AC Milan 1-2 Inter: Five things we learned – failed experiments and familiar disasters

By Ivan Stoev -

AC Milan lost their sixth straight derby against Inter on Monday night at San Siro, which meant their city rivals secured the Scudetto in the process.

Milan have made a habit of starting these games badly and they trailed early on when Francesco Acerbi headed in a Benjamin Pavard flick-on from a corner. Marcus Thuram doubled the advantage with a shot from the edge of the box early in the second half.

Fikayo Tomori’s late finish from close range halved the deficit but in truth Milan got what they deserved after another very questionable performance in a big game. Below are five things we learned…

1. Same old story

It’s definitely easier to highlight what went wrong than what went right, so let’s start with the defence or rather the lack thereof.

Both Inter goals were cheap, as the issues Milan have had from set pieces were highlighted yet again after a corner kick whilst on the second goal the Rossoneri gave too much space and time to Thuram who didn’t fail to take advantage of it.

The only one that didn’t struggle was Theo who defended well and tried to make things happen going forward, but his performance was ultimately poor given that he lost his temper and earned himself a red card towards the end.

What is frustrating is that Milan have conceded plenty of set pieces to Simone Inzaghi’s Inter in the past couple of seasons, and Thuram scored in the derby before by coming on off the left onto his right foot. Lessons were not learned.

2. A failed experiment

It’s been a couple of seasons now where Milan have waited for Leao to find consistency and be a leader of this team, but maybe that’s just not going to happen. It must be said as a precursor that playing him as a centre-forward was strange.

The Portuguese had good moments and managed to get an assist and admittedly he was involved in the most chances, but he failed to convert when given a great opportunity and looked uninterested throughout the game, walking around, waving his hand and not putting the effort to turn things around.

It doesn’t matter how good he is when things are going his way he need to change his mentality and find the solutions himself when things are going south, as is his duty given he is the highest paid player on the time.

The interesting question here is whether a new coach can fix this and make him a top player and if not Milan might have to seriously consider if they are willing to part ways with the winger in the situation of a big offer coming in.

3. Some bright sparks

Noah Okafor exactly what Milan needed after coming off the bench, providing pace and intensity up front which led to some chances for the Rossoneri in the final part of the game.

It is a shame that he doesn’t get more minutes even when Pioli is supposedly rotating his squad and trying to find ways to get back to winning. It might even have been an idea to field him up front over Leao, if he was adamant on not starting Giroud.

Samuel Chukwueze can feel disappointed not to have started again but he also had a positive game, although nothing flashy as his finish product was lacking.

It’s just bizarre that he continues to have to make do with substitute appearances to prove himself given how consistently well he has played as of late, and he often comes on in unfavourable situations too.

4. A familiar disaster

You can make a very strong argument that Milan have lost the last six derbies on a row because their midfield has been totally overrun. Ismael Bennacer, Yacine Adli, Yunus Musah and Ruben Loftus-Cheek all had disastrous games.

To a certain extend we can feel sorry for Musah who keeps getting played out of position and even though he can play on the right it is clearly not where he shines but Pioli insists on playing him there.

Bennacer and Loftus-Cheek were pretty much ghosts excluding a tackle here and there and they didn’t provide anything on the ball.

Adli was the only one trying as seen by his reaction after being subbed off, but when he was on the ball he, too, struggled with his accuracy. Credit to him for covering a lot of ground and at least trying.

In games like this, it is so important to have one or two players able to grab the occasion and control the tempo, taking the sting out of things and pushing on in the right moments. Milan are so lacking in that department.

5. End of the road

What a way for Pioli’s era to end. The coach has been losing consistently to Inter since last season and he keeps the same game style every single game against the Nerrazzurri which lead to the same result.

In addition to the poor and predictable tactics he also chose his starting XI poorly, similarly to the Roma game as he continues to not play players that have shown very good form as of late, even playing those searching for form out of possession.

There is only second place left to fight for, which means that 2023-24 will go down as a very forgettable season overall, and another regression after the title win of 2021-22, while a chasm has been opened up with Inter who look a lot more solid under Simone Inzaghi.

The only thing left to do is to wait and see who Pioli’s successor will be, because currently it feels like a very slow procession towards an inevitable fate.

Tags AC Milan Milan Inter


    1. Juventus had the excuse of not having reinforced the team during summer and being excluded from European competitions. But overall, they did also drop badly.

      1. That’s is the more reason I belived ,there should match inter head to head because no European football just a game every damn week players relax and no much injuries unlike Milan,I think juventus did poorly more than milan the only problem we have is pioli inability to think and be tactical

    2. Easy Milan has worst season because they won’t win any thropies this season.
      Juve has a slight chance of winning coppa italia

  1. The way Pioli have used and the amount of playing time he has given to new players, like Chukwueze, Okafor, Jovic, Musah, is another proof that he totally mismanaged CDK last season. From playing him out of position in the midfield instead of up front or on the wings to barely playing him in the 2nd half of the season.
    When it comes to the new coach, management indecisiveness cost Milan dearly. There was no reason to wait and see how the season will end to make a decision on Pioli. You had almost 5 years to analyze and judge. Juventus stole the coach that would have been perfect for the team.
    Don’t know what coach they wanna hire because the media gave us about 30 names in the last 3,4 days, but hiring a coach that has no connection to serie A will be a huge mistake.
    Milan needs a leader on the sidelines who can transmit a winning spirit since there is no leader on the pitch.
    Besides tactics, you also need a coach who is a teacher and who will improve players. Almost no player improved under Pioli.

