Stefano Pioli fully admits ‘there are many things not working at the moment’ for Milan after the 4-0 hammering by Lazio, but shrugs off questions about a bid for Roma star Nicolò Zaniolo.
The Rossoneri were already in crisis going into this game, but the crushing 4-0 defeat at the Stadio Olimpico only confirmed their current status.
“We must quickly get back to Milanello and work better, because clearly we are not putting in the performances up to our capabilities,” the coach told DAZN.
“There are many things not working at the moment, there’s mentality, tactical issues because we conceded on some situations that we certainly should’ve read differently.
“I am here talking to you because I have to, because otherwise we should just stay quiet and work hard.”
It was their fifth game in all competition without victory, conceding nine goals in the last three games and the first time since the 5-0 defeat to Atalanta in December 2019 that they conceded four without scoring in Serie A.
“This is a delicate moment, certainly, as in the last two weeks or so we have not provided good performances or results, so we all need to do better.”
Despite it all, they are still in second place, albeit now 12 points adrift of leaders Napoli and only one point clear of Inter, Roma and Lazio.
Milan are not scoring goals right now, but the biggest issue is in defence, where they have been leaking goals.
“Things are not working for us at the moment. Despite not creating great scoring opportunities, we did create some situations where we could’ve been dangerous.
“I think the main problem is when we don’t have the ball, as there isn’t coverage, we aren’t sharp and certainly need to communicate better on the pitch. I only know one way to resolve the situation, and that is to work with the players and develop those situations where we are struggling.
“If you look at the first two goals we conceded tonight, we were in the right positions, we just didn’t read the moves. The team needs to be more compact and collaborative, as if we continue to make these errors, it starts to affect the mentality of the squad.
“Players know that positive results give you enthusiasm and negative results breed situations that become more difficult to deal with.”
Milan have conceded the first goal in each of their last four games between Serie A, the Supercoppa and Coppa Italia, so the initial approach to the match is clearly a concern.
“That is one of the problems. It’s not the only one, but it is one of them.”
With a 12-point gap from leaders Napoli, are Milan ready to shelve their dreams of a second consecutive Scudetto?
“We need to get back to playing the way we know how, that has to be the objective and we must do it as soon as possible. Our performances over the past two weeks have not been what we expected or what we are capable of. I will try to talk less and work harder.
“We do not want alibis or justification. I realise it’s a delicate moment, the lads will have my support and the desire to get back to being competitive.”
Pioli was asked if Milan could do with a player like Zaniolo, as Milan are reportedly in negotiations with Roma for a loan with obligation to buy deal worth circa €22m.
“I don’t know, I prefer to talk about the match and other things we can see over the next few days.”