Former AC Milan manager Fabio Capello has criticised the summer mercato, while also speaking on other issues such as Stefano Pioli’s future and the sacking of Paolo Maldini.

If there is anyone who knows what it takes to succeed at Milan it is Capello, who was head coach in two separate spells. The Italian won four Serie A titles with the Rossoneri as well as the 1993–94 Champions League, defeating Barcelona 4–0 in the final.

This current side are a far cry from some of the teams that he was able to field. Milan are currently enduring a difficult moment again under Pioli’s leadership, with no real hopes of a Scudetto push, Champions League group stage elimination confirmed and now pressure on to perform in the Coppa Italia and the Europa League.

Capello gave an interview to La Gazzetta dello Sport yesterday which was published in this morning’s edition of the paper (as seen below) and he had his say on a number of topical issues.

Pioli’s future is in question…

“Now it makes no sense to change coach, but Pioli must find solutions. Continuing along the same line is not good. We need to understand where to act: defence, midfield, attack. Two years ago Pioli had a formidable midfield at his disposal, with Tonali, Kessie, Bennacer, Calhanoglu.

“What it is now is not clear, but the midfield is the engine of the team. I would act there, even if with so many absences it is not easy. The teams that act in counterattacks put Milan in difficulty, we’ve seen it several times.

“I would work on this and try to have a more attentive defense. In the meantime, we could try new tactical solutions in defence. But the psychological aspect is also fundamental. Tactics provide remedies, but they can’t do everything.

“Playing in a zone wouldn’t be the remedy for all ills, but it would help. In this way, Milan could be less aggressive, but more orderly. And at this moment it’s important to have balance and filter. I repeat, the midfield has changed a lot and is now neither fish nor fowl.

“I hope for Milan that Bennacer returns to being the player he was before his physical problems. I would change my way of thinking. In defense without Tomori, Kjaer and Thiaw, there are many absentees. The central players are missing. We need to shake things up, change direction. But sacking Pioli now wouldn’t do much good.”

Milan continue to have injury problems…

“I may be old-fashioned, but I think little preparation has been done to go and play in the USA or elsewhere, as many teams do. Go play now for commercial reasons, then pay the price.

“We should start working in stages again, but when great teams meet, even in a friendly, no one wants to lose. Now they have to deal with so many absences, it’s complicated.”

What are your thoughts on the summer mercato?

“I would have signed two quality players that change your team, not so many prospects. Pioli, from what I read, approved everything. Let’s say that he was corporate and condescending and now he must correct the situation.

“Everything is still at stake. Of course, elimination from the Champions League hurts, but we must not get too emotional. But here, maybe enough with the algorithms.”

And Maldini’s sacking?

“If a management group makes a decision, it means that it is convinced of the goodness of the choice. Beyond the abilities of Maldini and Massara, who did a good job, now it is a question of moving forward, because I repeat, there is There’s still a lot at stake.”

Ibrahimovic is back at the club, will he help?

“He was a champion and he is an intelligent person. The problem is that from the statement written in political dialect it is not clear what role he has.

“A coaching role? The risk is that it will undermine Pioli’s leadership. The problem is not his ego, but what he is supposed to do in a practical way. I honestly didn’t understand it and therefore it’s difficult to talk about it.”


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