as a department and individually.”

Does the key lie in simplicity?

Clearly, the things I’ve been saying to the players over the last few days go in the direction of simplicity: you have to do simple things well.”

Two retreats: what answers did you get?

“I think I have the necessary sensitivity to know my players well and to know what they need to stimulate them. It’s clear that if my players have made so many mistakes, it means that the first person responsible is me. In these days I’ve tried to be more clear, simple and direct to try to work better.”

How is Theo Hernandez?

“He was in the group yesterday and he was fine at the end of training. If he continues like this today he’ll be available for tomorrow.”

How are Calabria and Tomori?

“[Davide] Calabria got a bad knock but he trained with the team and he’s fine. Fikayo [Tomori] won’t be there.”

Amid Ciprian Tatarusanu’s form, do you have Devis Vasquez in mind?

“Our opponents are shooting a lot but we are conceding important chances and it becomes difficult also for the goalkeeper. The collective must defend better. Vasquez, I don’t see him as ready to play yet.”

Is it possible to change the form?

“It may be, I still think it’s not a problem of positions on the pitch, also because we change them often.”

Is De Ketelaere growing?

“He’s definitely better physically, he’s stronger and runs more. He is an offensive trequartista and if he plays he will be used there. Many times we have played with him together with Giroud.”

Do you have to think match by match?

“Yes, that’s the goal. From these moments you want to win even with dirty matches, maybe by winning tomorrow we will return to self-confidence and results and look as good as we have always been.”

What is the Messias-Diaz-Leao trident giving today?

“Until the game with Lecce we were scoring an average of two goals per game. After the last few games we’ve done much less: we’ve built up too slowly and we’ve struggled to overcome the first opposing pressure.”

Is Bakayoko out of your project?

“Baka is available, he trains well and then I make the best choices for the team.”

What is the lightning bolt that can fix the team?

“The lightning bolt must be the awareness of the tough moment we are experiencing, which must be approached as a great possibility and challenge. Now it is us who must believe in what we are doing and we must do everything to get out of this delicate moment. This lightning bolt can happen in any game: let’s hope it happens to our advantage.”

How is Krunic?

“He’s only just returned. He’s an intelligent player.”

Do we need a tactical shake-up?

“We have to keep it simple and we have to work well over 90 minutes in both phases of the game. Every ball can be decisive.”

Tags AC Milan Sassuolo Stefano Pioli


  1. “Thinking too much about what we had to do and could do does not help us”

    I’m done with this idiot. How can you learn from your mistakes if you don’t even try to analyze them? He will never change anything, just do the same thing and hope for the best.

  2. “Vasquez, I don’t see him as ready to play yet.”

    Of course you don’t. He needs years until he can put the kind of performance Tatarusanu does. Same thing for CDK and Adli, they can’t possibly do all the things Brahim Diaz does, right?

  3. Diaz and Tati are ready, Adli and Vasquez are not. Insisting on same formation that don’t work and players that don’t perform and talking nonsense that you will work hard to overcome this period is BS. With this working methods we are in injury crisis for years and working even harder may mean that maybe I will have to play for the first team cos there will be no healthy players.

  4. Tatarusanu playing. Expect troubles. We’d need to score 2 or three to even have a chance as it’s guaranteed that Sassuolo will score at least one or two.

    Good thing our offense is the best in the league and we have the MVP on our side. I predict 2 goals for Diaz and 2 for Saelemaekers. Maybe Messias comes off the bench to score one too. And Origi. Why? Because they’re THAT good.

  5. Until this dummy stops being static, I’ll keep hoping and praying for poor results, yes embarrassing ones at that… If it’s losing another 4-0 to Sassoulo I don’t care. I just want Pioli out.

  6. Sometimes, I feel disappointed in us FANS. Strings of bad results, we want him out! We almost never lost a game for almost TWO YEARS with Pioli, with the players he trust….. All of a sudden we seem to know better than him! I have cried cos of defeats suffered in recent games cos I forgot how it tastes to be defeated…. Man can’t go out on the pitch to play, he can only give out instructions. Those given instructions to are tired and needs to recharge. Trust me, we will bounce back and come back stronger. Let’s be patient in times of defeat and celebrate with the team when we win. Forza Milan!❤🖤

    1. Well said. This is the people above Pioli, above maldini even. If we can’t strengthen he has to use the best he has available. He believes in his convictions because he is there everyday to assess. Take a chance I hear people saying…he did on Adli and he was awful. Only in friendlies he’s played well…yeah…in friendlies. Vrankx gave away the free kick for Roma to equalise, the mentalitiy needed is not there yet. Pioli needs to put his work into them in training to get them up to speed. There’s an hell of a lot of phycological and motivational issues to deal with as well. Granted he could change the formation but under Pioli we have been very fluid in a number of formations and he’s sees this as evolving and adding another dimension. We need a win to boost moral and we need maignan back! Without buying players he can only do what he can do. Let’s not forget this season we have been decimated by injuries. He’s probably pulling his hair out and finding it tough himself but these “fans” who can’t appreciate what he did last year and ready to turn and start again with absolutely no guarantees are ridiculous. What manager do they think we will get who will accept on the terms of shipping in the loan market or with a 50m budget over two windows. Let’s not forget where we were and where we are. I’m as frustrated as everyone but some of these fans need to look at the bigger picture.

