Stefano Pioli accepts something has to change at Milan if they are emerge from their slump after achieving an unwanted first with their 5-2 loss at home to Sassuolo on Sunday.

The Rossoneri shipped four or more goals in successive Serie A matches for the first time in their history, having previously been thumped 4-0 at Lazio in midweek.

Milan also recently suffered a 3-0 defeat to rivals Inter in the Supercoppa Italiana, meaning they have lost three in a row in all competitions for the first time since September 2019.

Without a win in six games going further back, the pressure is building on head coach Pioli, who ended the club's 11-year Scudetto wait last season.

While the 57-year-old is expected to be given more time to turn things around, he understands Milan cannot carry on as they are.

"I'm thinking about many things," he told Sky Sport. "Everything that has worked over the past two years isn't working right now.

"It's clear that if you want to change results, you have to change something. I'll make the decisions that are needed to bring us more compactness, energy and better balance."

Domenico Berardi helped pile the misery on Milan at San Siro with a goal and assists for Gregoire Defrel, Davide Frattesi and Matheus Henrique.

Armand Lauriente was also on the scoresheet from the penalty spot, with Olivier Giroud and Divock Origi netting what proved to be consolation goals for out-of-form Milan.

 

It marks the first time the Rossoneri have conceded five goals at home in a league match since April 1997 when losing 6-1 to Juventus.

And with Serie A leaders Napoli 10 points clear of Milan ahead of facing Roma later on Sunday, Pioli concedes his side's hopes of defending the title are over.

"To say I'm disappointed doesn't cut it," Pioli said. "These recent performances have left us in difficulty, but this must push me to understand certain situations must be improved.

"We have to react. We probably won't be able to win the Scudetto again. Instead, our Scudetto is fighting to finish in the Champions League spots, which we can achieve."

Next up for Milan is another Derby della Madonnina showdown with Inter at San Siro next weekend, and striker Giroud has called for unity during a tough period for the club.

"It's a difficult moment for us, but we have to stay together," he told DAZN. "We have the support of the fans, which we have seen.

"We want to give everything for them on the pitch because they deserve more. At the moment I realise things are not going in the right direction. We have to work harder.

"Everything is going wrong for us. Our attitude is good and we want to do well, but it's not enough. 

"Whoever plays, however, must do more, myself included. Let's try to stay united. We have the opportunity to raise the level in the derby with Inter next week."

Stefano Pioli is not expecting Milan to do business before the transfer window closes on Tuesday, believing their squad already contains the solutions to all their problems.

The Rossoneri have suffered an alarming slump this month, going five matches without a win across all competitions.

The three defeats in that run have been particularly concerning as Milan have crashed out of the Coppa Italia to Torino, lost 3-0 to rivals Inter in the Supercoppa Italiana and been on the end of a 4-0 thrashing by Lazio this week.

Yet Pioli is relying on the players who have struggled of late to set Milan back on course, starting against Sassuolo on Sunday.

"We have the resources to get out of this moment," the coach said. "The club has been expressing itself on the market for some time.

"We're recovering from injuries, so that's how we're doing."

Pioli agreed Milan are dealing with a mental issue, but he has no doubts about the attitude of his players.

"Absolutely. No-one should think that the players do not want to overcome this moment or that they do not put in 100 per cent," he said. "I have always seen great attention and will.

"This moment is overcome by working, because we know how to do much better than what we are doing."

Milan have not gone six matches without a win since April 2018, then led by Gennaro Gattuso, and Pioli acknowledges only the result matters against Sassuolo at San Siro.

"Maybe winning tomorrow will see the return of our self-esteem," he said. "And the results and football will be as beautiful as we have always been."

Stefano Pioli wants Milan to "shut up and work" after they lost more ground in the Serie A title race with a 4-0 thumping at the hands of Lazio on Tuesday.

The Rossoneri lost for the first time in seven league matches with goals from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Mattia Zaccagni giving Maurizio Sarri's side the advantage heading into the break.

Luis Alberto then added a third with a well-taken penalty before Felipe Anderson rounded off the scoring as Milan failed to win for a fifth straight game in all competitions.

