The psychology of a crisis and how AC Milan can bounce back after recent setbacks

By Oliver Fisher -

It can be challenging for football teams to bounce back after a loss, or worse – a series of defeats. For instance, Milan are facing a make-or-break situation in the season. After they suffered two losses – one to Atalanta and the other to arch-rivals Inter – their morale fell.

All of this is happening as they face a season in which they have to fight to retain their spot in the top four. With a fresh and youthful team in place; it has to show it can bounce back!

What is the best approach to damage control in such a scenario? What can Stefano Pioli do to give his team the boost they need to stay on top? Here are a few things to consider if you wonder what an A-listed team does to turn a setback into a victory.     

Knowing how to bounce back is vital for managers and players alike. This information is also useful for those interested in following soccer and wagering on the sport. Along with information on sites like, this knowledge can help soccer betting enthusiasts detect when teams look set to make a comeback after defeats.

Management must model composure

After a setback, emotions can run high. Managers need to set an example by modelling composure for their players. A visibly angry and frustrated manager will make their players feel worse about their performance. Such an approach will not create a focused and winning mindsets among the team. Managers must take the time to cool down and calmly reflect on the game to learn the lessons.

After the 3-0 defeat against Atalanta, Pioli stood in front of the media with a realistic statement. Even though the Rossoneri are top, he could identify mistakes made by the players in and around the opponent’s box. They did not play with enough quality, and their opponents defence was organised.

That cold-headed and realistic approach to defeat gave Pioli the chance to evaluate what to do in the future. Also, he does not feel the need to call out team members; he speaks as if mistakes where made in their collective performance.

Rebuild confidence

Defeat inevitably knocks confidence amongst players, which shows in the team’s performance. Taking action to rebuild confidence quickly is key to bouncing back. Positivity is essential when rebuilding confidence. There are many strategies for confidence-building – these are just a few examples:

➤ Consider previous successes and how to better them
➤ Look at inspirational stories about other teams bouncing back
➤ Focus on positive language and attitude
➤ Visualise success
➤ Consider what can be done differently next time, rather than dwelling on the past

Turn failure into success

Mistakes are a necessary learning curve to build upon and improve. Setbacks can be turned into a positive event when viewed this way. They allow teams to analyse their play and figure out what needs to improve.

After the crushing defeat to Atalanta, Milan suffered another tough defeat to Inter in which Ibrahimović got a red card. Even though they won against Bologna on the 30th, it is not much to boast about since Bologna last won a match ten games ago and haven’t beaten Milan since 2016.

It seems that the Italian giants have a lot to contend with this season. How will they turn their failure into success?   

Focus on teamwork

Studies show that social support is a crucial factor in recovering from setbacks. Players can blame themselves – or each other – for actions they took or did not take that lead to a defeat. Supporting one another, and recovering from setbacks as a team, is vital for future success.

Pioli should use this situation to build a stable and resilient team that can weather the negative press that comes with setbacks. Players should believe in one another and the team – this should be evident on and off the pitch.

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