      1. “ What manager do they think we will get who will accept on the terms of shipping in the loan market or with a 50m budget over two windows. Let’s not forget where we were and where we are.” hahahahaha! Well said! Love RedBird. So glad we said no to all that “dirty” Arab oil money right??? 😜😜😜😜I mean what club actually wants money in todays modern football.
        Better we stay as is and let the big clubs (like Newcastle???) buy all the talent and titles LOL

      2. Firstly Pioli doesn’t have hair on his head to pull out, the past don’t mean sh*t, did Lazio regard Milan as the defending champion when the put Milan through the sword? Have you heard of the saying don’t rest on your laurels !!!

    2. When things are going HORRIBLY wrong, you have two or three options… Pioli has decided to stick with “do nothing” even though it’s CLEARLY NOT WORKING AT ALL.

      We got trashed by Inter and what does Pioli do? Field the same players with same tactics. The result? The same. What should be expected for tomorrow? Same tactics and same players (minus Benny & Tomori who are FORCED out – otherwise they’de be starting. Again.).

      When everything has fallen apart one shouldn’t just sit and wait to see whether things turn around by themselves. You do SOMETHING to fix it yourself and not rely on luck or whatever.

      Pioli has done NOTHING to fix this situation. The least he could do is change the goalie. What does he have to lose? I mean just look at the stats. Tata made ONE save (directed right at him btw) and conceded 4. FOUR! Could Vasquez do any worse really?

      1. And also fielding Vasquez would send the players a message. NO ONE (and I do mean no one!) should take their place in the starting 11 as granted.

        1. Dude Pioli has no balls. He’s just as scared as a little girl.
          I lost my faith in this man the moment he feild Pobega at LB in a FRIENDLY MATCH! Like dude if Theo and Balo isn’t available just try some Primevera player, it’s just a friendly!

    3. And maybe, just maybe Pioli has taken us as far as he can take us. Everyone else is evolving, adapting, upgrading their squad, integrating new players, changing formation.

      We’re doing none of that. Same players, same formation, ignoring new players, overplaying maybe even borderline abusing old players until they are hurt. And zero changes, zero formation, zero tactical. We have an invalid that refuses to leave the goalline, but we’re still playing like Mike is still there. Kessie has been gone since summer, we’re still trying to play like he is on the pitch. Leao, Theo, Giro never recovered from WC, but we’re playing them till they drop. And god forbid we play Adli, Aster, Malik, Lazetic. No that donkey Pobega and that Giraffe Gabbia need to pay because they are… what Italian.

      Its all on Pioli, his complete and utter mediocrity. His incompetence and unwillingness to change literally anything. His inability to integrate new players, or develop young ones.

      Summer transfer budget was embarrassing, but players that were brought, well most of them, were good, young, talented. Pioli just doesn’t know what to do with them. His incompetence is running our club into the ground.

  7. Vazquez is a goalkeeper for gods sake. How mu h ready does he have to be. Unless he has a 50 pound beer belly, than no need for extra time. Either throw another goalie in there,or replace tata with a scare crow.

  8. One thing is to criticize pioli another thing is to demand his head after less than a month of bad fortune (roma) and some bad performances on top of it. We shouldn’t forget either that we have actually performed well above expectations with him in the last 2 years. Infact so well that no coach at milan since capellos time in the mid 90ies has performed better than piolis stats, and thats a simple fact. Nobody would have been able to do what he has done in that time he has been our coach especially considering the group of players made available to him.

    Sacking coaches for quick stop gap solutions rarely works and often causes more issues. In our case we actually still sits at the second place in serie a so the chance of it helping is propably more slim than it would be beneficial to our cause.

    I can even understand some of the sentiments to give some players more chances but at the end of the day the coach works with the players on a daily basis whereas we watch some matches. Big Difference. Then there are also the phsyical stats that the team around pioli provides to take into consideration like fitness and even down to the players work etthics at training or their understanding of the system.

