Friday October 18 2019
Pioli has to keep it simple

With Marco Giampaolo overcomplicating things at Milan, Vilizar Yakimov thinks Stefano Pioli should do exactly the opposite to rediscover the Rossoneri’s form.

Seeing a club sacking a Coach after a victory is a sight that we don’t witness too often. In fact, Marco Giampaolo has the right to feel at least a bit unfortunate with the timing of his Milan dismissal, as the Rossoneri host Lecce next in a game that could’ve easily seen the ex-Sampdoria boss winning two in a row.

While this would’ve bought Giampaolo some more time to work on his ideas, very few people can blame the club for opting to part ways with the 52-year-old tactician, as the Rossoneri looked clueless during the majority of his seven games at the helm of the club.

However, dismissing Giampaolo was the easy part. On the other hand, finding a proper replacement at this stage of the season is far more challenging and with the Rossoneri having to act quickly, they opted for a low-cost solution in Stefano Pioli.

The former Lazio, Inter and Fiorentina boss was never the most popular choice among the Milan faithful, not only because of his past with the Nerazzurri, but also because of his rather mediocre results in recent years.

The 53-year-old lost five and drew two in his last seven games at Inter, while his win percentage of 36% at Fiorentina was the worst one for La Viola since the Delio Rossi days almost a decade ago. So how can Pioli be the right man for Milan based on that?

While the Emilia-Romagna-born tactician rarely shines with tactical innovation, he is actually very good at keeping things simple on the pitch and that is exactly what Milan need right now.

Unlike Giampaolo, who seems to be overly attached to the 4-3-1-2 formation that worked well for him at Sampdoria, Pioli doesn’t necessarily stick to one module and prefers to field his teams based on the players’ strengths.

In fact, this might be the biggest difference between Pioli and his predecessor, as Giampaolo tried a bit too hard to fit certain players into his ideas instead of adjusting his tactics. This was evident from the very beginning of the season, as putting the goalkeeper and the defence aside, Krzysztof Piatek was the only player who featured in his natural position in Giampaolo’s official debut against Udinese.

Fabio Borini is not a central midfielder, Samu Castillejo is not a striker, Suso is not a trequartista and Hakan Calhanoglu is most definitely not a regista. This was evident for everyone, as the Rossoneri lost 1-0 and barely troubled the Zebrette, but Giampaolo didn’t learn from the defeat. His experiments continued and eventually saw other players like Lucas Paqueta suffering while playing in a deeper role on multiple occasions.

Therefore, the first step that Pioli should take in order to steady the Rossoneri ship seems to be quite simple - field players in their best positions.

Milan’s current roster shows that 4-3-3 is probably the best formation and there is no surprise that according to reports, Pioli will try to rediscover the team’s identity with this setup.

It makes perfect sense for Milan, as Suso can take his preferred place on the right, Ante Rebic should finally get a chance to start on the left with both Calhanoglu and the once again fit Giacomo Bonaventura ready to deputise in case the Croat is struggling.

Rafael Leao and Piatek will be battling for a starting place in the heart of the attacking trident with the Portuguese youngster looking like the better option at the moment. The Pole’s struggles in front of goal and misses in crucial moments of games mean that at least temporarily, Piatek should be dropped to the bench. Leao has looked fitter, sharper and more capable of leading the line so far.

Giampaolo’s choices in midfield have also proved to be ineffective, as Franck Kessie and Ismael Bennacer have looked far from their best physically, which inevitably affects their performance. It really seems that the Africa Cup of Nations has taken its toll on both players, so Pioli might opt to be more careful in their usage at this stage of the season.

Fielding the fittest players in their best positions and not necessarily insisting on a certain formation that doesn’t work. That might not seem to be too complicated a task, and yet for some reason Giampaolo failed to achieve it.

While Pioli is not the most decorated Coach in the industry, he is experienced enough to learn from his predecessor’s mistakes. The current Milan team is not good enough for the Scudetto, but it is definitely worthy of a top four challenge.

In order to achieve that and get the team to the desired levels, Stefano Pioli does not need to reinvent the wheel. He should just stick to the basics.

