Sacchi: ‘If Milan can’t get a big name, they should keep Pioli’


Legendary Milan coach Arrigo Sacchi believes the Rossoneri shouldn’t sack Stefano Pioli, unless they’re able to replace him with a top coach. Pioli’s future at the club is uncertain after a muddling campaign that saw them drop out of the title race, Coppa Italia and Europe. Speaking with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Sacchi explained why If Milan aren’t able to secure a ‘big’ name, they should stay as they are:

What do you think about what’s happening at Milan?

“I’ve read that, to replace Pioli, the names of Lopetegui, Fonseca, Galtier, Gallardo, Tedesco, Van Bommel, De Zerbi are circulating. Coaches I know and for whom I have deep respect. However, beyond each one’s resume, it seems to me that a fundamental aspect has not been taken into account.”

What’s that?

“The fact that while it’s complicated for a foreign player to integrate into Italian football, it’s even more so for a coach. In my opinion, it takes at least two seasons to understand what our football is like. And I say this regardless of the value of the coaches under consideration. Whoever arrives needs time to adapt to a reality different from all other countries.”

So what to do?

“Why not keep Pioli? I believe his experience at Milan is overall positive. He won a Scudetto, and the club had spent less than its rivals. On that occasion, he surprised everyone and entertained the public. This season, if all goes well, he places second in the league: meaning only Inter has performed better. And may I ask?”

Go ahead.

“Did Pioli want all the players who were bought, or were they chosen by the executives? Because if they were chosen by the executives, the responsibilities should be shared. I believe Pioli deserves respect for what he has given to Milan and how he has behaved. It seems to me that confirming him wouldn’t be settling. On the contrary, he’s a coach who has managed to improve over time. Yes, he has made mistakes too, but to err is human. And above all, he’s an honest person who, I’ve read, recently had the humility to question himself and admit his mistakes.”

To sum up: how would you behave?

“Firstly, I would consider the option of confirming Pioli. Then there would be the second option.”

Which is?

“Going for a top coach.”


“Well, the names of the most popular coaches are Klopp, Ancelotti, Guardiola, Conte… But I don’t think these coaches are available for Milan’s bench.”


“The third possibility remains.”

Which is?

“Opting for a young profile, a coach who is eager to emerge and who has already demonstrated his worth. It seems to me that among the names examined by Milan’s executives, there was that of De Zerbi. He would be a coach who could do well. He has had important experiences, also from a human point of view, which have facilitated his maturation. I think of the time he spent in Ukraine. And then he went to England, where he experienced the most fascinating league in the world. He knows Serie A very well, he did well at Sassuolo, and he improved the players at his disposal. And then, a fundamental point to consider, De Zerbi gives a style of play to teams.”

Do you think he’s ready for an important bench like Milan’s?

“I believe so. I repeat: he has enough experience and, above all, he has the ideas to improve the team. And then, truth be told, he could do what I did when I arrived at Milan in 1986. I, however, had a strong club behind me that protected and defended me. Today’s executives must behave with the future coach as Berlusconi and Galliani did with me.”


Serie A obsessive.