    Ive always been a fan of giving primavera players a chance by the way but for example in regard of pobega used as a lb this could simply be a way to get him up in gears which deffently could be just as important or more than giving an 18 year old player a chance in a meaningless match,

    Finally this isnt english football where its common practice that the coach/manager buys the players. In italy it is the common thing that they doesnt really have a big say in regard of aquisitions so blaming him on stuff like that doesnt make any sense either.

    1. My only problem with him is that he’s stubborn, he doesn’t want to integrate the new players into the team so that we can have chemistry, it’s time to stop playing the same lineup all the time, win or lose, it’s clear we not winning serie a this season, so why not start playing other players in all positions so they can get used to the league. And this way when our “strong” players aren’t fit, he could easily slot in a like for like. That’s all I’m asking. Actually play your whole team, not just tour starting 11, everybody needs to be a starter, and that won’t happen unless they’re being PLAYED. IF Sinisa didn’t take a chance on Donnaruma and kept playing Diego Lopez, he wouldn’t have become one of the best in the world. Just take a chance Pioli

      1. Yep, I agree. You’re definitely not asking for too much. And if it had been Pioli in charge previously, Gigio would still be waiting for his chance ‘cos “he’s not ready yet”.

      2. From the outside i can understand if he is percieved stubborn but again we dont get all the info as we are basically only fed with rumours and hearsay. On the other hand he is fed with stats that they doesnt showcase for all to see. There can be as many factors why some players isnt playing as i already explained but even if we doesnt win the serie a then we are actually still fighting for cl qualification and to start and experiment for the sake of the fans or even the players sake could be far more costly than sticking with what has actually worked up until recently. When that is said i would also like to see some of our aquisitions played more as well. In regard of formation, even if we play with a 4-2-3-1 formation its actually a fluid formation and there are several articles up here on sempre milan that points that out.

        Donnarumma is a generational talent so the vast majority of youth players cant be compared to him and let alone most of youth products will end up in serie c or b and then a few will actually reach the promised land of being serie a players and even fewer become star players or international players. The great majority of youth players are bound to fail or have second rate careers.

        1. i’d also like to add had we not drawn against roma who we actually played great against for the great majority of the match we propably wouldnt have seen this recent collapse of ours.

        2. Well said. Fans are too fickle. It’s been 5 bad games. That’s the worst run since the start of 2020. C’mon guys we’ve forgotten how far we’ve actually come. Look at Arsenal. They called for wingers head after 20 years of service because he was realistic in saying we can only compete for top 4 and the cups. He was right. Arsenal fell into the abyss after going from manager to manager. Be careful what you guys wish for. When I say who else we gonna get as manager it’s a serious question. Pioli knows seria a very well, in fact he is now a champion and he’s happy to work in the awful parameters he’s been set. This year is a weird one as well because of the World Cup. We’ve had so many injuries and im not sure how many of them players he would have been excited about. What he does have is a system and the players with tge characteristics should be able to slot in there but we’re talking about high level football. He needs high level players. I’ll admit I did not want him at all when we got him but he’s won my respect and I know how far we can slide if his head rolls.

  9. I think Pioli is a victim of his own success. Last few seasons nobody expected much of him or the team. Let’s face it Elliot hired him because he was cheap. He had never won anything. His track record spoke for itself. So he had nothing to lose. So he gambled and played the youth – and it worked. He and the team exploded. Kudos to him on nurturing the young talent. But it seems that the weight of success he’s now had has placed a huge weight on his shoulders. Seems now he plays not to lose instead of to win. That shows in his selections. He was once unafraid to play young players like Kalulu, Tonali, Leao, etc…but now he pauses and seems unsure of himself. Constantly playing the same starting 11 with no rotation. Going back to old habits and like so many typically Italian coaches they play not to win but to not lose their jobs. So I’m not in favor of firing Pioli now – as someone said above – what kind of coach do you think we will get with a 50M budget and a wage cap??? Lol. But I do wish he would be more vocal like most great coaches are and tell ownership what he needs and not always tow the company line “we are fine as is”. If that is the case and he really believes that then he would play the players he has young or not. So it’s obvious he’s doesn’t feel secure in his job and is just saying what ownership wants to hear because they don’t want a coach (like a Conte for example) who speaks his mind and demands $$$ players – that is too costly for Redbird. Sad.

    We just need the Pioli of last few years. The one that’s wasn’t afraid to take risks or criticism for playing the young players – because news flash – young unproven players is basically all we have and all we will continue to get with a 50M/year budget from Redbird. So we as fans and he as coach better get used to it.

    So only he can turn this around because no help is arriving from ownership in the form of new players. Pathetic IMO. So if he’s smart he must integrate these kids – Aster, Thiaw, Poegba, Adli etc…otherwise we will be out of CL and he will be out of a job once again and coaching back to a mid to lower level Italian team. Maybe that is where he ultimately is destined to end up and where his story ends.

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