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Capello: ‘Pioli knows how to study opponents’

Fabio Capello believes Milan coach Stefano Pioli did a brilliant job of changing his tactics to beat Napoli at the weekend. The Rossoneri took a slender lead but held on to take themselves back to the top of the table in a tight title race.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Capello heaped praise on Pioli and his approach to the match and touched on the other title contenders this season:

“Bravo Pioli. Against Napoli he changed the tactical system and won, if he didn’t he would have risked the result. You can not always play the same way, there are opponents who must be studied, contrasted in the strong points and you focus on the weak ones. It’s like a battle to prepare for. But in the game you can’t always do what you have prepared, but if the idea is right the players follow you.

Milan’s system? Let’s say it was a 4-1-3 and a half-1, because Leao did not always return to midfield. He’s a great player, fun, sometimes worth the ticket alone, but in recent games he seems more selfish. Maybe he feels anxious to score. Let’s be clear: it’s a small nitpick.

Pioli hasn’t always had the players to play out from the back, he could only use a temporary fix, but now that the squad is almost all back, you can see his work. The thing that surprised me most is that he defends very well. For the first time they did not suffer a counterattack: Osimhen was always doubled up on.

Pioli

Milan have replaced one great goalkeeper with another great goalkeeper. Pioli has a nice midfield, dynamic, quality, especially if Kessie returns to his form from last year. Above all there is the left wing which is one of the best in Europe. Milan are reliable and imaginative. Against the big teams they’ve always played well, reacted to situations, scored goals. Even if Inter remain favorites because they are a more complete team. Milan are beautiful, fun , but with so many young player the performance fluctuates more.

Are tactics important? Tactics and above all quality: that’s what makes the difference. In this, Maldini and Massara have been very good: they looked ahead and too risks, Leao did not come for free…The important thing is to change, not to fossilize. Guardiola also changes. It was said that he only plays the ball on the ground. You would have to be blind to not see the changes on the pitch now.

But do you know what our real weakness is when we play abroad? English and German sides play one, maximum two touches. The Spaniards are used to the tiqui-taka, apart from Ancelotti’s Real Madrid which, due to the characteristics of the players, plays vertically. In Italy, on the other hand, we always play three touches: Control, touch, look and other touch. Too many.

That is why when we are pressed we go into difficulty: we do not react immediately, the circulation of the ball is slow. We are not as good as the Spaniards who are deadly in the channels. I don’t even see the midfielders receiving the ball and turning quickly towards the goal. Fortunately in Italy we have Tudor, Dionisi and Andreazzoli who always look forward and look to play a fast game. They understand where the game is going.

Juventus? We can’t be too critical of Allegri, he does what he can with the players he has. It was also said about Mourinho and Sarri: they are not like before. Let’s give these great coaches time. Now Allegri has a player that really scares teams (Vlahovic), let’s see what happens….

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Serie A obsessive, lover of 90's Italian defenders, bourbon and wide open highways.