Pioli: “We deserved to win, this match shows Milan can play proactive and attacking football, there were a lot of positives but we have to kill games off”

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Stefano Pioli during Milan-Lecce at Stadio San Siro on October 20, 2019. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

Stefano Pioli has stated ‘we are angry and disappointed, but we have to build on this performance because there were a lot of positives to work on’ after the draw against Lecce last night.

Pioli’s 54th birthday celebrations were ruined on Sunday night in the 92nd minute as Marco Calderoni unleashed a fantastic strike to the back to Gianluigi Donnarumma’s net to make it Milan 2-2 Lecce at the final whistle of the referee.

It was Stefano’s first game in charge of the Rossoneri, and for 45 minutes, the fans saw the best Milan of the season: Pioli started with an attacking trident of Suso, Rafael Leão and Hakan Çalhanoğlu, and it was the Turkish – together with left-back Theo Hernández – who ran the show. Leão had two excellent early chances which he missed, but the goal arrived in the 20′ minute, after Lucas Biglia found Çalhanoğlu who made a great run and then finished it with a terrific goal.

Hakan Çalhanoğlu at the end of Milan-Lecce at Stadio San Siro on October 20, 2019. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

The Diavolo had their chances to increase the lead, but were wasteful in front of goal. In the second half, Lecce were a lot of organized and Milan seemed to have taken their foot off the gas for no reason whatsoever. They paid dearly for it. In the 60′ minute, Andrea Conti touched the ball with his hand in the box. Lecce were awarded a penalty, Khouma Babacar’s shot was saved by Donnarumma, but the former Fiorentina striker got on the rebound and equalized the score.

Pioli brought on Krzysztof Piątek for Leão in the 67′ minute, and in the 81′ minute, the Polish striker finally found the back of the net again. Çalhanoğlu, the Man of the Match, provided a sublime assist for the ex-Genoa man, who couldn’t miss. However, this was not enough for Milan to win the game, as they made a lot of mistakes in the last minutes and Calderoni’s goal took the win away.

Gianluigi Donnarumma at the end of Milan-Lecce at Stadio San Siro on October 20, 2019. (@acmilan.com)

“In the first half, we were more balanced and better ordered in terms of ideas and positions we’d planned on,” Pioli told MilanTV at the end of the match. “In the second half, we lost cohesion and misread some situations when not in possession: like when to press and when to wait, we were less precise in that. That allowed Lecce, in certain situations, to put us under pressure. On the other hand, we never stopped attacking and creating good chances in attack, we shot on goal 20 times. It’s a pity that following a generous performance and one of good quality, in my opinion, and with the right attitude we weren’t able to win. We are angry and disappointed, but we have to build on this performance because there were a lot of positives to work on.

“The team? On Saturday, I tried to hide my curiosity because the squad hadn’t trained much with only a few players available. In the end, we only had two complete training sessions to prepare for this match. So, I clearly didn’t know exactly what to expect from my team. I’ve been pleasantly surprised, even though there are clearly some difficulties over the course of matches which we need to read better, get to know each other better and do so as quickly as possible. But I think this match shows Milan can play a certain type of football, a proactive and attacking type of football, and if we sort out a couple of things we can win a lot of games.

Lucas Biglia, Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Rafael Leão celebrating during Milan-Lecce at Stadio San Siro on October 20, 2019. (@acmilan.com)

“The change of position between Kessié and Paquetá? I fielded a deeper mezz’ala to help in the build-up, which provided us with a numerical advantage in that stage, whereas the other mezz’ala was used to link-up midfield and attack. Clearly, between the two, Paquetá is more suited to the latter role than Kessié, but with each match the situation changes and so might the positions, only our principles must not change, which is to seize territorial supremacy so we can build up and dominate the game so that we have more attacking options. That is something we managed to do but there are clearly a lot of things we need to improve on.

“What needs to be done? We reacted after the equalizer and we got back in the lead. There was a lack of ability to read some situations, but it’s normal because we’ve worked little together. We did some things wrong in the second half. The fullbacks? We conceded a counterattack in the penalty move with Theo a little high, but I don’t think we suffered situations of numerical inferiority. The fullbacks have to play like that, they have to commit themselves forward. If they advance then the midfielders have to cover for them. They should speak and help each other on the pitch.”

