It’s been roughly 24 hours since AC Milan lost the Supercoppa final against Inter in a rather spectacular fashion, failing to create a single dangerous chance and conceding three goals. Why should the fans believe when the players don’t?
I asked myself that question with around ten minutes left of what ended up being an embarrassing display in Saudi Arabia. During the entirety of Stefano Pioli’s reign, the motto has always been optimism, belief if you will, and there’s been no real reason to question it before.
After the 5-0 defeat against Atalanta, the manager was indeed questioned but certainly not in the same way. Back then, Milan were in a shambolic state and that wasn’t all to do with Pioli. Now, on the other hand, he’s had time to build his team and that puts the motto in a very different light.
One disappointing result, fine. Two disappointing results, there is room to restart. However, third time’s the charm in this scenario as well, especially when the third time is a 3-0 loss against the city rivals in the Supercoppa Italiana final.
The constant referring to belief and optimism is easily heard in the heads of the fans, because that’s what we keep hearing week in and week out. Even when there is criticism from Pioli, it’s overwhelmed by his optimistic approach towards his players. And that’s all fine and dandy, when it’s justified.
However, when the going gets tough, the fans have the right to the same information as the players. Heading into the final, a majority of the fans believed that Milan could turn it around, despite their poor run of form lately. This didn’t seem to be the case for the players, though.
On the pitch, we saw eleven players that seemingly didn’t believe in the cause. Sure, it’s always very difficult to concede twice early on, but the spirit in adversity that we have become so used to since Pioli joined was completely missing. So, what went wrong?
Pioli’s post-match words didn’t bring much clarity to the matter. In fact, it sounded like what he said after the other recent disappointing results. Simon Kjaer, on the other hand, did really well to express his feelings and above all, he apologised immediately to the fans.
There was no talk of belief or optimism from the Dane. He admitted that Milan lacked exactly that last night, and that they indeed have an identity crisis. This is exactly what the fans need to hear, because only then can we understand the process within the team and what kind of support they need.
“We have to look back and apologise to the fans. The young players narrative is over. We have to grow up and take responsibility. It was a tough evening, especially mentally, but in these moments we have to find our identity,” he stated.
Pioli’s words, which frankly are jibberish many times (most likely to protect his players), don’t do any good when we’re in a situation like this. Now, as this piece sounds harsh thus far, I must underline that Pioli is a very competent manager that knows what he’s doing. However, he could use some media training from the PR team, an aspect that separates the average from the great managers.
The scope of Milan’s failure at the start of this year, and in some games in the first half of the season, undoubtedly go all the way to the top of the club. As such, not even Paolo Maldini can be defended currently. However, it’s also very clear that this team should do better.
Milan overperformed when they won the Scudetto, everyone knows it, but that also means there is the quality to perform very well with these sets of players. Bringing that quality out was Pioli’s biggest strength, but now the situation has certainly been turned on its head.
The basis of this article is very clear: why should the fans believe if the players don’t? There can be no more beating around the bush from any of the involved parties, because if that continues then they could lose many fans.
Against Lazio, the right attitude will be essential and there must be some belief, not just in the shape of Pioli’s words. The Curva Sud will be there, singing their hearts out from start to finish. There will be many watching on from home, some also singing and screaming their hearts out. Now, all we need is the same spirit from the players.
Great coaches know when they need to speak out regarding what they need to be successful. Love Pioli for what he has done and continues to do for this team – but he deserves to be supported more by ownership. However in order to do that he must demand certain players in areas of need and cannot always tow the company line that “we are fine as is.” Great coaches ask for players they know they need. He earned that right. Time for him to step up and ask ownership to BUY players or we can kiss all this hard work he has done goodbye
The fact is that “we’re NOT fine as is”! Pioli is out of miracles. The current players with their current form isn’t nowhere close good enough. Either you revamp the whole starting 11 and tactics or you go and buy reinforcements. Praying for another miracle isn’t going to do us any good.
