As it becomes more and more likely that Stefano Pioli will step in for Marco Giampaolo at Milan, the reaction from supporters said it all.
Within hours, ‘Pioli Out’ was trending on Twitter as fans reacted furiously and with great disappointment as the former Lazio, Inter and Fiorentina boss looks set to take charge, as noted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.
In fairness, it’s arguably a little harsh for him to face the brunt of the backlash. Given a chance to take the Milan job, it’s to be expected that he would jump at it. He’ll undoubtedly be determined to prove his critics wrong and silence the doubters, should the appointment be officially confirmed as anticipated with Sky Sport Italia noting his contract could be signed on Tuesday.
However, given his lack of success and average managerial record over the years, it makes the decision to remove Giampaolo and replace him with a coach who is perhaps equally as incapable of leading us back to the Champions League this season all the more baffling and shambolic.
In Luciano Spalletti, who was heavily linked with the Milan job at first as noted by MilanNews, the Rossoneri were looking at a coach who wouldn’t turn us into world-beaters, but one who knows how to break into the top four in Serie A and has done so consistently in recent years.
That has been our target for the last five seasons, and after the ‘gamble’ of going with Giampaolo, our struggles this season were surely the biggest sign yet that the management had to go for an experienced coach with a track record of delivering what we so badly seek in Champions League qualification.
While problems with Spalletti’s split with Inter were essentially out of our control, it doesn’t make the decision to opt for Pioli instead a sensible one, and we’re now at risk of taking a major backward step once again on and off the pitch.
Having seen their decision to go with Giampaolo this past summer turn into a failure, Paolo Maldini and Zvonimir Boban should now face serious scrutiny too in the coming months if the Pioli appointment falls on its face.
Ultimately as a life-long Milan fan, it’s hoped that there is some sort of miraculous outcome to this expected uninspiring and poor decision, but it’s difficult to see one given Pioli has suggested little throughout his coaching career to give us confidence that he’s the right man for this particular job. In turn, this is up there with one of the poorest decisions in memory.
For Maldini, Boban and the rest of the hierarchy to sit down and reach the conclusion that he is the right man says a lot about their flaws and inability to make what appear to be sensible and correct decisions, and that in turn must surely put them under the spotlight as they’re now risking losing the fans too.
Whether it’s a short-term appointment or not is irrelevant at this stage, as while there is sense in perhaps bringing in a quick fix and identifying a more ambitious replacement next summer, you first have to deliver Champions League football and sell a project to a top coach to convince him to make the switch.
Pioli may prove us all wrong and flourish with this group of players, but in Spalletti, Milan arguably had a man perfect for the job needed, and instead they’ve somehow managed to add to the chaos and create more uncertainty and anger over the direction in which the club is heading.
On the basis of this change, it could be argued that Milan were better off just sticking with Giampaolo and giving him more time. Nevertheless, it seems as though the damage has been done in that situation perhaps beyond merely the poor results, and it has forced the hierarchy to act despite it being just over 100 days since he took the job.
From the shambles of wasting weeks in the summer to put the management team together to delaying Giampaolo’s arrival and subsequently any new signings, to now looking to Pioli to put things right. Maldini, Boban et al have done little to build trust and confidence in their ability to do their jobs diligently and to good effect, and this could turn out to be their worst decision yet.
📊 Stefano Pioli's record as a head coach in @SerieA:
🔘 310 Games
✅ 109 Wins
🤝 89 Draws
❌ 112 Defeats
— MilanData📊 (@acmilandata) October 8, 2019