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Have your say...
Keep it simple, stupid: start your best scorer!
on the 21st October, 2019 at 3:09pm
More of the same. Pioli was expected to revamp the team but instead, he opted for the same players. Biglia plays in midfield and touches a lot of balls but none of these balls creates opportunities for his forwards, he either plays passes laterally or behind to the back four. What use is this? He is not a vertical player who drives forward like Bennacer. He is 33 years old and past his prime, we need fresh legs in midfield, people who create sparks, who shore up the defense. We are too exposed.
on the 21st October, 2019 at 7:46am
bla bla bla so many talk_____________ in the end Milan are still bunch of TRASH.
on the 21st October, 2019 at 7:32am
New coach, same story. Chalanoglu actually had a good game, fair play to him. Biglia gives nothing, Bennacer didn’t even get on! Why take Paqueta off for Krunic?
on the 20th October, 2019 at 10:25pm
Well this is the best we have played this season. Players are being played in their best positions, I don't know if we can expect any more from the manager. Suso was poor, biglia poor, couldnt clear lines or control the game when we needed at the end but we dont have much quality in central mid since bakayoko left so thats no surprise. Hope Bennacer and Krunic can help but we will c. Confidence can paper over alot of cracks in a team but it wil be hard built up with the line up of games comin
on the 20th October, 2019 at 10:01pm
Talk of Piatek and Bennacer on bench vs Lecce!
on the 20th October, 2019 at 5:58pm
Can put paqueta there only as dynamic shifter no regista pressure uh a bit of iniesta i suppose,, up in the right wing rebic's directness can come handy, piatek, left leao with lofty directness! Thats it play&gel&be sassuolo before BE AC MILAN. THAT CAN WAIT.. DONT BE ACCIDENTAL..
on the 20th October, 2019 at 9:38am
As presuming Milan wont nudge away from delusional 4-3-3 where they mend soup from regista and trequarista and DM at sideway along!! Lets fix it donna needs to be understudy of reina 1 yr or 2. Look carefully, Reina conte caldara romagnoli(as there is no zapata; mussachhio & duarte until prove himself should be the supporting cast) theo, from the right side of midfield ben nacer in xavi role in the middle you put any of kessie bigilia or hakan following flamini's footsteps! in the left there you
on the 20th October, 2019 at 9:29am
@M Heir: 1. that's how easy Maldini-Boban & Leonardo b4 them thought it would b.
2. Suso has 10 assists only because all of our attack go through him, 1 assist every 4 games isn't that exciting.
3. STFU, I'm tired of your ever-changing theories, if veteran players, coaches and managers can't figure it out I don't know what makes you think you can provide the grand design.
My 2 cents, players come to Milan thinking they made it, we're being outplayed by..
on the 20th October, 2019 at 7:43am
@Maldini's Heir.
I think we mostly agree.

Regarding Suso, I think he proved himself a fighter and stepped up to score a few vital goals towards the end of last season when things were falling flat.
That said, he can be extremely frustrating and when he is not in-form he shouldn't be untouchable. I'd be interested see Pioli start someone else and see the results.
If Suso really is demanding 6m/year, that's unjustifiable.

Buy Maldini's Heir is right, we need to stop scapegoating players.
on the 19th October, 2019 at 7:33pm
@maldini's heir You always harp on Suso' assists but tell me how many of them came against big clubs? How many came in crunch time when we really needed them? How many more should a player of his supposed quality be providing when he feels he's worth 6m in wages? How many more COULD he have provided if he wasn't a predictable one-trick pony? Your defense of him is tired. Everyone else can see that he's a roadblock to tactical flexibility and disrupts the flow of play. Enough is enough.
on the 19th October, 2019 at 3:43pm
on the 19th October, 2019 at 12:45pm
@ mario milanista I'm bored of the criticism of Suso. Only 2 players in Serie A provided more assists than him last season with 10. So unless we're going to replace him with a player who can provide more assists than that why would we bother? We need to focus on our priorities and stop turning on players if they're form drops for two seconds.
on the 19th October, 2019 at 11:27am
@ PrimoCalcio I would have been happy to keep Gattuso. We missed out by a point. I said if we were to get rid of him we needed to sign a world class manager. Conte went to Inter and Milan got Giampaolo.
on the 19th October, 2019 at 11:23am
@ PrimoCalcio I'm obviously exaggerating but I want to make the point that if we only sign one player, if we focus all of our money, all of our time, all our resources on that one key signing, we can get the best. The best that is available to us. That player has to lift the side to a new level. There's plenty of players around who would take on a challenge. Milan convinced Bonucci and that didn't work out for either party. But it shows what we can do.
on the 19th October, 2019 at 11:21am
@Maldini Heir I like ur idea. Problem is you are over-simplifying, just we we all fans do. I really hope we can get the team to move forward. The best thing we can do right now is for the boys to go out and play REAL football, not tactics. That is a combination of the right physical, mental and tactical conditioning. Can we achieve that? Yes. How fast is the guestion.
on the 19th October, 2019 at 7:49am
continuity is key, but its time to face some facts. Suso is an ego, and without the right to be. Play the same for a season. Suso, Kessie, Calabria have been our right hand side for 2 years, Cala and Suso even longer. Its been 3-4 managers or something. Suso does not collaborate well with Calabria. Suso does not collaborate well with Kessie. He didnt with Kalinic, Bacca or anyone. Cutrone was in fact, the only striker i have seen Suso try to actually pass the ball. Suso will always play for Suso
on the 19th October, 2019 at 4:35am
"...keeping things simple... is exactly what Milan need right now."

