We recently interviewed the well-known Sky Italia journalist Manuele Baiocchini, who shared his thoughts on various topics regarding AC Milan including Stefano Pioli’s future and potential transfer activity.
It should be noted that the interview was carried out before the game against Udinese and was released first on our Substack, which you can try free for seven days.
In addition to the start of the season, Baiocchini spoke about the upcoming January window and what is expected from Milan mercato-wise. He also touched on the position of Stefano Pioli, who has been heavily criticised lately.
How do you judge the start to the season that Milan have had, with the seven wins tainted by poor results in Europe and in head-to-head games?
“In the league it was a good start because Milan, in the first 10 games, faced five big names in Italian football. And three of these five matches were played away against Roma, Inter and Napoli.
“All that remains for them to face is Atalanta, one of the great teams in Italy. And therefore they will have a softer calendar and the possibility of scoring more points in the last nine games of the first round. This is why I consider Milan’s progress in the league to be positive.
“In the Champions League they could certainly have done more. Two points and zero goals scored are too few, despite the difficulty of the group.”
Do you expect Milan to be active in the January mercato, and what will the priorities be next summer?
“For January Pioli asked for a central defender and I believe one will arrive given that the department is in full emergency after the injuries of Kalulu and Pellegrino, as well as that of Caldara. For the summer, the big objective will be to sign a starting centre-forward.”
Pioli continues to enjoy the confidence of the management and ownership, at what point do you think that could change? Will there be reflections at the end of the season?
“Coaches are always under scrutiny. Pioli, like others. When you coach a big club you are aware that you can never feel sure you can stay on that bench for the whole season.
“A few lost or bad games are enough for even the most successful coach to risk being sacked.”
Do you believe Milan as a team are stronger or weaker than last season, factoring in also the new tactical approach of the 4-3-3?
“I believe that Milan are much stronger than last year. Tonali has left but many players of great value have arrived. Pioli has many more choices than last year and much more quality in the squad.”
What would constitute a successful season for the Rossoneri? Is winning a trophy a requirement?
“The minimum requirement would be to finish in the top four again to participate in the super Champions League next year. Then it is clear that this cannot be enough for a club as important as Milan.
“It would be important to keep their level high in Europe and even winning the Coppa Italia would allow the club to savour a great success after the Scudetto.”