Zlatan Ibrahimovic would add "determination and character" to a beleaguered Milan side who suffered their worst Serie A defeat in over 21 years against Atalanta, says Stefano Pioli.
The Rossoneri were embarrassed in Bergamo on Sunday with Josip Ilicic's double and goals from Alejandro Gomez, Mario Pasalic and Luis Muriel consigning them to a 5-0 defeat – not since May 1998 against Roma had they lost by five goals.
Ex-Milan striker Ibrahimovic has long been linked with a return and, although Pioli insists a deal for the veteran striker remains in the hands of the club's hierarchy, the head coach acknowledged the qualities he would add to his squad.
"These are questions for the club owners," he told DAZN when asked about Ibrahimovic, who is a free agent.
"People have talked about Ibrahimovic for over a month now. I've already said he is a champion and would bring that determination and character to raise the intensity and focus even during training, more so than in games."
Milan's woes were mainly in the final half an hour, where they conceded four goals, and Pioli admitted every part of their gameplan was wrong.
"We got the game wrong against the worst possible team we could've done that with," he added.
"Clearly, this cannot be the real Milan, because we showed strong performances in other matches recently.
"We have to take some of the blame too, because we made mistakes and have to work. This cannot be us.
"Today's performance makes it look as if it was our first game together, but that is not the case. We need to get back to what we were doing before and remember the matches we had before this."
Milan could head into the mid-season break in the bottom half of Serie A and Pioli is set to plan his strategy for the January transfer window.
"We struggled to mount any kind of reaction or high press, weren't sharp tactically and the club knows the evaluations I've been making with this team over three months," Pioli said.
"I know the strengths and weaknesses, so we are working out a strategy for the January transfer window."