Why key Milan figure’s influence will continue to be felt even if touted exit materialises

Stefano Pioli is being heavily linked with being replaced this summer, but even if he does move on at the end of the season, his influence and mark on Milan will last beyond his tenure.

As per the Guardian earlier this month, it has been reported that a deal is already agreed for Ralf Rangnick to replace him at the helm ahead of next season.

READ MORE: Five key talking points as relentless Milan hit five past Bologna in top-class display

Antonio Vitiello of MilanNews noted this weekend that despite the upturn in form we’ve seen over the last eight games, it’s not going to be enough to convince Elliott to abandon their plans and so Pioli’s time at Milan is still expected to come to an end when the current campaign concludes.

If that’s the case, it will be a real shame to see him leave given the excellent work he has done particularly over the last few months. Nevertheless, if it is to be the end of his spell in charge, we may well see his influence have a positive impact on the squad even after he has moved on and he’ll represent much more than just a stop-gap solution.

A run of form to build on

The level that we’ve been performing at since the restart is the standard that we should aspire to reach and to maintain. Solid defensively, free-scoring in attack and dominating games for large periods, it has been a joy to watch.

While naysayers will moan about how the empty stadiums have taken the pressure off the players, the way in which we’re breaking teams down and showing such class in attack doesn’t just disappear because there are fans watching in the stands. Further, we didn’t exactly fare much better in March when we lost at home to Genoa in an empty San Siro?

It’s an identity and a style of play that has been developed and is now delivering results. Whether it’s Rangnick in charge next season or not, the momentum we take from this campaign into the next is going to be crucial to our ongoing improvement.

Mentality change

Winning breeds confidence and belief. The players look comfortable and settled in their roles and that is reflected in the quality of our performances and results.

At half-time against Bologna, the expectation was that we’d see a hesitant and tepid Milan come out for the second half having conceded just before the break and now with nerves and tension building as we protected a 2-1 lead.

Instead, we came out on the front foot immediately and were 4-1 up before the hour mark. That is a real sign of development in our mentality and approach, and while this group of players has struggled to entirely convince this season, they’re now becoming accustomed to scoring goals and winning games. That can only be a positive thing.

Development of key players

Theo Hernandez, Franck Kessie, Ismael Bennacer, Hakan Calhanoglu, Ante Rebic and now even Alexis Saelemaekers have come a long way this season.

They have developed and matured before our eyes over the last few months and are all consistently delivering high-quality performances which are proving to be integral to our impressive run of form.

Many of these individuals are potentially going to be pillars of the side moving forward, and there is no doubt that Pioli’s contribution and the work that has gone into helping them improve is hopefully going to be vital as they’ll be pushing to now lead the charge when it comes to getting us back to the top.