Khouma Babacar scoring during Milan-Lecce at Stadio San Siro on October 20, 2019. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

Speaking to Sky Italia, Pioli said: “I struggled a little with players who I used to work with, Babacar and Calderoni. It’s a pity, there were positives, but we wanted the win and didn’t get it because of our mistakes. I saw some good moves, quality and spirit. We had to close off the game because otherwise things like that of what happened in the end can happen.

“The team? Milan players are well aware of their capabilities and the fact they are wearing a prestigious jersey. They will be able to judge their own performances and we’ll analyze them carefully, but in a way we paid for our generosity, as we ran after the ball and didn’t keep an eye on other players. I think we didn’t win a game that we deserved to win it.

Rafael Leão, Krzysztof Piątek and Alessio Romagnoli celebrating during Milan-Lecce at Stadio San Siro on October 20, 2019. (@acmilan.com)

“If I got answers? We must always build from behind, strategies can vary from one game to another. Some of the positions we took were positive, others not so much. We tried to build from the back with a three-man defense, but that can change with a different opponent such as Roma next week. After only a few days of training, I did see some of the ideas we had worked on and that bodes well for the future, even if there is a lot of work to be done.

“My birthday was ruined? I expected the most beautiful gift from the game… but the spirit and interpretation were there, this is the most important thing. The game will help us understand our mistakes. The tactics in the end? When Rebić came on, I kept Theo more behind, he was struggling on a physical level. We lacked a little collaboration on the final equalizer. Calderoni hit it well, but we had several opportunities to close that Lecce move earlier and if we had, we’d be here talking about a deserved victory and not a draw that doesn’t give credit to my team’s performance.

Marco Calderoni celebrating during Milan-Lecce at Stadio San Siro on October 20, 2019. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

“I was looking forward to this game with curiosity. In the press conference on Saturday, I was asked many questions about how I found the team. I tell you after this match, there are many positives. The big error was that a side like Milan has to kill games off. We could’ve even held on for 2-1 and kicked the ball out of play rather than misplace those passes. But the team did everything to win the game.

“This match will help us learn a lot, for what we did and what we should’ve done, and understand how to improve these situations. The action that led to the Lecce penalty? There were too many of us going after the ball and we left gaps. We weren’t set out well at all. It’s a mistake and we paid a high price for it.

“Playing Leão and Piątek together? They can play together when overall we are a more balanced team and I have a better idea of their characteristics. Why I took off Leão and brought on Piątek? I replaced Leão because at the end of the first half, the medic told me he had a slight muscular stiffness and we didn’t want to risk any further damage. I also saw Paquetá less on the ball than in the first half and tired.”

Theo Hernández during Milan-Lecce at Stadio San Siro on October 20, 2019. (@acmilan.com)

Pioli also held a post-match press conference: “The team suffers from anxiety in decisive moments? There is certainly work to be done, but I’m not afraid of that. This game will give me a lot of ideas to work on. Many of these are positives, are some are not. We need to understand it’s time to push forward and when it’s not. Either you have the strength to close off the game, or if you don’t then you can win games, like we deserved, even when suffering. We need great determination for 96 minutes, and we need determination to close off games.

“The players who made mistakes on the goals conceded? We deserved to win for the performance, but if the three points didn’t arrive then something happened. We’re not going anywhere if we condemn individual players. Playing football means making mistakes. I was anxious about the game, I had positive feelings and the answers were positive from the point of view of the approach. All that was missing was a bit of lucidity and it cost us the win.

“The mistakes were made by the older Milan players? It’s time to stop talking about a young Milan or an old Milan, we are Milan, we’re a team and if we sacrifice ourselves for ourselves and for our teammates then we’ll benefit and play good football. Some situations on the pitch needs to be improved, but it’s nobody’s fault. We have to make the best from our youth and experience. We’re Milan, it’s a heavy jersey and it has to be worn with pride and we must carry on values. But if we are here – the players and I – then there’s a reason.

Stefano Pioli during Milan-Lecce at Stadio San Siro on October 20, 2019. (@acmilan.com)

“The Leão-Piątek sub and if they can coexist? Leão seemed sharper than Piątek, I chose him for his characteristics, to go deep. At the end of the first half, the medic pointed out to me a muscular stiffening at the level of the flexors. Kris has different characteristics in certain situations. I don’t prejudge anything, it will be depend on the individual game. Those who enter the field must give more and we must continue.

“The problems from the physical point of view? We have to work on all areas we have available: tactics, mind and body. I understand that the requests I have are different from previous coaches. I appreciate the fact that the team created a lot, shot a lot, but in the end the supremacy doesn’t bring you the final result. The offensive and defensive areas lead you to results. There we made mistakes and we didn’t win for that. However, we tried out a lot in a few days and the change can’t be understood quickly. I tried to do the simplest things possible.”

