Pioli names what Milan lacked during draw against Porto and picks apart first half struggles

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli conceded that his side should have done better in the first half against Porto, but insisted the Rossoneri are ready for the derby at the weekend.

Milan went into the game knowing they needed to get their first win on the board to stand a real chance of progressing to the knockout stages but it didn’t come. The Rossoneri were outfought for the opening 45 minutes and trailed to a Luis Diaz goal but Pierre Kalulu’s deflected effort did level the game in the second half, though a winner never came.

Pioli spoke to Amazon Prime Video after the game to reflect on what was a real battle for Milan and one where they did not emerge with the win they needed to keep their European hopes alive.

“We could have done better. We lacked clarity in the choices in the first half: with tall opponents we had to dribble less and seek more depth and when then we made a mistake technically. For the second half I can’t say anything: the team showed determination and we did better,” he said (via MilanNews).

Do Milan deserve to go through?

“To deserve it you have to win the games. Porto are a strong team, the level is very high. In some situations we weren’t as continuous as we should have been for 95 minutes.”

What position should Leao occupy?

“He has to alternate with Theo, sometimes occupying the width and other times the centre. Too many balls, however, were not precise. The boy is growing, but he still needs to expand his knowledge, especially in the choices he makes,” he said.

“I had to throw him in, Rebic’s injury took away my chance to let him rest. Porto have always played a day before us: in a period in which you play 7 games in 21 days, even one more day of rest makes the difference.”

What happened in the first half?

“Merit of Porto and our demerit. We had to pretend to go one side and then go to the other, but we let them guide us. In the second half we got better and their intensity dropped: we could carry the ball and try, when there was their high defensive line.”

What signs were there in view of the derby?

“The signs are positive, the team is fine and we are sorry: we wanted the first victory. We have time to recover: the derby gives you energy. It will be a very difficult match: Inter are the favorites for the title. It is a high-level game and we have the opportunity to play it. Now I’m going to see the Inter game.”

READ MORE: Kalulu rues missed opportunities in Porto draw – “We had chances, but we also lacked a bit of luck”

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli


  1. Pioli failed Milan tonight. This was a must win do or die game and he didn’t put his best 11 on the field. Zlatan and Kessie needed to be starting this game or at the very least brought on much sooner.

      1. agreed. we already had a slim chance to go through in europe anyway. Risking everybody (ibra from the beginning etc.) would have just helped cost us our scudetto hopes.

  2. Am actually happy that Milan didn’t get the win, now we can focus only on Serie A. We should be happy to get UCL exposure after a very very long time. With this experience, we can improve next season. Let’s take it one at a time. First the scudetto and then the entire focus on where we truly belong. We also need to improve strategically. Maybe instead of trying to defend a 1 goal cushion, we should continue to pressure the opponents.

    1. I said this over the weekend, the result doesn’t surprise me. I knew Pioli would throw in Brahim from the start after depriving him of playing time last weekend to warm his legs up at least. He needs to focus on the Scudetto, if he manages Europa, no problem, we carry on from there. It makes no sense loosing ground to our opponents in Serie A chasing shadows. At least he rested Ibra and Kessie that’s a plus going into the weekend, all we need to hope for is none of the players testing out for COVID-19 before the weekend, cause it seems we always have ill luck in that area. We have to understand that we are still an average team reaching for the sky with all we have, and some little bit of luck on our side thus far; Saelemaekers is an average RW, Maldini and his colleagues brought in injured players with the hope that they’d slot right in after recovery, that pretty much insane. Money should have been spent better. Giroud only needs on good chance, but we can’t always keep waiting for one good chance. Ibra is a huge gamble, he is fit this week, and next week he is not, the inconsistency in the CF department is not helping our quest, most times our players have to work extra hard because some areas of the field needs fixing. Well, Average Coach, Average Players, we’ve had some bit of fortune in our games, it’s been a surprising run so far. Milan is all we have. FOCUS ON THE SERIE A. Sempre Milan!!!

      1. Yes, I fully agree with you that Milan should focus on the Scudetto as Inter did last season with Conte. That is why they won. Anyway Milan was not going too far in Champions League because the team is still amateur at playing in Europe. Maybe next season will be better. Honestly, I do not think that Pioli has done that bad as people criticize it. He has actually done quite a lot with this Milan. I do agree that Maldini should look for another RW and CF because the team cannot rely only on those options all the time.

        1. exactly… which other milan coach are they comparing him to? ancelotti? sacchi? capello? why don’t we go back 30 years and see if we can find a good coach. He is the best we have had since allegri. So these people need to just stfu and be happy that the team is doing much better than expected. forza milan!

  3. We need to realise that you can’t buy fouls as easily outside Serie A. It really annoys me that we rely on it in the league but then so do many clubs. Benaccer, Theo and Tonali especially try it much too often – it cost us dearly again tonight and could have done so more than once.

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