Pioli slams penalty call and praises Milan players: “We put Atalanta in difficulty”

By Isak Möller -

After the game between AC Milan and Atalanta, which finished 1-1, Stefano Pioli spoke to the media and shared his thoughts on the performance. He also had his say on the penalty call, as well as the MOTM display of Rafael Leao. 

Milan dominated most of the game and also created several good chances to claim all three points. However, the questionable penalty decision ended up being decisive, though at least the Rossoneri kept Atalanta at a seven-point distance for now.

Speaking to DAZN after the game, as cited by MilanNews, Pioli shared his thoughts on the performance and what the Rossoneri could have done better. He also commented on the penalty that was given to Atalanta which, as said, was decisive in the end.

On the penalty awarded to Atalanta…

“Too little, for two reasons: Holm put his hands to his face, but that’s not where the contact was. Which is not good in itself. And then, Orsato [the referee] also believed the contact wasn’t enough. It’s not enough, Oli [Giroud] didn’t do anything, then he put his hands to his face… Well done to them for getting the referee to look again. A shame.”

Today, Milan almost always attacked with five men. Were those two points lost?

“To deserve to win, you have to score one more goal than your opponent and we didn’t manage to do that. It was my Milan’s best match against Atalanta. We put them in difficulty, they didn’t have a shot on goal. It’s a shame we didn’t win, best performance of the week. So many positive things, not the result, but I think we deserved the victory.”

The movements in midfield…

“We wanted parity in both phases, with Adli having to watch out for Koopmeiners. They have a unique way of being on the pitch, we had to slide with the defender on one side to play 2-on-2 with the full-back. Yacine, in that position, gave us cover in the centre. The three attackers worked with the right intensity, which favoured the duels of our defenders.”

On the team’s form…

“I believe that lately, we have had this approach very often here. Unfortunately, we made a mistake with our performance in Monza. I also heard a lot of negative comments about Thursday, we had to manage a clear advantage and I think we did it well.

“Unfortunately, we are conceding penalties from all sides. Some naivety on our part and, in my opinion, some exaggeration in the referees’ assessments. Now let’s think about the next one, Atalanta-Lazio-Empoli and Verona, plus the double match in Europe. They will say a lot about our season.”

On Leao’s great game…

“He had his best performance of the season in terms of consistency. He has always had his moments, but this evening he made them with important continuity and with an excellent job in the defensive phase. It all comes from him and his mentality.”

Did Milan boost the confidence tonight?

“It must be like this, we played a high-level match, with a technical and mental attitude. It must give us strength because the next few weeks will be challenging.”

Will you support Inter or Atalanta on Wednesday?

“Right now, we have to think about stabilizing third place and trying to catch up to Juventus. Now the cups are coming for the other teams too except for Juventus, difficulties will come for everyone.”

Reijnders’ condition…

“He has no physical problems. Between him and Adli, Tijj had played the whole match on Thursday evening and I believed that Adli’s characteristics were more suitable for tonight.”

The Rossoneri will take on Lazio next and that game is scheduled for Friday evening, which is a rather unusual kick-off slot. In any case, three points are needed to continue to put pressure on Juventus, who will face Napoli next time out.

Tags AC Milan Atalanta Stefano Pioli


  1. “Holm put his hands to his face, but that’s not where the contact was. Which is not good in itself.”

    Ha ha 😂. You have Theo, Calabria( both captains) doing the same thing all the time. You had Tonali. Stop it.
    This is the hypocrisy I’m talking about.
    Don’t complain for things your players do when they are done against you.
    Embellishing fouls, flopping, acting, trying to fool the ref is part of football and sport in general.
    Instead of crying work with your players to be more disciplined in those situations. Just like Jovic and Leao penalties over the last few weeks because they are waiving their arms in the penalty area.

    1. You just run through his statements to find a quick out-of-context line you can use support your warped view. You should do better you hateful fellow.

  2. “We put Atalanta in difficulty.” This is how his mentality is. It is mid-table mentality. With the squad you have, you are happy with only giving Atalanta difficulty? I don’t want this kind of mentality becoming a norm for Milan. Not from the coach, not from the board, and worst from the fan. No please, no. Get rid of this coach next season. I know Conte is troublesome but at least he aims high.

    1. Isn’t the point to outplay your opponent? We did that 100%. Did we get the result, no. Sometimes that happens. But we were 100% the better team. Isn’t that the mentality you need to have? To be better than your opponent?

      Not sure what you expect.

      1. what Jancuk mean, give opponent trouble is not enough, must win the game! if it’s lose/ draw don’t make excuse like “we give them difficulty/ we outplay them in 60mnt/ 75mnt/ else” that’s not big club mentality.
        play better (esp vs lower quality squad) no result, sometime is ok but if it’s often (like Pioli) it’s not ok.

    2. Not a big fan of pioli, but he was right to say it. Atalanta, is no small team by any means. They are serious top 4 contenders and in a hot form. So to say that we put them in difficulty is perfectly normal for any big team.

  3. The ghost in this team is consistency, we play good this time but in the next game who knows. Every now and then every big team in the world suffer a defeat but they comeback to become a winner again but in this milan now is more harder because wen still lack a champion mentality in many aspect

  4. Again what he said has nothing in common with reality….
    We possess the ball and what?? We were not able to create chances.
    If we wanr to be 3-4 teams in Seria A then yes mr Piole exactly what we need to made difficulties for teams below 4 place

  5. All and all, it was a good match against Atalanta. Solid performance from all players, especially first half Adli. But we should have created more chances

    1. Adli’s passing was delightful. That one curvy ball to Bennacer… What a beauty. Too bad it didn’t curve enough as it would have been a stellar assist.

  6. A good performance, can’t fault them for that, the biggest challenge is building on it, and that’s where we have come up short throughout the season. I am super excited to see Adli explode one day…there is something in that boy…thoroughly enjoyed his game. I love that alternative runs that Musah brings to the game, he must just learn to put some purpose to that madness.

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