Pioli puts Milan on the right track yet future uncertain

AC Milan has only lost two games since the start of the year under Stefano Pioli who has sparked a revival at San Siro after an early slump in the season.

Stefano Pioli remains philosophical about his future at AC Milan despite improved results.   -  Getty Images

Unbeaten since the restart of the season and with its players finally performing to their potential, AC Milan seem to be on the right track -- yet the coach who has sparked the revival still faces an uncertain future.

Stefano Pioli has carried on against a backdrop of reports, which have carried on for months, that he will be ditched at the end of the season and replaced by Ralf Rangnick, who as sporting director has masterminded RB Leipzig's rise in Germany.

Milan, which dropped to 14th in Serie A at one point this season, has lost only twice since the start of the year and climbed to sixth, putting it on course for a Europa League place which has become its target for this season.

It impressively thumped second-placed Lazio 3-0 away on Saturday and on Tuesday hopes to throw a spanner in the works of leader Juventus, which is seven points clear of the field with eight matches to play.

Lazio, meanwhile, visits relegation-threatened Lecce, also on Tuesday.

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Pioli, a veteran of the Serie A coaching circuit, has been remarkably philosophical about the situation, insisting that uncertainty is part of his profession.

“I don't know what the future holds for the squad and for me but we're working very well as we have done all season,” said Pioli, appointed in October as a replacement for Marco Giampaolo.

The 54-year-old has helped talented but inconsistent players such as Hakan Calhanoglu, Lucas Paqueta and Ante Rebic find a new lease of life this season and has also been helped by the arrival of 38-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic as a reinforcement.

“They players have been working very well in training -- this is a very responsible squad, aware of the importance of the shirt they wear,” said Pioli.

“The players are continuing to give 110 percent, even those who signed contracts to the end of the season and probably won't remain here after that. They are determined to prove they are still strong players at this level and to give their best for Milan.

“We think we deserve a better positing in the table -- we can't qualify for the Champions League any more but at least we have to get the club back in a European competition.”

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