Stefano Pioli’s future: Europa League triumph needed to secure AC Milan future

AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli is facing an uncertain future with the Rossoneri and may need to lift the Europa League this season to retain his job.

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AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli is facing an uncertain future at the Rossoneri and his hopes of remaining in charge next season may hinge on winning the Europa League.

As reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport, Milan‘s largely underwhelming season in Serie A has cast doubts over the coach, as they sit a huge 16 points behind Inter after Matchday 27. Whilst they can still finish second, Milan were expected to be challenging for a title this season given their summer business.

Having also been knocked out of the Coppa Italia, the Europa League has taken on immense importance for the Rossoneri in 2023/24. With teams like Liverpool, Bayer Leverkusen and an in-form AS Roma in the tournament, winning it will not be a simple task.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek celebrates scoring for AC Milan. (Photo: acmilan.com)

Europa League success the only guarantee

Milan were sent crashing out of the Champions League at the group stage before Christmas, but a late 2-1 win over Newcastle United on Matchday 6 ensured they secured passage into the Europa League.

In addition to lifting one of the few trophies to have eluded the club over the years, winning the Europa League final in Dublin in May would also guarantee a return to the Champions League regardless of league position.

Milan are the sort of club that is always expected to be challenging for trophies, and the Diavolo’s hierarchy are determined not to end the campaign empty-handed after a summer of investment.

Indeed, a top-four league position is considered the bare minimum and a series of underwhelming results this season has ramped up the pressure on Pioli, meaning his job is on the line unless he brings home the trophy.

His current contract with Milan expires at the end of the 2024/25 season, so the club are reaching a stick-or-twist moment in regards to his future.

AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli. [@acmilan]

Pioli’s AC Milan legacy

Having taken over at Milan in 2019, the former Inter and Lazio coach has enjoyed a fruitful spell and led the Rossoneri to their first scudetto in 11 years when they lifted the Serie A title in 2022.

Pioli‘s Milan side also earned a return to the Champions League and have maintained their place in Europe’s elite competition for three seasons, whilst reaching the semi-finals last term.

However, the 58-year-old has come in for criticism this season in particular, with his side lacking consistency and suffering some embarrassing defeats, including a 5-1 drubbing in the Derby della Madonnina by Inter in September.

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