With Pioli's men remaining 12 points behind Napoli, the Milan head coach believes it is time for less talk and more action from the reigning champions.

"Right now there are many things that are not working, mental and tactical aspects," Pioli told DAZN. "I'm here to talk because I have to, we should shut up and work. I too will try to talk less and work more.

"We have to get back to Milanello [Milan's training ground] quickly to work and work well, we're not playing according to our possibilities.

"Things aren't going well for us, that's for sure. In 20 days we haven't brought home any good performances or results."

With Milan now having conceded eight goals in their past three league matches, as many as in their nine previous Serie A games, Pioli knows his team will have to find a defensive fix, and quick, if they are to somehow claw back Napoli and retain the title.

"The problem right now isn't too much with the ball," Pioli explained. "But without the ball there's no cover and we leave too many spaces.

"We just have to work. The team needs to be more compact, attentive and collaborative. Continuing to make these mistakes means creating even more difficulties in the match.

"We have to go back to playing as we know how and do it as soon as possible. In the last two weeks the performances have not been what we expected and could have done."

Milan's search for a return to form could soon be boosted by the return of veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has missed all of this season with a knee injury but posted a video earlier on Tuesday of him kicking a ball at the club's training ground.

Pioli refused to point to Ibrahimovic's long absence for his team's shortcomings this season, adding: "It's too easy now [to blame Ibrahimovic's injury]. We don't want to have any excuses or justifications.

"I realise that it's a delicate moment for the boys. They will have my support. They will certainly want to be competitive again soon."

Stefano Pioli expressed confidence that his Milan side can respond against Lazio following a disappointing sequence of results.

The defending Serie A champions have endured back-to-back 2-2 draws in the league against Roma and Lecce to leave them 12 points behind leaders Napoli, albeit with a game in hand.

Pioli's side also suffered a Coppa Italia defeat to Torino and lost the Supercoppa against rivals Inter in Saudi Arabia, resulting in a four-match winless streak in all competitions.

Milan are looking to return to winning ways on Tuesday when they travel to face Lazio, and Pioli is confident the team will respond in a positive manner.

"We have to face these moments, it will be another exam to overcome with humility and unity," he said at a press conference.

"Criticism is there, because the performances have been below our possibilities and the expectations, which, being Milan, are very high, we have strong roots.

"There have been experiences with lightness and good humour, now we need compactness and the will to react. My players are not bad, they deserve my trust and respect.

"We needed to reset. The situations to improve are tactical, technical and mental. The most important aspect is the mental one.

"It's good to remember how we managed to win last year in Rome, going through difficulties, but maintaining balance and focus until winning the game at the end.

"When you coach such a strong team, it's normal that my expectations are also aimed at a maximum performance and result.

"From the missed victory against Roma to the derby, we had to do more. Now we have two options: either to continue feeling sorry for ourselves or to react. I'm sure it's the latter."

Milan can have no excuses for their heavy Supercoppa Italiana loss to Inter and must now "grow up and take responsibility", according to defender Simon Kjaer.

Stefano Pioli's side were on the end of a 3-0 loss at King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh on Wednesday as fierce rivals Inter retained the cup.

It is the first time since Juventus' 4-0 win over Lazio in 2013 that the contest between the reigning Scudetto and Coppa Italia holders has been won by a three-or-more goal margin.

The Rossoneri were also eliminated from the Coppa Italia at the last-16 stage by Torino last week and are nine points behind leaders Napoli in Serie A after drawing their past two games.

After ending the club's 11-year wait for Scudetto glory last year with a team that had the youngest average age of any title winner across Europe's top five leagues, Kjaer accepts there is no explanation for their current form.

"We got off to a bad start, then it became difficult," Kjaer, who was recalled to the starting line-up, told Milan TV. "They are good at what they do, but tonight we didn't put in the performance to deserve the win.

"We have to apologise to the fans. We have to analyse this match and then start again. There is no time to put our heads down but this match hurts. 

