Sacchi gives thoughts on Milan’s struggles: “We can’t place all the blame on Pioli”

By Oliver Fisher -

Arrigo Sacchi believes that it is wrong to entirely place blame on Stefano Pioli for the current struggles that AC Milan are enduring in terms of results.

Milan lost 3-2 to Atalanta on Saturday evening in Bergamo to fall nine points behind league leaders Inter and seven behind Juventus in second, with many believing that any hopes of a Scudetto push are now over.

The Rossoneri have been left licking their wounds while a tough trip to Newcastle United awaits in midweek. Only a win will see Milan stay in Europe, though it may not be enough to book a spot in the Champions League knockout stages because they also need Borussia Dortmund to beat PSG.

Sacchi spoke during his usual weekly interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport and he assessed the current moment for the top sides in Italy, including his former club Milan.

The most complicated undertaking, that of Milan who are obliged to win at Newcastle and they know it might not be enough…

“As long as they start winning, then we’ll see. Of course, Borussia Dortmund will have to beat PSG and it won’t be easy, but the most complicated thing seems to me to be Milan winning. I have the confidence, but I don’t want to fool myself.

“Too many times this season, the Rossoneri have not been up to par. I don’t know who is to blame for such inconsistent performance, certainly we can’t place all the blame on Pioli. I know, however, that when you only buy foreigners the settling-in process will be long and tiring.”

Leao will return as starter…

“Good, but the important thing is that Milan returns. Have I made myself clear?”


Tags AC Milan Arrigo Sacchi


  1. “certainly we can’t place all the blame on Pioli. I know, however, that when you only buy foreigners the settling-in process will be long and tiring.”

    So he is blaming Furlani and Moncada.

    1. Pioli, Furlani & Moncada all are to blame here. Pioli isn’t innocent for sure. He approved the players and he keeps playing them out of position and suck the life out of them by not giving any rest.

  2. “Too many times this season, the Rossoneri have not been up to par. I don’t know who is to blame for such inconsistent performance, certainly we can’t place all the blame on Pioli. I know, however, that when you only buy foreigners the settling-in process will be long and tiring.”

    He is right about that, even Spurs have more Italians in the starting eleven than us,

    1. Let’s be real man Sacchi is a proven xenophobic. I don’t even know how many interviews he has given targeting our policy of buying cheap foreign players. But it would still be good thing to buy 1-2 good Italian players.
      I don’t think he would have defended him like this if Pioli was a not Italian.

    2. Everyone can be blamed including Pioli, the management. medical crew. lots of missed chances as well in for example cl falls back on players who probably even themselves would admit their lack of sharpness in front of goal but had they scored against newcastle and dortmund in the first 2 matches we would already be through the group. some of the new acquisitions failing to live up to previous seasons performances.
      Football is a team sport and therefore it doesn’t only fall back on one person but the entire circle of people involved.

      In regard of your and Dokis comments that he dislikes foreigners please elaborate because thats some accusation by both of you. His settling-in comment is by the way spot on.
      In the end it does actually create some coherency within the group of players to have a large amount of locals in a team even if i will agree that the italian market isnt of the same standards as previously.

      1. The fact is that Italians adapt to moving to another city in Italy better than foreigners coming in from another country & cultures. Nothing to do with “hate for foreigners” or bias. Just a simple fact. Even I would admit moving to another country would change my world completely and it would take a long time to adjust.

        1. Fully agree bb, people tend to forget that we are speaking about people who leaves their lives and family and friends behind them to pretty much start from scratch again.
          I tend to believe that there is fewer things that devides us as human beings than connecting us but still culture, language etc still is a huge part of who we are and adjustment will take time.

          1. CDK was a perfect example, a kid never left his mother’s home, club or country, language, culture, playing style, role, then they thought he would come in and be effective? In his early 20s in the most difficult league to adapt to? The champions as well? They had to realize hed need 1 or 2 seasons to make good.

          2. I fully agree chrisp and i was actually very happy about his transfer to us and still like him even though a bit less after this weekends match but yeah a year or two should be expected for him to fully make his stamp.

      2. Absolutely having a home grown core is a huge benefit and that is the main reason those players should be kept.
        His comment about players coming in from other leagues is basic logic. It takes time to get used to life in a new country (language, culture, friends, food etc).
        It also takes time to adapt to a league that is new to you, whether that is EPL or Italy or Spain.

        When you sign 11 players it is always going to take months to integrate and the full season to really Gel as a team

        1. I agree SJF but im also pretty old school myself in the sense that i wouldnt mind that each team around europe wouldnt be allowed to have more than a handfull of foreign players in their teams.
          Absolutely agreeand there is definitey many aspects to consider.

          I dont mind any of the players we brought in but it would be naive to think that anyone would just click from day one and your estimate is probably not far off the truth either.

          1. “I agree SJF but im also pretty old school myself in the sense that i wouldnt mind that each team around europe wouldnt be allowed to have more than a handfull of foreign players in their teams.”

            100% agree.

          2. It gives identity, coherency and also strengths the talent growth of locals who would otherwise slip through so therefore also strengthens the international teams.

        2. it has been months brah. december here. we bought most in june. and for the team bit, it is nowehre in sight, who is to blame for that? The bald one! Its his job to make a team out of 28 guys and he is failing big time

          1. There are various aspects to consider as already pointed out further up by both me and others in this thread and i even said myself that Pioli is also partially to be blamed but so is everyone.