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Spencer
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Great game. I loved the approach , too bad not the happy ending we all expected. This game reminds me of Gattuso’s first match in charge, where we drew at the dying minutes of the game

nick
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nick

I have one word of advice for Pioli, bench Suso, Musacchio and Biglia. They are not untouchable and they add nothing to the team. Milan should give up on these players. Put in Bennacer for Biglia and play Leao instead of Suso on the right. Play Duarte instead of Musacchio until Caldara is fully fit. Apart from that great job with reinventing Calhanoglu role and moving Kessie to the left as a DM. That was a smart move and it allowed us to create more goals. But we need to fix the right side. Force Maldini to get Keita Balde… Read more »

Soheil
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Soheil

Not bad advices. Although I didn’t saw any problems with Mussa but our defensive numbers are not good (I think it has more to do with Biglia, Bennacer, Conti & Calabria. None of this players are good defensively and that put too much pressure on Roma and Mussa.) We need to buy an all around defensive midfielder. Napoli has a young talented one we can buy. Bayern has an old one and we can get him on loan. Don’t forget we also have Bonna who can be used instead of Suso. He is talented enough to adopt to different side… Read more »

nick
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nick

Agreed Soheil. My issue with Musacchio is that he is not a starter. He is too mistake prone and Duarte and Caldara are more solid.

soheil balini
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soheil balini

I don’t know about both of them. I heard really bad things about duarte. apparently he was defensive midfielder before transitioning to a defender. Caldara for me is another Conti. I never saw him play. they said he was good. is he good right now? we don’t know. I think right now it’s too risky to replace Mussa. we need to win and Mussa and Roma played alongside each other for such a long time. the only stability we had actually. in the long run I guess we can introduce Duarte to the starting 11 but not in a next… Read more »

Chris
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Chris

Or considering to use Duarte at Biglia position =)))

Chris
Guest
Chris

“We need to buy an all around defensive midfielder.”
Emre Can would be a perfect candidate for that role. He might leave because of competition in Juve. In winter, it would be perfect if we can sign or loan Can, a RB and a RW

EzrGy
Member
EzrGy

I loved the game myself. You get to wonder why some coaches make it feel like the game is so complicated and hard to play. In a single game, we shot toward the opponent’s goal more shots than the combined 7 previous games, we attacked more fluidly, we showed more lucidity and contained the opponents better! It feels like some coaches just like complicating things for their own benefit. Yet the game is only a piece of rubber being kicked about by 22 men. The better team is the one that kicks it around better (or sometimes harder) and/or that… Read more »

Soheil
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Soheil

Dear site owner.
Your new cache system has long expire times that makes your updates invisible to users who frequently visit your site. I checked in 3 browsers and in each one of them you need to refresh the site to see new posts/comments & etc.

You probably know but you can solve this problem by activating cache renewal after every new post/comment is published (or simply remove html cache). I know it probably put higher load on server (very small load actually) so I personally promise that we would click more on advertisment. Thanks

stefan
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stefan

He should install wp rocket plugin. Most likely he can afford it. Probably a new host, like bigscoots.

MilanFan
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MilanFan

I think they fixed it now. I cleared my cache now Meytar said on Twitter and now it’s working properly again and I’m seeing updates without having to refresh when I enter the site again

Soheil
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Soheil

Tnx. I will try that. I cleared it 3 days ago and the problem was persistent.

Milan10
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Milan10

first of all, is it just me or does signore john malkovich really give simple, honest yet insightful answers to every question, no blabbering “system” esoteric bs, unlike previous coach? good for u mista. im starting to like this guy, despite myself. and yes, milan really need to learn to kill off the game, like i said *wink. leao showed great precision when he scored first milan goal so i was surprised, but not alarmed yet, that he missed so many chances yesterday. that he missed the goal from suso’s assist clearly showed that he wasnt calm. its ok, he’s… Read more »

Facto
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Facto

Maybe U should keep your blabbering less too. Short sentences are appreciated unless more is needed. Too much to read brahh.. Thanks

Milan10
Guest
Milan10

just because u like it short doesnt mean everyone else, especially ur spouse like it that way too mate

Ricardo Leite
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Ricardo Leite

Which kind nonsense write up be this na. Oga can u keep it brief next time pls

Rimp
Guest
Rimp

Suso needs to go!

