Pioli reflects on Milan’s issues and admits Rennes tie was ‘more difficult than we thought’

By Isak Möller -

After the clash between AC Milan and Stade Rennes, which ended 3-2 in favour of the French side, Stefano Pioli spoke to the media and shared his thoughts on the performance. Of course, thanks to the aggregate score, they are through to the next round. 

As the game got underway, Milan almost acted like the tie was decided already and perhaps this is what gave Rennes enough fuel to score three goals. The Rossoneri certainly could have made life easier for themselves, squandering a few good chances, but they clearly played on the result.

Speaking to MilanTV after the game, as cited by MilanNews, Pioli shared his thoughts on Milan’s issues on both ends of the pitch. He admitted that the Rossoneri should have been more effective and also briefly touched on the upcoming Atalanta clash.

On the approach of Rennes…

“They had to do something to recover. We expected something different to what we saw in Milano. They left us a lot of space. A difficult match and a more difficult qualification than we thought. Good to have advanced, the defeat less so.”

On the problems in defence and attack…

“We had the opportunity to score a few more goals. We could have been more effective with our counter-attacks, as well as more solid in the defensive phase.”

On the cost of playing European tournaments…

“Playing in the Europa League, we all know what it means. We will recover our energy and give the best possible performance against Atalanta.”

On the possible opponent in the Round of 16…

“They are all strong, we expect difficult matches. If you want to go all the way, whoever arrives will be difficult. But whoever gets us will not be happy either.”

Do you place Milan among the favourites for the Europa League?

“We want to try, it’s clear. We were going through a positive moment in the league and then we were brought to a halt on Sunday. But we want to confirm our positive trend and catch up with those in front of us, especially Juventus.”

On Leao…

“It’s clear that he’s a decisive player, and he’s important even when he doesn’t score. Tonight’s goal was key for him as he had missed a few chances, leaving this match without scoring would probably have been a shame. I’m very happy with his attitude. He’s a strong player who must work and continue to believe in himself.”

Subbing off Leao and Pulisic changed your level. Do the subs lower Milan’s quality?

“Even with Pulisic and Leao, we suffered and conceded goals. I don’t think I only have 11 starters, I have a strong group with important players who are ready. Monza went badly but now let’s think about the next one.”

On Jovic…

“Unfortunately, he committed a serious and naive mistake on Sunday. He has great qualities. He knows how to be composed inside the area and how to help the team. We can also play with the two strikers, he and Giroud would definitely be a great duo. He’s doing well but must continue to demand a lot from himself to demonstrate that he can be a Milan player.”

Atalanta are up next and that game is scheduled for 20:45 CET on Sunday. After the defeat against Monza last time out, Milan need to bounce back with a win especially since the Bergamo side are just seven points behind as things stand.

Tags AC Milan Stade Rennes Stefano Pioli


  1. Absolutely harder than it had to be. But it’s again down to the same defensive problems we had all season.

    Back line doesn’t close down opposing players soon enough allowing them to take shots on goal.

    Getting caught in transition because Pioli prefers man marking instead of zonal marking.

    Players not suited for defensive roles like Reijnders, RLC for example. That comes with time. Bennacer not 100% (I thought) and lack of a pure DM to come off the bench to tidy up games.

    The bench needs to contribute more. Hasn’t been very effective aside from Jovic’s contributions and occasional OK4 goals.

    Hopefully we can address all these issues in the summer.

    1. For me, our issue against Rennes was mostly a lack of midfield coverage. Every time Rennes went forward they easily reached the box. This midfield cannot dominate top teams, and even average serie a level teams on a bad day. We’re in dire need of a defensive minded midfielder.

  2. The truth is glaring, the penalties were good ones, but the set up and line up of the team was bad, Pioli does not understand that you need to change your tactics and formations depending on the opponent, yesterday’s line up gave Rennes the chance to run at us, even positioning Bennacer on the right of the midfield was a mistake, we should have had him on the left, Musa in the middle and Reinders on the right, or better yet use another midfielder , so that we play a 442, block all the channels, play with 2 strikers, hit them on the counter,we got alot of chances on the counter, Pioli should leave at the end of the season

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