Stefano Pioli believes Milan caused their own demise against Roma and says the Rossoneri should learn from this match.
After conceding in injury-time against Lecce on Pioli’s debut, the Rossoneri visited Stadio Olimpico on Sunday evening in hope of getting a vital victory.
Pioli used the same XI that started in the last Matchday. It started well for the Diavolo who had a few early chances, but as the game progressed, Milan regressed.
After the decent start, the Rossoneri were constantly giving the ball away, couldn’t string three passes together, couldn’t mark properly, couldn’t attack properly and pretty much did not do anything right beside gifting Roma chance after chance to score. The performers who did not disappoint were Gianluigi Donnarumma, who saved Milan on numerous occasions, and Theo Hernández.
Edin Džeko (38′) took advantage of criminal marking from Franck Kessié on a set-piece to score a header, while Nicolò Zaniolo (59′) took advantage of Davide Calabria’s ridiculously-bad pass to give Roma the lead back after Theo Hernández had temporarily equalized the score (55′).
“I expected more, yes,” Pioli told Sky Italia. “Over the two games, we frankly gave our contribution to the failed victories. We made mistakes that were too important for the team that we are. We had done well enough in the first half and ran few risks, then there was the second half. The inertia of the game would’ve been more in our favor than in theirs had we not given away that goal. There’s no point denying it, the situation is negative right now and we keep making clear errors.
“The lost balls? The most evident errors were on the two goals, but they weren’t the only ones. We knew Roma would press some of our passing lines and not others, but we gave the ball away so cheaply. We knew there would be issues on set plays, as Roma have a lot of height, but even then we could’ve done better. I saw the performance as a step backwards compared to the Lecce game last week.
“Midfield? It was difficult to play in the middle, Roma was packed with a lot of players. If the ball moves slowly from the back, it becomes difficult to create any spaces. It’s useless to single out the individual or the department, we have to work on many directions, especially on attention. With a little more focus and concentration, we could’ve kept the match in the balance for longer. We were imprecise and paid the price for that. A big mistake made us concede, then we tried but we didn’t find our feet.
“If we were lacking ‘nastiness’? I don’t think it was missing, but we made too many wrong decisions and that is costly against a side on the same level as you. We needed to play better on a technical level, with more precise passing, and we just didn’t do that. After the draw, even if it was merited, we had to manage things better. After the 2-1 or Roma, they closed down well and it was more complicated for us.
“Courage? There were some good situations, but we didn’t press them when they had the ball and once Roma took the lead, it became dangerous on the counter-attack. I believe we have the quality to be more dangerous in attack than we were tonight and to be more solid than we were. At this level, the games are in the balance and the slightest detail can make the difference. I don’t believe we were negative or lacking in courage, but we conceded goals in avoidable situations and that had a psychological knock-on effect.
“Piątek? My idea is to get the best out of all my players, but I’ve only been working with them for 10 days. After the good collective performance against Lecce, I decided it was best not to make too many changes, so we could try to build some consistency. Clearly, we want to get back to winning ways, but we need to prove it on the pitch. It’s too easy to say that.”
Speaking in the post-match press conference, Pioli said: “If I have the feeling that I’ve found a cluttered environment? The guys work well during the week. They are attentive and determined. We haven’t been able to bring this determination into the field. What we regret, beyond the merits of our opponents, are our demerits.
“How was Suso? It’s wrong to single out the individual. We need to look for global improvement. We started well and we could’ve addressed it differently. How were Milan? They work well on the pitch, know what to do and have quality. If Roma, with all of their difficulties, have only lost once, then it means something. We didn’t get crushed, but we put ourselves in difficulty.
“Defensive Marking? I’m saying that we could have accepted if Džeko had scored by jumping over Kessié, but not like that. We have to be more careful otherwise it seems that winning, equalizing and losing is always the same. We have to give more.”
Pioli also spoke to MilanTV: “We lacked concentration and lucidity because we should have held onto the draw. We had started the second half on the right foot, it was a balanced game. We knew every detail could have been decisive and unfortunately we lacked lucidity and made costly mistakes.
“We have to work on many aspects, we have to do more. If we take a look at this evening’s performance, Roma didn’t dominate the game, nor did they play better than us. The same stands for Lecce, but we still have one point from two games, and there’s a lot to improve. Plenty of chances Roma had arrived from our mistakes, where we made poor passes, failing to control the game. Losing the ball in certain areas of the pitch can be risky. This is something that we have to change.
“We mustn’t forget this game, we must learn from it to understand what we need to improve and get back to winning ways. We have to start winning again, we must believe in this and show that we are capable of doing it.”
After 9 games, Milan find themselves with just 10 points. They already lost 5 times this season, and with games against SPAL, Lazio, Juventus and Napoli coming up, there are few reasons for optimism.