"The talk of young players lacking experience is over. We have to grow up and take responsibility. We have not played with our identity and we have to learn and look carefully at our mistakes. 

"It was a tough evening, especially mentally, but in these moments we have to find our identity and we have to improve in many aspects of the game."

 

Inter became the first side since Roma in 2006 to score twice in the opening 25 minutes of a Supercoppa Italiana clash, with goals from Federico Dimarco and Edin Dzeko putting them in control.

Milan's defence was far too easily beaten for both goals, as was the case when Lautaro Martinez added a third in the second half after getting the better of Fikayo Tomori.

Now on their longest winless run since February 2021, Pioli admits something has to change in terms of the team dynamic.

"We've missed out on one trophy but there is still lots of the season to turn it into a positive one," he said at his post-match press conference.

"But if we want different results, a little bit needs changing from a mental point of view and the way we approach matches. We play Lazio next and can go back to playing our football.

"The aim is to get back to being a team with confidence. We need to think about raising the quality of our game."

Milan coach Stefano Pioli dismissed the suggestion his team are suffering from a lack of "hunger" as they prepare to face city rivals Inter in Wednesday's Supercoppa Italiana.

The Rossoneri have not won any of their previous three games as they threw away a 2-0 lead in a 2-2 draw with Roma, found themselves dumped out of the Coppa Italia by 10-man Torino, and then had to fight back from 2-0 down just to rescue a point at Lecce.

Although in that period they have moved above Juventus in the Serie A table to take ownership of second, Milan are now nine points behind leaders Napoli.

Much of the build-up to the Supercoppa has been centred around Milan and Inter – who are a point further back in Serie A – requiring a trophy success to boost their respective title chances.

But the suggestion Milan are less motivated than last year did not sit well with Pioli, who said: "How does such a young team that has only won on trophy not be hungry?

"There's only one thing we can control: the quality of our game. If we lower the quality, it becomes difficult to win games. It's not a question of having a 'full stomach'."

In fact, Pioli recognises Wednesday's game in Riyadh as an opportunity to have continuity in terms of success, with Milan hoping last season's Serie A title triumph was the start of a successful new era rather than a flash in the pan.

"It's an important match. We have the chance to win another trophy, it would mean giving continuity to the path we started," Pioli added.

"We know that the last week or so hasn't been the best, but tomorrow is a game in itself, like every other derby is.

"There is a trophy up for grabs and this raises the level of the match, and so we have to raise our level."

The idea that Supercoppa success could be a catalyst was also put to Pioli's counterpart, Simone Inzaghi.

Inter's board has reportedly made it clear to Inzaghi that they view beating Milan as a possible turning point in the season, though he is seemingly not convinced there is a link between victory in this game and subsequent improvement.

"We'll have to wait and see. I remember last year that we enjoyed the Supercoppa final win over Juventus in the right way, because a few days later we were back playing away to Bergamo," he recalled.

"Football never stops. Three days later, we were talking about a 0-0 draw in Bergamo against Atalanta.

"We need to just take one game at a time. Now we've got Milan, and we're preparing for it in the best way we can.

"The players need to work hard for their team-mates because in these types of games it's the only way you end the game without regrets."

Stefano Pioli ordered Milan to cut out "trivial mistakes" after a 2-2 draw at Lecce left the Rossoneri nine points behind runaway Serie A leaders Napoli.

Last season's champions trailed Lecce 2-0 after 23 minutes on Saturday, before Rafael Leao and Davide Calabria hauled them back to level terms.

An exciting final 20 minutes could have brought a winner for either team, yet there were to be no more goals, and while the point nudged Milan up to second place, that gap to Napoli will be difficult to overcome.

Head coach Pioli told DAZN: "In the first half, we missed everything we could possibly miss. We made unforced mistakes and the match became more difficult."

Theo Hernandez turned a cross from Federico Di Francesco into his own goal to give Lecce a third-minute lead, and Pioli said after the game: "We need to be more clear-headed."

Milan's haul of 38 points from 18 games points to a sturdy start to their title defence, with the caveat Napoli have made a roaring opening to the season and have won 15 of their opening 18 matches.

