Milan coach Stefano Pioli accepted the blame for the 3-1 defeat against Udinese and claimed that it was his fault that his team could not play offensively.
The Rossoneri were supposed to have a celebratory day as Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his first start since January 2022, took on the role of captain, and broke the record for the oldest ever Serie A scorer at the age of 41 years and 166 days.
Unfortunately, their joy was short-lived as Beto scored from six yards in first half stoppages, cancelling out Milan’s temporary equalizer by Ibrahimovic. In the second half, Milan tried to push forward, but were not very threatening. Kingsley Ehizibue then scored at the back post to secure the 3-1 win.
Milan fell behind Napoli again in the competition for the Serie title
Pioli said: “It was a negative performance. When the team plays like this, neither aggressive, nor intense, nor precise or focused, it means the coach has worked badly in preparing the match. We were too far below our capabilities this evening.
“You could say Ibra should’ve been higher, so should Leao, but ultimately this was overall a performance too low for our levels.”
Milan’s hopes of finishing in the top four have suffered another major setback, as they have only managed to secure one point from their last three Serie A matches. However, Pioli dismisses the notion that they are more focused on the Champions League.
He added: “It would be a serious problem if we were already thinking about the quarter-final, especially as finishing in the top four is the main priority.
“No, it’s just that we weren’t playing at our level the last few games, and if we don’t play at our level in terms of intensity, organisation and focus, we end up with performances like this.
“I am certainly disappointed, because in recent weeks we haven’t done well enough and haven’t played to our standards. We have to raise the level in everything, because this was not a good performance at all.”