Tuttosport: From ‘The Normal One’ to ‘The Transformist’ – Pioli’s journey with Milan

By Isak Möller -

Four years ago to the day, AC Milan hired Stefano Pioli as their new head coach after parting ways with Marco Giampaolo. It has been a successful journey for the club under the management of ‘The Normal One’. 

That nickname was coined even before Pioli joined the Rossoneri, but was brought to life when he signed for the club. Now, however, he has become ‘The transformist’ according to today’s edition of Tuttosport (via MilanNews).

During his time at Milan, in fact, Pioli has shown that he’s capable of switching formations. Just this season, he has used a 4-3-3, a 3-4-3, a 4-2-3-1 and most recently a 4-2-4 towards the end of the game against Genoa.

We haven’t even mentioned the 3-5-2 that was used at the start of the year to regain defensive stability. In short, Pioli has been bold enough to experiment with the team and change the formation based on the opponents. That’s why, as the newspaper states, he is now ‘The transformist’.

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli


  1. A squad with Leao, Theo, Pulisic, Tomori, Maignan must do better in SerieA. A great squad managed by an average tactically inferior coach, Thats Milan right now.

  2. What do you mean must do better .
    We are doing very well ..you must be watching the wrong team ..we will win the scuddeto this season .
    Pioli deserves credit ..

      1. he needs to win every game or hes a failure basically…which coachs are undefeated this year? Those are the only options…

  3. I feel like he is a bit on a decline (perhaps stuborness and a bit of arrogance ?) since the 21/22 compaign (like it’s not only players who have primes and declines, even coaches are not the same after a while, just watch Mourinho).
    In 21/22, he did rotates just enough to enough overly fatigue starters but not too much to lose cohesion of the team. He did give chances to young players, didn’t lose points against big teams and that eventually paid of.
    But every since then, I feel he become more stubborn, refuses to adapt, doesn’t change even a tactic has been proven wrong, doesn’t know how to rotate,…
    but that’s just my opinion.

    1. How you can claim Pioli is stubborn and refused to adapt when this season he changed the formation from 4231 to 433 (and one match with 343).

      Like seriously, did you even watch Milan before this season???

      1. He did use 3-4-3 because injuries made him do so. When he first came he used a 4-3-3 but then switched to a 4-2-3-1 for Kessie, Hakan and Bennacer (2 of which are no longer here).
        Stuborness is not only about formation.
        And yes, I’ve watching Milan for more than a decade.

        1. Giga94 As the article points out he has used several different formations and to add to that in regard of rotation he has this season fielded 23 players of 29 where one is 17 (bartesaghi) and an 18 year old romero. Of the remaining 6 players who hasnt played, there is 2 goalkeepers who never was bound to play, 1 at the very best mediocre defender in caldara, an unused new defender in pellegrino, an injured midfiedler in bennacer and a promoted primavera player in traore and we have only played a combined ten matches and you think pioli doesnt rotate enough, seriously get real.

          1. As I said in other posts of mine, he either doesn’t rotate enough or too much (although this season, he overall did fine). For example, last season if you remember, in a game against Bologna, only Maignan was a regular, he played Touré, Thiaw, Kalulu, Florenzi, Pobega, Vranckx, Rebic, CDK, Saele and Origi, that’s too much.
            You named Bartesaghi and Romero, but both of those we subbed in during the last quarter of the game.
            Again, formation and rotation are not the only things. Pioli in an Interview with Il Nuovo Calcio on his Milan match strategy:
            “Strategy for us means that we study the opponent in depth,we evaluate what he offers us in terms of spaces to exploit,where we can create numerical superiorities, and we prepare the match. It doesn’t mean that we adapt to who we face”, here he does admit that he doesn’t adapt to whom he faces, what more do you want ?
            In our last games vs inter, and even vs Genoa,… you could see patterns that don’t seem to have been corrected, particularly on how the team transitions when losing possession, during counterrattacks,… AC Milan is also not scoring well enough from set pieces, which is an area that is still lacking.
            So I stay by what I said, Pioli is undoubtedly the best coach we had since Allegri, he did well especially in the 21/22 compaign, but his tactics are still lacking.

        2. No he can still used 433 if he wants to. But he showed the willing to adapt with the situation.

          And while it’s not just about formation but changing formation is very crucial which can heavily affect how a team play. It’s a perfect example that proof your claim about stubbornes and refused to adapt is false.

          I’m even amazed that Pioli are willing to used multiple formations considering before this season he got pretty limited resources on his disposal where his starter are solid but not with his backup players.

    2. you are misrepresenting what he is saying. He likes pep and positional play. Creating numerical, qualitative or positional advantages in order to progress the ball. He studies opponents so that he can find places where it is easiest to create those advantages. Shifting the roles of players to best take advantage. While everyone talks about formations, 433s are a template. it can look like a 4231or a 424 on defense but its the role of each player in each scenario that matters. To me that is the best way to adjust tactics and adapt to your opponent.

        1. You knows nothing about anything because your parents couldn’t teach you respect. Its their fault not yours. I pity you for having a bad childhood. But still there is time if you want to correct yourself. And I will decide what I do. Cricket or football or tennis its my choice, you are none other than an online keyboard warrior. Good for nothing, a huge loser, sad life..

          1. Lol pappu, you talk about respect when you doesn’t even showed any respect to Pioli on your comment.

            You need a mirror pappu 🤣

  4. Meh. Something about him still rubs me the wrong way but as long as we are winning ill keep it to myself.
    Most of his “transformations” bear little fruit tho

  5. Pioli has done well overall, but his coaching ceiling isn’t that high. Some of his in game management is questionable (which is normal). But more importantly the fact that he can’t figure out Inzaghi is a glaring problem. Sure it’s possible to win the league without ever having to beat Inter, but getting PTSD from each Inter fixture is ABNORMAL.

    Sooner or later we will need an upgrade on Pioli.

    1. I’m sure Pioli already figured out Inzaghi since he managed to beat him a couple of times including last season where we won 3-2 at the first match or back in 19th scudetto year where we won 2-1 with Giroud scored two goals.

      Next derby i’m sure the outcome will be different.

      1. his record against inzaghi since this one took inter is 2 wins, 2 draws and 6 losses (5 of which were consecutive). In the last 5 derbies, we conceeded 12 goals and only scored once. In 10 derbies, inter scored in 9 of them.
        It seems that it’s inzaghi that has figured out pioli more than the opposite.
        Like I was supporter of pioli before the derby, I always defended him giving the lack of depth our team suffered from these last seasons, coupled with the injuries. But now, it seems clearer that he has to take part of the blame as well.

        1. You must have a hard boner huh talking about your bf Inzaghi 🤮

          And sure it’s not a good record. But at least Pioli gave scudetto for Milan while Inzaghi only won tin trophies that no one gives a sh*t 🤣

          1. that’s the most annoying part, like inzaghi is not even a great coach and pioli made him look like a genius.
            For your first phrase, try to debate like an adult and use childish comment

    2. De Zerbi please! Gotta give some praise to Pioli for what he has done but I agree that his ceiling isn’t that high and so we need a coach that will take us to that next stage and I believe De Zerbi is that guy. Forza Milan Sempre

    3. Pioli is a pep guy and i dont blame him. I like the tactics a lot. The thing is, Inter has mastered playing that system and even outplayed city for much of the final…there are adjustment to make but how far do you go when its working against every other team. PSG has lost twice this year to Nice and Newcastle who both play the 433…

      Hire some assistant to spend every day studying inter and creating a model. But otherwise…maybe just no press next time.

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