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.”
4 – AC Milan have conceded at least four goals without scoring in a Serie A match for their first time since Atalanta-AC Milan 5-0 on 22 December 2019. Difficulty.#LazioMilan
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) January 24, 2023
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.”
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