Pioli said: "We are in line with last season, but it is also true that in this phase we are getting much less than we would like. We can do better and avoid trivial mistakes.

"We have to recover our principles of play and do it continuously."

Leao has had a goal involvement in each of Milan's last four league games, the first time he has had such a run, and his season's total of 13 involvements (eight goals, five assists) in 17 appearances is five ahead of where he was after the same number of matches in 2021-22.

Pioli denied the approaching Supercoppa Italiana game against Inter was a distraction to Milan.

That trophy game is coming up on Wednesday, and Pioli said: "It's a straight match against a great opponent, so we'll do everything to be ready."

He hopes to have Ante Rebic available for that game in Riyadh after recent muscle injury trouble, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic could also be in line for a return before long, the Milan boss added.

Ibrahimovic has yet to play this season, having undergone knee surgery at the end of the Scudetto-winning campaign.

Stefano Pioli understands the criticism Milan have received following a pair of demoralising results, but he insists the Scudetto race remains alive ahead of Saturday's trip to Lecce.  

Milan have endured a frustrating week, throwing away a two-goal lead in a dramatic Serie A draw with Roma on Sunday before crashing out of the Coppa Italia against 10-man Torino three days later.

The Serie A champions are seven points adrift of leaders Napoli ahead of Saturday's clash with a Lecce side unbeaten in their last five league games, but Pioli is backing his team to recover.

"It's normal that there is a more critical eye towards us because we won the Scudetto with excellent football," Pioli said. "When that fails, the finger is pointed more, but that's what we want.

"Criticism affects us because we didn't bring home the results we were supposed to bring home. 

"The season is long, the championship won't end tonight either. Let's not forget how we won the Scudetto."

Although Milan have been hamstrung by a lengthy injury list featuring the likes of Mike Maignan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Rossoneri will not look to strengthen in this month's transfer window as Pioli is content with his options.

"I remain convinced that our only problem is not having our complete squad in every department," Pioli said. "There is no need to intervene."

However, the Milan coach is hopeful of some important business being done by the club in the near future, with the Scudetto holders reportedly working on contract renewals for Olivier Giroud and Rafael Leao after Ismael Bennacer penned a new long-term deal on Thursday.

"I'm delighted for Isma. It's deserved for his will and determination," Pioli added. "Isma is very ambitious, with the humility of someone who knows he still has to improve. 

"I'm also very happy for the club, we are confirming a group of players that have become mature, it's important."

Asked specifically about the club's talks with Leao and Giroud, Pioli replied: "I hope more good news arrives. I hope so."

Stefano Pioli believes Milan struggled to cope with the psychological demands of facing 10 men in Wednesday's shock Coppa Italia defeat to Torino.

Milan's wait to lift their sixth Coppa Italia will extend to at least 21 years after they failed to take advantage of Koffi Djidji's red card, with Michel Adopo firing Torino through in extra time.

The Rossoneri were unable to beat impressive visiting goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic despite introducing big names including Rafael Leao, Olivier Giroud and Theo Hernandez, before Adopo capped a rapid break with a penalty shoot-out looming.

After Djidji was shown his second yellow card for a mistimed challenge on Junior Messias with 20 minutes of normal time remaining, Pioli acknowledged Milan lost their way.

"We thought the match had become easy and when you think like this you lose your lucidity, you play frenetically," he said at a post-match press conference.

"We certainly made many mistakes in the offensive phase, without dribbling speed, without having patience to move the defence, which became very dense and physical.

"We have faced the numerical superiority badly, mentally."

Wednesday's defeat followed a dramatic 2-2 Serie A draw with Roma in which Milan threw away a two-goal lead late on, but Pioli feels the pair of results represent something of an anomaly. 

"These are just episodes. The results are penalising us beyond our performances," the Milan boss added.

"But if tonight we were eliminated by a team with a numerical inferiority, it means that there is something to improve.

"It's a big disappointment, it was our aim to go forward in the Coppa Italia and we did not succeed. We all have to do better because this is not the level of the team."