Belief doesn’t have anything to do with being a fan, fans trade in support and protest. Is it time for us to boo the project yet? Not even close. Even if fans’ belief was a part of the deal, basing it on your team’s continuous top form seems to be the exact opposite of belief. Because of course we all know that any high has a low. If I may contribute 2 cents to this conversation: The moment the players lose belief in the program, pioli will be fired by maldini. And if maldini doesn’t do it, gerry will uproot it all and start from scratch. The situation is infuriating I undestand, but this rough patch is not a big enough sample size to interpret the post-WC rust as players calling it quits on the project.
pioli out, milan should get a worldclass manager….
…because world class coaches come to a team like Milan with less than 50mil transfer budget.
Lmao. No worldclass manager wants to manage a team full of young and inexperienced players combine with veteran players who close to retirement.
That’s what Milan should be focusing on now?
How to talk the media?
The level of self-importance defies belief.
As for Kjaer blaming the younger players after the performance he put in wasn’t exactly the most inspirational thing I’ve heard. Maybe he needs media training. Or maybe the team just needs to focus on actual football training.
Media training might not be the right choice of word, but the main point of this article stands still.
Nothing is wrong with Kjaer’s words. It’s time for the young to mature.
Maybe he didn’t play, but a player like Zlatan, who’s mature in ability, mental, and age is surely needed in every line.
I am so sick of senior players blaming younger players. They did the same after the debacle in the 2014 World Cup.
That’s media training. Pushing responsible onto someone else.
Nothing should be said out in public. Behind closed doors they can get stuck into whoever.
I agree about Zlatan. Strange he didn’t fly out with the team.
He isn’t blaming the young ones. He’s saying the truth, that they’re not as young anymore.
He wasn’t -blaming- the younger players, he was saying that the time to fall back on the easy excuse of “we’re a young squad” is over. They’re still young in age, yes, but they’re (majority) no longer in their first or second years and still just finding their feet. They’re more mature as professionals, and as a team, now than two years ago and guarding them behind a sugarcoated wool blanket of “they’re young” is a disservice to everyone.
The is not the first serious performance crisis under Pioli’s Era, so stop this fvckin’ whinning… We’ll get over this, just as we did in the past.
It’s never this long and this bad, tbh.
This time is the most worrying, because it is happening collectively and there’s currently no hint of improvement.
We were literally going through the exact same thing this time last season and every season Pioli has been at Milan he’s had a stronger second half.
Whether or not that will happen now, it has only been a few games.
What do you really expect him to say? He’s well coached to not say too much to the media and protect his players. If you’ve ever been at a level close to where you have media level attention you would know that you air dirty laundry behind closed doors and put up a front in media interviews. I’m not sure what exactly is the point of this. Pioli doesn’t and shouldn’t spill all the beans to us. Some may want him to say different things but that’s for him and his team to talk about in private.
Pioli always strikes me as someone who says the right things at the right time. Even with this loss he said what I thought which was he’s surprised that we’ve played badly and are mentally off. When we play big teams we usually do well (even in this tumultuous season, we’re the only team to outplay Napoli) hence it was a surprise to lose in that manner.
Pioli is quite similar to Ancelotti. Even when the team is in bad shape, both of them will take the blame and protect their players from the media who only wants drama to sell their tabloids. All bad laundry will be cleaned up behind the doors as it should be.
It’s just sad how some people including the author of this article wants Pioli to act more like Conte, Allegri, or Mourinho who loves to pointing fingers at their players or open their dressing room problems to the media as an excuse for bad results.
Media training? What can they teach except how to each shit..
It’s almost as if the opposite is true of what is in the article itself. It IS because Pioli and co has media training that they talk to the media the way they do. And I’m fine with that. No need to destabilize the team. Like u said u gave perfect examples, Conte, Mou and Allegri. No need for the noise
I’m very optimistic that Milan will recover.l so much believe that we’ll go an unbeaten runs on this second half.