It’s been well documented that since Massimiliano Allegri left Milan in 2014, the Rossoneri have gone through countless coaches.
Stefano Pioli will be our ninth new boss in the last five years, if you count the brief stints with Mauro Tassotti and Cristian Brocchi, and that is evidently not a recipe for long-term success.
SEE MORE: How Milan could line up under Pioli: Fresh start for key figure, underperforming trio could remain
In that time we’ve been back and forth in terms of the style of play and identity that each coach has tried to impose on the squad. From defensive and organised coaches in Sinisa Mihajlovic and Gennaro Gattuso to those who wish to play more attacking, attractive football in Vincenzo Montella and Marco Giampaolo, it’s been a confusing and odd path.
Perhaps the lack of planning and direction from the hierarchy should come into greater focus, but for now the focus is on allowing Pioli to bring stability to the club and deliver results on the pitch to ensure we’re in the battle for a top-four finish in Serie A this season.
Clear ideas and principles
As with any coach, Pioli will bring his own desire to play a certain way and will have specific demands of the players, both collectively and individually.
However, as he has hinted in his interviews since being appointed, there are clear and simple principles that he will look to instil in his players and he will work to get the best out of those at his disposal rather than arrive at Milanello, rip the script up entirely and start from scratch.
“My principles are based on ideas, intensity and ruthlessness. I’ll have to be good at getting my ideas across to the team as quickly as possible. Let’s start with a good base,” he told the media as he was unveiled last week.
“I’d like to play the football that the lads will enjoy playing. I adapt to my players. I have to improve them individually so they can grow collectively.”
Naturally, there will be disagreements on decisions in terms of personnel and perhaps even the system that he adopts as it’s simply impossible to keep everyone happy.
In turn, with the experience that he has gained over his coaching career, he’ll know how to deal with that and that could be beneficial to the players having that reassurance from the man in charge to believe in what they’re doing.
As noted by MilanNews, via the paper edition of Corriere della Sera, Pioli is said to be preaching ‘intensity, enthusiasm and compactness’ over the international break as he needs to get the fundamentals in place for now at least before gradually getting his style and playing ideas across.
— AC Milan (@acmilan) October 10, 2019
Further, it’s noted that the 53-year-old is focusing less on tactics but instead on team spirit, while he will try to find a balance between using our summer signings and key, established individuals in his first XI this weekend when we face Lecce.
Judging from the video above taken from training last week, he’s certainly getting his hands dirty and involving himself heavily in sessions, which could perhaps endear him to the squad.
Important to make positive start
Putting our poor form so far this season to one side, Lecce at home is a game that many, if not all, connected with Milan would expect to secure all three points from.
In turn, while there will undoubtedly still be an element of pressure on Pioli and the players, this is an ideal opportunity to go out, secure a positive result and put in a performance to get the fans back onside at San Siro and give them a reason to get behind the team.
The performance will be equally as important as the result. Not in the sense that we have to put on a masterclass and destroy Lecce, but if we see the fundamental principles of playing with intensity, enthusiasm and compactness to impose ourselves on the game and dominate as much as possible, that will be a starting point for Pioli as it ticks the right boxes in terms of what we as fans demand from our team.
Further, with the quality that the individuals in the final third have, albeit we haven’t seen enough from them so far this season, that should be a combination that ensures our latest boss gets off to a winning start in what is another new era for Milan, and it’s hoped that this one lasts a lot longer than the last even if it may not turn out to be a long-term solution.
"Davide Astori would be happy to see me here" 📽
Watch Coach Pioli's first interview in Rossonero 🔴⚫
— AC Milan (@acmilan) October 9, 2019