Torino also dealt Milan just their second Serie A defeat of the season in October, meaning they have beaten the Rossoneri twice in a single campaign for the first time since doing so in 1984-85.

Torino stunned Milan to reach the Coppa Italia quarter-finals with a remarkable extra-time win at San Siro on Wednesday, Michel Adopo scoring the only goal to fire the 10-man visitors through.

A much-changed Milan side produced a disjointed display, struggling to break Torino down even after Koffi Djidji received his second booking with 20 minutes remaining in normal time.

After Vanja Milinkovic-Savic kept the Rossoneri at bay with a series of fine saves, Adopo capped a rapid break by converting Brian Bayeye's squared pass to snatch victory with a penalty shoot-out looming.

The result represents another setback for Stefano Pioli's men following Sunday's capitulation against Roma, ensuring Milan's wait for Coppa Italia glory will stretch to at least 21 years. 

Stefano Pioli denied his substitutions were to blame but acknowledged Milan had "messed up" after Roma snatched a 2-2 draw in a dramatic finish to their Serie A clash at San Siro.

Having watched Napoli go eight points clear at the summit by beating Sampdoria earlier on Sunday, Milan looked set to cut the gap once again as goals from Pierre Kalulu and Tommaso Pobega put them in command.

However, Roger Ibanez halved the deficit with Roma's first shot on target in the 87th minute, before Tammy Abraham pounced on a rebound from a stoppage-time free-kick to rescue a point.

The remarkable finale saw Milan fail to win a Serie A match when 2-0 up after 85 minutes for the first time since 2009, leaving Pioli stunned after the Rossoneri dominated the contest.

"We must continue to play like this but remember that matches finish in the 95th minute and that more attention is needed," he told DAZN.

"We conceded two goals from set-pieces which we can't concede. We are disappointed, we played well and we deserved to win. Unfortunately, we messed up our own lives."

In his post-match press conference, Pioli was asked whether his decision to introduce a third central defender in Matteo Gabbia invited a late spell of Roma pressure, but he does not believe the change – or a lack of application from his players – was to blame.

"Oddly enough we conceded two goals from set-pieces when we had more central defenders on the pitch. I reviewed the goal and there were some errors in marking," he said.

"When I make substitutions, I always think they are the best things for the team. We gave away a corner and made mistakes on set-pieces. 

"I don't think the tactical aspect has anything to do with it. I don't think we lost points for the three-man defence. Maybe I'll bring it in again.

"It will teach us to stay more focused in the next matches. It wasn't a problem of attitude. If we talk about willpower and spirit, we are second to none."

Roma failed to have a shot on target in the first half of a Serie A game for the third time this season on Sunday, while 48 per cent of their league goals this term have now come from set-pieces (10/21).

Despite the Giallorossi's lack of creativity, Abraham was always confident he would get a chance, telling DAZN: "We had to be patient, this is a difficult stadium. 

"We knew that an opportunity could come, I felt it in the finale and I was good. Before the [World Cup] break, I said we would be back in shape, now let's continue like this."

Tammy Abraham's stoppage-time equaliser completed a remarkable fightback from Roma in a 2-2 draw with Milan, dealing a blow to the champions' hopes of retaining the Serie A title.

Milan appeared to be cruising to victory when substitute Tommaso Pobega followed up Pierre Kalulu's first-half header with a second goal 13 minutes from time, at which point Roma had failed to conjure anything resembling a genuine chance.

However, Roger Ibanez nodded in a powerful header against the run of play after 87 minutes, prompting a late flurry in which Abraham reacted fastest to a rebound from another set-piece at San Siro.

A sole point saw Milan lose valuable ground in the title race, seven points behind Napoli after the Scudetto favourites successfully protected their own 2-0 advantage against Sampdoria earlier on Sunday.

 

Milan coach Stefano Pioli insists Napoli's first Serie A defeat of the season has done little to alter the picture in the Scudetto race ahead of Sunday's clash with Roma.

