Pioli’s tactics has a weakness that he do not prepare a plan B. You can rely on overcrowding the opponents half and intense pressing, but Pioli doesn’t seem to have any other alternative plan to go to when that doesn’t work, no matter in-game situation or which opponent.
The oppositions now are quick to resolve to a defending and low-block deep because they know how Pioli plays due to his worrying tactical inflexibility. Then a manager cannot solve that issue by relying on his players with individual brilliance. Maybe not over the course of an entire season in an in-game situation or single game.
The man-marking system he uses also receives some concerns. Pioli removes every safety net by assigning an opponent to mark to every outfield player.
His opponent then has no obstacles to motor forwards if one of his players misses losses a runner or a tackle. In the first Coppa Italia match against Atalanta Josip Iličić provided the most clear example, and there were also countless others, especially in the midfield role.
Pioli’s biggest pitfalls are the man-marking comes and explosive pressure.
Pioli’s teams have tended at getting past low-blocks to struggle while in possession on the opponents half. For example, teams who defend with all ten players behind or sometimes with the ball two banks of four.
Perhaps it was Pioli’s ideas that were lacking or this can explain because his players weren’t creative enough to know how to get past them.
One thing is for certain: Pioli leaves his team vulnerable for counters due his utilization of many players to overcrowd the opposition half teams and he struggled against teams which sit deep in the past.
Multiple times opponents ping a ball long in behind Pioli’s defence that is often unable to recover the situation after looking for the right time to regain the ball and having ended up with their low-block suffering through the intense pressure.