Pioli opens up after Udinese defeat: “It means the manager has done a bad job”

By Isak Möller -

After the defeat to Udinese, Stefano Pioli spoke to the media and he had some difficult questions to answer. AC Milan have struggled big time in 2023 and a top-four finish is now at risk. 

The Rossoneri have won just four of the 12 games in 2023 and the issues are evident. Up front, they can’t seem to find the back of the net and the defence has been too inconsistent, being especially poor this evening.

Speaking to Sky Italia, as cited by MilanNews, Pioli admitted that such a poor performance can only be blamed on the manager. He said that Milan simply weren’t prepared enough for the clash and that’s certainly true.

On the game…

“Bad game. When a team plays a match like this, only halfway, we weren’t precise or attentive or intense, it means the manager has done a bad job in preparing for the match. A performance that was too poor for our level.”

The difficulties of the double commitment…

“It would be serious if we are already thinking about the quarter-finals. Reaching top four is essential for us, in the last few league games we’ve dropped too much, and when you go down you risk having these matches.”

Disappointed or worried? 

“Definitely disappointed with our work, we achieved too little in the league. There are always worries, we have to take advantage of the break to raise our level. We didn’t interpret the match well tonight.”

Is there a connection between the change of formation and the offensive drought of the last few weeks? 

“I believe that in the other games, we have conceded little and created more. Tonight we struggled, it was difficult to be dangerous. With Rebic and Krunic we moved back to 4-2-3-1, but too many times we talk about formations when it comes to intensity and many other things that we haven’t been able to put on the field.”

On Leao…

“I asked him to be incisive, to be a striker. Sometimes he’s been too far from the goal. It’s not a question of struggling, it’s just that when he gets few balls he tends to lower himself: he can’t take the ball so far from the goal and then dribble past 5-6 players. We try to put him closer to the goal. We must all do better.”

Do you evaluate a return to the past and to the 4-2-3-1 during the break? 

“We can go back, we will evaluate everything. It will also depend on our conditions and the positions of the opponents. We will do whatever it takes to get back to playing the football we like best and are capable of playing. Too many things didn’t work tonight.”

Did you expect these steps backwards? 

“No, absolutely no. Because there were no signs of a drop in tensions or other difficult technical-tactical situations. We prepare the game to always have advantages in certain situations. We started poorly and ended up worse. We must and I will have to work better to keep my players more concentrated.”

However, the decline comes after qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Champions League…

“If we think like this, then it becomes difficult to play in the league. It’s clear that we cannot win the league again, but we want to win this mini championship of the teams fighting for a place in the Champions League. I train a very responsible team, we will be able to analyze the mistakes and we will field different performances because we certainly want to do better in the league.”

Milan are currently in 4th place with 48 points but could drop out of the Champions League zone tomorrow. If Roma were to win the derby against Lazio, then that will become reality. It’s a tough time for Pioli’s men, in other words.

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli Udinese


    1. 🤣 and the final stage of his Milan career, hopefully. But I feel Maldini won’t fire him because he won the Scudetto last season. Then next year when we are struggling in 7th place, the owners will force him out, but it will be too late to save the season.

  1. Then fix that godawful style of play. I promise you that if he approch the quater finals with that same level of predictablity we are going to get a result wrost than what napoli gave Frankfurt.

  2. Too early to fire him, as awful as we’ve been we are still in UCL and are recent Serie A champions.

    Behind the scenes board needs to line up De Zerbi, maybe not this summer but for 2024. We can get him from Brighton but after he moves to a big PL club it will become too expensive.

  3. If anyone really thinks that De Zerbi, Conte or anyone else for that matter is going to do much better than Pioli with Rebic, Tatarusanu, De Ketelaere, Origi, Pobega, Ballo Toure and Krunic as the only options on the bench to change a match and create competition for the starters when they’re slacking around, I don’t know what you’re on, but I want some of it. I haven’t even mentioned that all the creative weight of the starter XI relies on Brahim Díaz, and Salaemakers and Messias are still to this day the best we have on the right. Add to that, the amount of injuries we have throughout a season, every season, is ridiculous. De Zerbi or Conte will drop out of this mad house before Winter break. The ownership made a huge mistake not investing a penny in the Winter break when everybody knew this was coming. They didn’t even care to buy a new goalkeeper knowing damn well that Maignan was seriously injured and that there were better and very affordable options available, how many points Tatarusanu alone cost us when Maignan was out. Now it’s easy to blame Pioli for this situation and I’m not saying he doesn’t have his share of responsibility, of course he does, but he is by no means the man to blame now.

  4. The Milan game lack compactness that’s why they suffer. The Hotspurs game is our reference point and if we cant play like that we will suffer. Teams are having a field day slicing through them, hence the many goals we are letting in. And why the coach can fix this glaring weakness is beyond me.

  5. This Milan is losing it edge because of our Mr Pioli himself,I don’t think the team believes in him anymore because he himself doesn’t believe in some certain member of the team like the new comers(Adli,Vrancks, and some other old ones rotten on the bench).I mean before the beginning of this season I was salivating the fact that new Zidane (Adli) is coming but if you don’t believe in your bench,how do you tend to encourage drive or competition in team since the first team knew already they gonna play every match no matter the outcome of the previous match.He deploys the starting eleven until injury or suspension keep them out and now he’s excusing their lacklustre display on Champions League Quarter Finals reach.I am disappointed in Mr Pioli because before anyone believed in him I did albeit after Maldini and Massara but what he’s done this season had undone his work of three years because he allowed the success of winning the Serie A Championship to enter his head little wonder he couldn’t unlock CDK,Adli etc and I strongly believe Mr Pioli has lost his touch and he should be relieved of his duties in Milan by the end of this disastrous season.This season remind of Giampaolo few months spent in Milan and I think Mr Pioli need to go back to drawing board and fix what he destroyed by himself, redeem himself, salvage this season on top 4 note and he might just be considered for continuation as Milan’s manager.What I can see from where I stand is that Mr Pioli is a proud man who believes he has etched his name into folklore of football history who believe he doesn’t need Milan for sustainability as jobs will find him but so are other hungry managers out there like Flicks of Germany who need redemption.Thank you.

  6. To give him a little piece of defence, he has never got a good squad to compete with. The management hasn’t delivered after winning a league. Yes he does deserve flak for not being able to take the most out of CDK and Origi.

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