The Risks and Benefits of Staying the Course

Social media is rife with fans who insist that all Milan needs are some investments in the transfer market. Or that it is time for Pioli to go. (Ironically, this second group are probably the same group who wanted him out before he even signed for Milan.) But there is a lot more going on here than just transfers or coaches. Most everyone would like to see something change, because the results are getting progressively worse. Our Scudetto hopes have vanished in just a few short weeks, and now we are left hoping that we will even be able to qualify for Champions League again next year. Reports are that management are not planning to make any changes. What are the risks and benefits of staying the course?

The 'Pioli Out' vultures are circling again, and there are risks and benefits to sticking with him

The risks of investing are not really an option. Back in December, I wrote about the problems we would face in this January transfer market. With less than 24 hours left of this mercato, Bakayoko and everyone else are still here, and the only transaction Milan has made was to invest €500,000 in another goalkeeper in preparation for the expiration of either or both of Tatarusanu and Mirante's contracts in June.

While most of us recognize that our squad could use some improvement, there can actually be consequences to bringing in players at this point in the season. It may seem like we don't have much to lose, but with the fragility of the mentality right now, creating more competition for playing spots may actually not be a good idea. Plus, as Galliani would always say, those players we have coming back from injury are like new signings. And we have plenty of those.

Our big January signing will be (hopefully) the return of Maignan after nearly 5 months

Making a coaching change at this point could certainly be a spark that could bring the team we knew back to life. At least temporarily. And a change in tactics is needed, even by Pioli's own admission. Certainly, paying out Pioli's contract would cost much less than losing the money we would earn from Champions League qualification. Losing your job is a known evil of the coaching profession, and Pioli must be tired of being asked to make wine out of water with no reinforcements and a policy of no excuses. But making a change is also a risk that could still cost us qualification and Pioli's salary.

However there are benefits to keeping Pioli as well. For one, it is his mentality and sense of family that united this team in the first place. That very mentality is what won us the Scudetto. While that has been lost right now and everyone seems to be struggling to find it, the chances of him being able to find it and maintain it or even build upon it to get through the season are actually greater than bringing in another coach. Particularly since his players are so emotionally invested in him. And let's not forget what miracles he has wrought in developing our young players alongside personalities like Ibrahimović. It is not just any manager that could accomplish that.

Pioli has worked wonders with our young players

Whether or not people care to admit it, Milan's performance did improve on Sunday, even if they conceded more goals. So management may have the right idea about sticking with what we have and working through this horrific slump. However, with Inter this weekend, then facing Torino, who we already lost twice to this year, plus Champions League right around the corner, the "Fine as we are" approach is incredibly risky.

Sure, we have the hopeful return of Maignan and possibly Ibrahimović soon, but we just lost Tomori and now Bennacer to muscle injuries, which definitely does not help us in the Derby this weekend. The injuries will definitely continue to plague us until there is a definitive change in the mentality. That change will likely require one of either an exorcism, a sports psychologist, or a change in coach. Or perhaps any combination of the three.

Maldini was supposedly promised more to invest, but who knows what is really happening?

The media are describing it as a "delicate moment" on a good day, then trashing the players, coach, technical directors, and club the rest of the time. Which does not help at all. The bottom line is that making changes is a gamble. Not making changes is a gamble. The club right now are gambling with the fate of our team this season, qualification next season, as well as the mentality of the players and also the fans. We really have no choice but to trust that those who led us to the unexpected success can also lead us out of this unfortunate poor form. Those are the risks and benefits of staying the course. 

This post inspired by the music of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 21
il Derby della Madonnina
Inter vs. Milan
Sunday, February 5, 2023 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)

The Risks and Benefits of Staying the Course The Risks and Benefits of Staying the Course Reviewed by Elaine on 1:00 AM Rating: 5
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