Rimp
Guest
Rimp

This is the way we should play:

either 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3

4-2-3-1
—————————Donna—————————

Calabria———-Duarte——-Roma——-Hernandez

————-Bennacer————-Kessie—————–

———-Leao———-Paqueta———Calhanoglu—-

—————————Piatek—————————

4-3-3
—————————Donna—————————

Calabria———Duarte———Roma——-Hernandez

————————-Bennacer————————-

————–Paqueta—————-Kessie————–

———-Leao———–Piatek———Calhanoglu—–

nick
Guest
nick

I approve this message. Totally agree 100%

loganrt87
Guest
loganrt87

These look like solid choices; however I must point out that no one would have included calhanaglu until after last match. Let’s hope Pioli has a positive impact on the players performance.

Rimp
Guest
Rimp

I concur I was the first one to leave him out of any future line-up before I saw him in the Lecce game, but his performance was outstanding. The way he took the ball with his back heel and set up Piatek’s goal was marvelous.

Baresis Dream
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Baresis Dream

With all the optimism of the first half, and all of the winds of change running through milanelo due to Piloi, the real tests lie ahead. In theory we can turn this season around, but in practice we need to start collecting points on a consistent level. We need to be able to collect points from Atalanta, Rome, and Lazio who are our natural competitors for 4th. And we need to need to dominate mid to low level teams. Possible? Yes. But a win against Lecce gives very little evidence to support this theory. Will Hakan shine at LW against… Read more »

Rosoleo
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Rosoleo

If you are a good coach, you will never play suso again! Just go back and watch the 2nd goal we conceded. Suso is walking away from his opponent and leaves him alone to freely take the shot! He has been doing this for games now. If you play suso again, you just prove how shallow your thought process is. Suso has failed all your predecessors. He will be the death of you as well.

Ricardo Leite
Guest
Ricardo Leite

Very useless player in my opinion. All the show and goodies he brought was to leave us where we are today. We were deceived to believe we had a leader in attack with him

Cuongminhtran
Guest
Cuongminhtran

Some transfer rumors stated that we will sign J.Corea for 50M or more, to tell the truth: it’s a fool!
Why we want to sign a ALM’s bencher with f*cking much money like that? Tell me the reasons, P L E A S E !
I myself think with the same amount of money, we can take the services of Chiesa or Berradi, they have been all first team and had a lot of experiences in Serie A and Natonal team!
How about your opinions?

Martin Bernhard
Guest
Martin Bernhard

Berradi yes as he will propably cost 30+mil looking at how much sassuolo wants to keep him in their stable. Chiesa no chance in hell as his current valuation according to transfermarkt is 60 mil and propably wont be sold for anything less than 75+mil as Theres many interested Clubs home and abroad that will endup in a bidding war if he actually becomes available on the market. Only ways of us getting chiesa is to splash the Cash or if we somehow surprise and make a deal where we pay over a duration of time but that would propably… Read more »

Rossi
Guest
Rossi

We can get Chiesa in a money plus Suso deal, Fiorentina wanted Suso in the summer. Also Suso performed best under Monttela so he should be willing to reunite with him, also Chiesa is very close with Pioli who is our coach now, so if we want Chiesa there is no better time than now to make this deal happen.

Martin Bernhard
Guest
Martin Bernhard

Haha didnt really think of putting suso into a deal with fiorentina but yeah they apparently did show some interest in him but still i believe they would prefer cash upfront for chiesa and then maybe haggle for a deal for suso afterwards. When that is said rossi im all for your idea and ill applaud those who make it happen.

nick
Guest
nick

It’s Angel Correa we are planning to sign and not Joaquin Correa. Keita Balde is cheaper and has Serie A experience. He would be a better option as he can play as a support striker.

Berardi is a good backup player. Chiesa is a must buy. We will get him if we sign Guardiola next season as our new coach. He will be our next coach.

Baresis Dream
Guest
Baresis Dream

Nick, can I have your dealer’s number? Guardiola… c’mon man.

soheil balini
Guest
soheil balini

He says something really logical and I’m like wow! he is the best commenter here then he said 2 or 3 dumb things & I’m WTF!

you solved it 🙂

TanMilan
Guest
TanMilan

they want ‘expirience’ and ‘leaders’..corea fills boths.but i agree.its a huge price to pay.for a position where we need goal scorers and assist makers.
i would get a ‘expirienced’ leader for the midlefeld.
and bring a young hungry winger ,capable of play in both flanks.