      3. Yeah, so the reason why I said this is that Sacchi has always been critical of our management buying foreign players, he has also been critical of many of our new signings but don’t react the same way when some of our Italian players have a series of bad games. But this is objective in some regards.

        There are some perks of having more domestic players in the team because it is much easier for them to adapt than it might with a foreign player. Milan always had a core of Italian players in the realm, but times have changed now you can build a whole team around foreign players just like what Real Madrid has done.
        It’s just if you are an Italian playing for one of the biggest clubs in your country, it’s always a different feeling, you always feel accustomed to the place you live in.
        In some aspects Sacchi is right, but other he is completely wrong.

        1. I disagree that he demands higher standards from foreigners than Italians but even if he did i wouldn’t blame him either because those who joins from abroad should be able to offer more or have a higher ceiling of talent than the locals otherwise they are just taking their jobs away from them.

          Regardless of different times i would always prefer us having maybe 66-75% of our players being Italian and im not even Italian myself. I get that Italian players are more expensive compared to equal talents from abroad and therefore i can accept the lack of them in the team…..for now, but definitely not in the long run.

          1. It’s so bloody obvious that an Italian team with Italian core would have better team spirit and a random group of people gathered from all over the world with everyone with their own cultural things & habits.

            Just look at Inter.

    3. its bs. Pulisić has done well, so has ruben until the injury. Tijani has been a bit in and out but that has more to do with the whole team struggling and not of his poor adapting to a new league and higher lvl. Musah has done well, he is still very young, turned 21 less than 2 weeks ago. The only one who really has a hard time if i can call it that is Chuchuchuky. Okafor has done ok for his 400 minutes on the pitch. So idk why he could single out foreigners , that is not the issue Milan has. I’d also like to see them get players familiar with serie a but we cant go pointing fingers now, ‘eh, these foreigners, man’.. they not settling in fast enough… its rubish

      1. Coherency is the word and to be fair the only one who has actually stood out as of yet is Pulisic there rest has had ups and downs and that is also down to them partially but sure Pioli has part of the blame as well.

        1. well if we look at the whole team, who has stood out? Tomori maybe, Giroud and thats about it.. they’re foreigners tho 😀 😀

          1. Yeah but they have been there for several years and gelled with the team and lived the culture so what you are saying becomes a moot point.
            I never said that foreigners couldn’t become successes which they obviously can but it can be expected that they will take some time to adjust nevertheless, a minority of them will step right in and become successfull right away though but a lot of them wont. It didnt make it easier that half the team had been swapped either.
            When that is said I am nevertheless of the view that there is a good fundament for success with the crop f players we have and with a few marquee additions on top of it.

          2. Yes flying turtle I do agree with you on most of your comments…Yes Giroud and tomori have been very successful….that said said tomori the last couple of games he has struggled a little ,.by virtue of playing out of his favoured position…The reason we are struggling at the moment is lack of togetherness as a team ,..but that is very understandable given the injury that we have had to contend with …The reason is simply that we have no option but to play players in unfamiliar positions and that leads to confusion on the pitch …
            Yes pulisic has done well ,but last game not at his best .
            Loftus cheek does well ,,but does seem to be injury prone .chukwazee has unfortunately been a complete flop so far .We must not blame poili for what’s happened,,,and I am sure our form will turn around soon .
            So let’s remain positive…We are not a bad team .

  3. “I know, however, that when you only buy foreigners the settling-in process will be long and tiring”

    Sacchi didn’t get the memo that we’re more European now? Lol 😂 (btw I didn’t have a dog in the race when it comes to Italian vs non-italians)

    1. TBF, we never focused on the domestic league to begin with, our focus has always been the Champions League. Like, the club isn’t even founded by an Italian.

  4. Just ban Milan from football, and blame Pioli for everything including the wars that are going on and covid as well, that’ll make people here happy

  5. The issue of an Italian core, how quickly players take to settle, etc are all anecdotal, there is nothing empirical about these claims. What makes a team is having the right tactics for the right kind of players at your disposal. These are not bad players, but any coach needs the right mix of players for the system he wants to play. So if the team is not performing then maybe we should ask if Pioli got the right type of player for what he wants to play. So you have 3 options
    1. Give him the players he wants
    2. He adapts his tactics around his players at his disposal (very few coaches are willing to do this).
    3. Fire him and get another coach

    No one will convince me that Okafor, Chuck, Tijji were not performing where they came from. So why knock the players and their ability to adapt which leaves us with another option
    4. Give them time, give all of them time to gel. This is a luxury we don’t have unfortunately…

    1. If you were referring to my comments then i wasn’t trying to knock the players and actually likes the incoming players we acquired this summer but simply stated that all has a part in our failures and blame isn’t only for one to take but the entire hierachy.
      Coherency is a thing though and if players joins from a different league there is a greater chance that they will take longer to settle-in because unless they already speak and understand the language and culture of said country they will generally need more time to settling-in. That’s a simple fact.
      When that is said i do think you have some good points from 1-4 which are valid assessments.

      1. …if players joins from a different league there is a greater chance that they will take longer to settle-in…

        Point 4 speaks to this concern of yours. This is the hand of cards we were dealt with this mercato, so either we deal with it or lump it…otherwise fire the coach. I don’t think your concern invalidates my assessment…

        1. Thats fair enough but you dont think language wise it leaves some potential for misunderstandings inbetween players or coach and players ? Also leaving family and friends behind to start a new life in a new setting is also potentially can set up some road bumps to climb early on at a new club ?`They are humans after all.

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