No excuses for Pioli as Milan lose amid club chaos

Changes at the top of the club and confusion over Serie A's possible stoppage were not to blame for Milan's loss to Genoa, said Stefano Pioli.

Stefano Pioli takes blame for defeat despite external issues.   -  Getty Images

Stefano Pioli refused to blame the confusion over the possible suspension of Serie A or the upheaval at the club for Milan's surprise 2-1 Serie A defeat to Genoa.

Kick-off between Parma and SPAL was delayed for over an hour as Italian authorities considered whether all Serie A games should be suspended amid the ongoing battle against the coronavirus outbreak.

Milan was still unsure of the final decision when it left the training ground for an empty San Siro, with no fans allowed at any sporting event until April 3.

Read: Boban compares Milan to North Korea, reveals Rangnick deal done

However, Pioli, who received backing from the club on Saturday as chief football officer Zvonimir Boban was relieved of his duties, was unwilling to use either of those events as an excuse for a dismal display.

"Clearly, playing without a crowd isn't football. That is true for all the teams, even more so for the hosts," Pioli told DAZN.

"Besides all that, we had the chance to prove our quality, that we had the strength to go past all of these issues and still win it, but we didn't win, and it was largely our own fault.

"When we left our training ground on the bus to get here, Parma-SPAL had not yet kicked off and we didn't know if it was going to. Clearly, that wasn't helpful, but we were in the same situation as our opponents, so again, that cannot be used as an excuse.

"As to whether Serie A should continue, there are people who know far more about the situation than me.

"We need no excuses or justifications, not for being behind closed doors, nor for any difficulties within the club or debates. We should've been more determined in certain key moments of the match.

"We have no excuses, we ought to do much better than this. It's difficult to say you didn't play well when you spent most of the game in the opposition half and had 22 shots on goal. It was not a technical or tactical issue, it was a lack of determination.

"It was such a good opportunity to prove that we felt strong and could overcome the obstacles, but it was a surreal situation for our opponents too. We failed to show determination at the right moments and that has nothing to do with playing behind closed doors or chaos within the club."

Asked about claims made by Boban that Pioli is a lame duck because Milan agreed a deal with Ralf Rangnick in December, the coach replied: "I read it, to be honest, I have to remain concentrated on my work.

"I am not worried about my future, I don't know what will happen, this is part of the job. This is a prestigious club and we have to end the season as well as possible.

"It's not my decision, all I can do is work well and try to end the season as well as we can. The rest of that is not something I can really discuss."

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