Il Diavolo is in 14th place in the championship for distance covered in the match, but it is above all a question of intensity and attention. Also bad on second balls and tackles
At Milan’s home, everything is the other way around. Murphy’s law applied to the Pioli gang: “If something can go wrong, it will”. And in fact Theo gets hurt before Lazio, the reserve Dest loses Marusic on 2-0, the warned Bennacer kicks the ball thirty meters away getting booked and Calabria loses almost all the duels with Zaccagni. Milan’s 2023 is a hard one: one victory, three defeats, two trophies lost in four days, three slaps taken in Riyadh, four in Rome and two draws. Physical problem? Mental? of game?
At Milanello, in the button rooms where every data is analyzed in detail, they are sure: Milan is physically there. Or at least it’s not down as drastically as the results might suggest. The numbers from the match in Rome, for example, tell us that Pioli’s team kept the ball more, tried to sink it, created a little something, but at the same time won less than half of the tackles of the biancocelesti (8 17). Translated: Milan lost almost all second balls. There where you need to put intensity and leg, head and grit. Net of an excellent game by Milinkovic and company, perhaps the best of the Sarri era, Milan saw very little. The beauty is that in April 2022 Tonali scored at the Olimpico with three seconds to go, winning a tough match in the last minute. In nine months everything has changed. And in the negative.
The fundamental points of piolism have been cancelled: above all the defense, the flagship of the qualification in the Champions League of 2020-21 and of the Scudetto. Two years ago, after a dry 3-0 against Lazio, Milan reorganized themselves and didn’t concede any more goals until the end. Now the step seems more complicated. Kalulu and Tomori – injured yesterday – have left the top positions in individual statistics. Leao is still the player who dribbles the most in Serie A (32 successful one-on-ones), but in 2023 he is another. Less incisive, more smoky, different body language. The bone of contention that disunited Milan, perhaps, was the training camp in Dubai in December, where the team scored just one goal and conceded nine, losing all friendlies (Arsenal, Liverpool). The first creaks were already evident in the desert, but they sounded like passing noises.
Team chapter: Milan are 14th for distance traveled in the match – 107.075 km – behind Lazio, Inter, Juve, Rome. The theme, perhaps, is not only how much it runs, but how it runs. The coverage of the field, the pressing, the intensity. A problem of mind and motivations, perhaps. Tonali is down, Diaz has been eclipsed after an excellent start, De Ketelaere has not had an impact as he should have (and in the league he hasn’t played as a starter for several months). Only Bennacer is saved in the middle, certainly the best – or among the best – of the season. The example is in the verticalisations: yesterday 138, against 176 for Lazio. Sarri knows each other, plays like this, ball to Luis Alberto and he will do something, Tonali and Bennacer are different midfielders, but the offensive drive is a completely different thing from last season. Milan need to find themselves above all from a mental point of view. Pioli has always been good at this: after the 5-0 win in Bergamo in 2019 he took the team back by the hair and brought it to the goals it achieved. Now he is forced to reset everything again.
January 25th – 3.30pm
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#Milan #racing #badly #Piolis #problems
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