So everyone says Gattuso isn't good enough because he isn't a tactical genius, say we need a tactician.
We sign a tactician: Giampaolo.
Now everyone says we need to go back to keeping it simple.
Lord, I wish Rino never left.

What Milan needs to do is draft a plan guided by a vision, sign a top coach to carry it out, supporting him on the market.
on the 19th October, 2019 at 3:40am
@Maldini's Heir
I agree with you about keeping it tight, establishing a core and selling the excess, but believing Milan can sign "THE BEST IN THE WORLD" in any position is the height of delusion.
The best we can hope for is to find a youngster and develop him into a world class player (ex. Gigio).
Unless the management shapes up, manages to sign a top coach, we won't be buying any elite players.
Elite players don't sign up to play for Pioli in a directionless club full of inexperienced kids.
on the 19th October, 2019 at 3:32am
Donnarumma, Calabria, BEST DEFENDER IN THE WORLD, Romagnoli, Theo, BEST DM IN THE WORLD, Kessie, Paquetá, Leão, Suso, Piątek. The following season: Donnarumma, Calabria, BEST DEFENDER IN THE WORLD, Romagnoli, Theo, BEST DM IN THE WORLD, Kessie, Paquetá, Leão, BEST RW IN THE WORLD, Piątek. The following season: Donnarumma, Calabria, BEST DEFENDER IN THE WORLD, Romagnoli, Theo, BEST DM IN THE WORLD, Kessie, Paquetá, Leão, BEST RW IN THE WORLD, BEST CF IN THE WORLD. Slowly we build.
on the 19th October, 2019 at 12:09am
Next summer see where the gaps are. Have we conceded too many goals? Do we need a defensive midfielder? Is Piątek a one season wonder? Wherever the gaps are fill them and leave the rest. Build slowly. Next season it might look like Donnarumma, Calabria, BEST DEFENDER IN THE WORLD, Romagnoli, Theo, Bennacer, Kessie, Paquetá, Leão, Suso, Piątek. Suddenly the players are finishing each other's sentences. The following season:
on the 19th October, 2019 at 12:06am
433 with Donnarumma, Calabria, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Theo, Bennacer, Kessie, Paquetá, Suso, Leão and Piątek with Duarte covering both CB, Conti covering both FB, Krunić and Bonaventura covering 3 midfield spots and Rebić covering the front 3. Barring injury and suspension, use those 16 players between now and the end of the season and play the same team week in/week out and see what happens. No news signings in January. Sell anyone who is not in that 16. And just keep things really tight.
on the 19th October, 2019 at 12:03am
I have Giampaolo til xmas but he's already been sent packing. I give this one until xmas instead. Which would mean 2 managers by xmas. Then bring Allegri back and stop these ludicrous managerial decisions.
I grew up loving AC Milan. What a joke we have become.
on the 18th October, 2019 at 11:05pm
Pioli will want to play it safe and not lose his first game, especially at home against a team expected to beat and with difficult games coming up. However, he would be better off winning over the fans by playing the likes of Leao, Bennacer, Bonaventura, Paqueta
on the 18th October, 2019 at 10:38pm
Chanaloglu out Is right but Biglia in ahead of Bennacer? Leao on bench? Got to go 4-2-3-1
on the 18th October, 2019 at 8:31pm
Question about: Suso, Rebic, Leao, Hakan, & Paqueta. If you sorts out these players and their posiition everything will fall in righ pocket. Hakan with some others must wait & go in january to clear the jam happening to them and the club. Rebic is the gold mine that have to be struck. He is purebred for two striking zone and less in the wings. Leao's progress musn't be haulted. Why suso is greeted in messi manner. People rises question on him. He needs to justify. To me paqueta=kaka kaka=paqueta
on the 18th October, 2019 at 8:12pm
After Lecce we have I think a season defining 5 week stretch where we play Roma, Lazio, Juve and Napoli (with Spal between Roma and Lazio). Where we are when the dust settles on 11/24 will say everyting.
on the 18th October, 2019 at 7:01pm
Lazio is playing La Dea this weekend. Roma is away to a possibly revitalized Samp. We play Lecce. If Lazio wins we'll be 4 pts behind Atalanta, which I think is currently the favorite for 4th. It's definitely still doable for us this season. Let's get behind our team! FORZA MILAN.
on the 18th October, 2019 at 6:58pm
The line"Unlike Giampaolo,who seems to be overly attached to the 4-3-1-2 formation"seems strange after he threw it away one game into the season.Milan hired Giampaolo to play a 4-3-1-2.Their transfers were heading in that direction.They expected a midfield of Benacer,Jack,Paqueta,Krunic behind Piatek and one of Rebic/Leao.No one knows why Giampaolo did what he did."4-3-3 is probably the best formation" is also ridiculous.It's only best for Suso.
on the 18th October, 2019 at 3:22pm
#SusoOut, this farce of insisting he's a worthwhile player has gone on too long.
on the 18th October, 2019 at 3:18pm

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