Pioli reveals why he changed Milan’s system to a 4-2-3-1; praises impact of Ibrahimovic

By Oliver Fisher -

Stefano Pioli has lifted the lid on why he chose to change AC Milan’s system, and described the impact Zlatan Ibrahimovic has made since arriving.

There have been a marked improvement in performances under Pioli since his arrival in October, when he took over from Marco Giampaolo who lasted just seven games in charge.

The general consensus is that Pioli was brought in to stabilise between then and the end of the current season, and that is what he has done to a large extent.

Nonetheless, speculation regarding his future at Milan continues, with a number of different outlets believing that CEO Ivan Gazidis and the club’s owners Elliott Management wish to go in a new director by appointing Ralf Rangnick as Pioli’s successor this summer.

Pioli spoke during a video call (from home) on the MyAiac website, the platform of the Italian Coaches Association, and his words were transcribed by MilanNews.

“My team must play a football that dictates and that does not allow itself to be dictated to,” he began.

“With the 4-3-3 we played excellent games, commanding the game as we want to do. But at some point there was a lack of quality in wide players, we didn’t have the chance to have a positive one on one.

“And then the arrival of an offensive player like Ibrahimovic led me to change my situation and move on to 4-2-3-1. No system guarantees you victory but making the best use of the characteristics of the players is very important for every coach. Rebic? He returned from the Christmas break in excellent mental and physical conditions.”

“Ibrahimovic wins all duels. I put Zlatan on the first line, the one closest to the goalkeeper, on the front post. Our commitment -mine and the staff – is to create a method of work that allows players to assimilate as much knowledge and skills as possible, and put them into a game organization, where the individual talent is strengthened and enhanced.”

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli Zlatan Ibrahimovic