Baka
Guest
Baka

The biggest mistake Milan did last season was not signing bakayoko. Our greatest midfielder. Biglia is trash. Slow and just awful. Bennacer is young. Baka is a beast

nick
Guest
nick

Agreed. We made the same stupid mistake by not signing Deulofeu after he had a very good loan season. We should definitely bring Bakayoko back in January. Smh

Soheil
Guest
Soheil

He is at loan (monaco).

nick
Guest
nick

We should bring him back. Biglia looks like an old man playing against men in their prime. Bakayoko would do well alongside Bennacer.

Martin Bernhard
Guest
Martin Bernhard

Nick, Monaco also has a buyout clause on bakayoko set at 40 mil if i remember correctly so highly unlikely to happen as Monaco most likely would want to capatilize on such deal if allready selling him next summer right after aquirring him.

Ricardo Leite
Guest
Ricardo Leite

Dream futuristic midfield, would really love to see both beast go out for war:
Bakayoko Bennacer

Mike
Guest
Mike

We should play 4.2.2.2

Donnaruma
Calabria musachio(duarte?) romagnoli theo
Kessie bennacer
Suso hakan/paqueta
Piatek Leao

This is the most logical formation on current players/form

Ricardo Leite
Guest
Ricardo Leite

Who gave u my name, we shouldn’t be name sake. I so much hate that set up u put up

Milanellofm
Guest
Milanellofm

If reports are true, pioli will bench suso against roma and look to rebic piatek leao. About time,if this is true then pioli figured it out after one game where giampaolo simply couldnt

nick
Guest
nick

Pioli needs to bench Biglia too and play Bennacer instead. Once he does that then he definitely get my full support. Both Biglia and Suso must be benched.

Baresis Dream
Guest
Baresis Dream

These tweeter campaigns help no one, and it’s very worrying if Pioli acts upon them. Suso is in a slump, and I agree he needs to be benched (I would try Paquetta instead btw), but he’s still one of our most promising offensive players. We need him if we have any hope of 4th. Rebic was bad against Lecce, and anyways both him and Leao are right-footed so not suited for the inverted RW role. Bennacer is indeed a promising talent, but DM is not his preferred position. It’s not really clear if he can be more reliable than Biglia.… Read more »

Soheil
Guest
Soheil

nick
Guest
nick

The fans are making their voices heard with the displeasure of the team’s performance and it seems to be working. We looked really good in the first half against Leece and even though they were a weaker opponent our game and movement was really good. Calhanoglu looks like a player reborn. Good move by Pioli on Calhanoglu and Kessie new positions. Pioli seems on track and he looks better than our previous managers. I think Suso will be dropped according to rumors with Leao and Piatek upfront with Calhanoglu and Paquetà/Rebic behind them. As for Biglia, we should not depend… Read more »

Baresis Dream
Guest
Baresis Dream

We need another DM that’s for sure; can Bennacer take this role I don’t know. I also hope Krunic can somehow slot there. But most likely its going to be one of our weak spots, aling with RB.

Terry
Guest
Terry

Let’s see if we can get Bakayoko back. He is a lot stronger than Biglia. And Chelsea has him out on loan to Monaco, so he may still be available.

Martin Bernhard
Guest
Martin Bernhard

Monaco has a buyout clause in that loan deal set at 40 mil if i remember correctly so not very likely to happen and certainly not the deal we could have gotten for 35 mil. Only real hope is that Monaco refuse to make it permanent or cant afford the buyout clause or that we endup paying maybe in the vicinity of 50 mi.

Gems
Guest
Gems

Suso has to go ,play leao piatek rebic
Conti & Calabria are both crap ,
We desperately need a good right back ,
Bennacer should play instead of biglia ,
Keep mussa but a quality cb is needed .
Forza milan
A Big win over Roma would be nice
If we can bury our chances and put games to bed
As we should have v Torino & Leece

Martin Bernhard
Guest
Martin Bernhard

Hey there Gems fully agree on Suso and i’ll go as far as selling him right below 30 mil euros if that can help a deal on its way. Main reason isnt his bad form but the fact that he slows us down in our buildup. On the other hand if he could accept a substitute role id accept him staying but that is not gonna happen anyways if he expects a new salary of around the 5-6 mil mark. Again fully agree we should field Leao piatek rebic upfront. Disagree on Conti and calabria. Conti has played far too… Read more »