Serie A champions Milan made a successful return to action following the World Cup break on Wednesday, beating Salernitana 2-1 after taking a two-goal lead within 15 minutes. 

That result took the Rossoneri to within five points of leaders Napoli, a gap which the Partenopei failed to extend as they fell to their first league defeat of the campaign at Inter.

Milan ended an 11-year wait to capture the Scudetto with an outstanding run of form over the second half of last season, and Pioli feels they will need to produce something similar to see off the challenge of Napoli this term.

"Not much has changed with one game," Pioli said on Saturday. "We're not there to count the points behind.

"We have to make our run and we need a lot of points to win the Scudetto. We're thinking about playing well, raising the level and winning tomorrow.

"Roma are a strong, complete team, they have important offensive qualities and physicality. They lost against Napoli in the last few games and won against Inter, we will respect them a lot. 

"Then there's us, our will and our determination. Let's get back to playing at San Siro and we will do it with enthusiasm and energy."

Pioli will be unable to call upon Mike Maignan against Roma, with the goalkeeper's recovery from the thigh injury which sidelined him for the World Cup taking longer than anticipated.

Asked when Maignan might return, Pioli said: "We don't have timings, we must not take any risks and I can't say if it will be two, three, four or five weeks. 

"The muscle doesn't respond as it should, now I can't say when we will have him available."

Sunday's game will see Pioli do battle with Jose Mourinho, with the Milan boss being the only coach to face him more than once in Serie A and boast a 100 per cent winning record.

Following Roma's 3-1 defeat in this same fixture 12 months ago, Mourinho said he was "doubly happy" to have turned down the chance to coach Milan in 2019, but Pioli refused to be drawn into a war of words with his Giallorossi counterpart.

"Everyone can express their opinions," Pioli said when reminded of Mourinho's comments. "Milan was a great opportunity for me and I'll make the most of it as long as I can."

Milan have signed goalkeeper Devis Vasquez from Club Guarani with Mike Maignan still out of action.

The 24-year-old Colombian completed his medical on Monday, with his departure from the Paraguayan club for San Siro confirmed on Tuesday.

Vasquez has signed a deal with the Serie A champions until June 2026 and his arrival comes with Maignan still absent due to a calf injury that ruled the France international out of the World Cup

Rossoneri head coach Stefano Pioli revealed he is not expecting Maignan to be fit for the foreseeable future.

Asked ahead of Wednesday's Serie A clash with Salernitana whether he had a timeframe for Maignan's return, he said: "At this moment no, the evaluations we are making tell us that it is not possible to force now and therefore I do not know how to give a timing on the return. Not soon, I can say that for sure."

Vasquez joins Antonio Mirante and Ciprian Tatarusanu in competing for a starting berth in Maignan's absence.

Stefano Pioli has made it clear Inter's clash with Napoli is not "decisive" in the Serie A title race, with his focus remaining on Milan running their own race.

The champions will resume the season eight points behind Napoli and will be hoping for assistance from their city rivals in their quest to close the gap when they face the leaders at San Siro on Wednesday

Head coach Pioli says Milan must focus on their own game following a break for the World Cup.

"We don't have to race anyone but ourselves. To win the championship you will need more than 85 points," he told a press conference ahead of Wednesday's clash against Salernitana.

"We have the chance to do better than last year, but we have to push hard. I think it is very correct not to go too far with those thoughts, but to think about tomorrow, when we will find a warm environment and a tough opponent: that's what we need to start well.

"[Inter versus Napoli is] important yes, not decisive. We don't think about the other games. Let's focus on our stuff and then see. We are the first to play: what matters is our race."

Milan's quest for silverware is not solely focused on Serie A though, with the Supercoppa Italiana later this month presenting Pioli's side with their first chance to lift a trophy, while they are also still competing in the Champions League and Coppa Italia.

"We are in the race on four fronts, and it is certain that we want to win something. We wrote history last year, but in history we want to stay, by winning," he added.

"If we want to consider ourselves a winning team, we have to win something again this year.

"I saw a report on [Rafael] Leao: many goals and assists, but titles won, one. We need to do more. We have four options to do that."

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