    1. CDK just does not fit the formation, he was signed by Maldini without consulting Pioli, so you expect Pioli to change his entire system just for one player?

      1. “he was signed by Maldini without consulting Pioli”

        You seem pretty confident on this speculation. Pioli himself stated he was always involved in dealing transfers with Maldini.

      2. I’d expect pioli to integrate a player. But sure, yeah he could and should have changed the whole system to facilitate the new signing.

        A) the system was not working
        B) it’s just plain smart to adapt to strengths of players you have (which he hasn’t done since 2020)

    2. “Almost no player improved under Pioli.”

      That is 100% accurate this season. No one reached their last season’s level. Except Adli but you cannot judge his last season as he didn’t really play at all.

    3. “Almost no player improved under Pioli”

      Yeah, no one improved at all.

      Not Theo, Leao, Brahim, Tomori, Pulisic, Thiaw, Tonali, Kalulu.

      They all reached their current level (or previous peak level) solely on their talent.

      Milan reached their consecutive CL places, 1 Scudetto, all by magically collecting players that was already great. That is after how many, 8 years without Champions league? Oh was it solely by Maldini and Zlatan virtue?

      All these so called fans… Smh

      It’s true that Milan reached plateau and on the down trend this season, it’s true that maybe it’s time to change and we need different coach going forward.

      but that’s not the reason to discredit everything else that Pioli doing right.

      1. Pioli alone wouldn’t have made a difference. Zlatan’s comeback was far more influential to the 2,5 years of “better football/results” than Pioli’s efforts.

        It’s so bloody obvious that without Zlatan the team has turned into soulless group of players instead of a proper team it used to be. Just look at the team’s attitude now and compare that to the one when we won the scudetto. They don’t care anymore. If the winning attitude was thanks to Pioli, why has it regressed to a fraction of what it used to be since Z left?

        1. That’s true for the winning mentality part, but there is more to players than their winning mentality. The fact is Leao, Theo, Bennacer, Tonali, Brahim, Kalulu and even Hakan and Kessie did improve under Pioli. Now it’s true that no player did improve SINCE 2022 which is alarming but Pioli’s tenure isn’t all negative and no positive.

    1. You mean Juve? They had it under their palms two months ago but 12 points in 12 matches will make any team fall downwards. IF they overtook us it would be 100% deserved.

  2. Anyway you look at this, everything comes back around onto Pioli and his tactical failures. 3 big games, 3 different tactical lineups and this is towards the END of the end of the season.

    What this says to the team is “I don’t know what the EFF I’m doing”. Our players are good players, the numbers show it. But in big games, Pioli hasn’t been able to figure out how to effectively use them. So Puli, Leao, RLC all become shadows. And even still, with crappy lineups, Leao finds a way to provide assists. The way Pioli has misutilized these players is awful. Example – Musah is not a bad player, but he is played out of position every time. We have better players to play RW or RB – Musah didn’t need to play in either position. Pioli is suddenly in love with Musah? I just don’t get it.

    Inzaghi, for example, stayed true to his one tactical system and made small tweaks when he needed to, but remained largely the same. His players always know what to do.

    Players have looked so confused against bigger opposition, especially when going down a goal. All of a sudden all tactics go out, because the coaching is confusing.

    Sure we can talk about player accountability too but ultimately there seems to be no faith in Pioli during big games and everyone is lacking confidence and looking confused. The 7 game winning streak was against smaller teams rightly. And as soon as we hit the Roma wall, all wheels came undone…

    Been doing more thinking about this since the game, once the emotions subsided, realizing how much Pioli has lost the plot…

    Again, bitter end to his tenure. But thanks for the Scudetto which we hadn’t had a whiff of in the last decade preceding.

    1. Same thoughts. Pioli was a big disappointment this year and it truly is a bitter end to his tenure.Too many mistakes, too many times .
      In time I hope he is judged on the scudetto year and last year’s CL run, rather then the mess he created this season.
      I only hope a coach of a higher level can be attained, like Motta or Conte or we will enter into a very bleak period.

    2. From the games I have watched this season, I can conclude that Pioli is to blame for how we have done this season as a team. I refused to blame any player based on Pioli’s selection, choice, formation, team management/squad depth and in game tactics.

      The seaon after we won we won the scudetto, as defending serie a champion the decline was rapid.
      Within the first eight games we lost games we shouldn’t have and his tactics and game management was really poor and he failed to utilise players and played some players out of positions.

      For this reason, in all my posts that follows, I have consistently stated that Pioli should not be the Milan coach.

      He was consistently making the same bad decision and we kept losing or drawing games in similar manner. The players that were good the season we won serie A, all of a sudden start playing badly and the team generally started playing badly we struggled to win against small teams. We didn’t have an identity as team, we went into games like a small team not knowing what the outcome might be the fear factor of a team like Milan was missing.

      The current team with the right coach will do well and consistently play with identity. In addition, we have seen players like CDK do well, and the only change needed here is the coach. As in my opinion he made good players looked bad by playing them out of positions repeatedly.

      I also blame management for not sacking Pioli after the first 10 games of this season.

  3. He lost it completely because he’s panicking as usual. 3 different systems in span of 3 consecutive derbies, playing lads out of position is just crazy. No wonder players look confused and are inconsistent.

    And again, there was no midfield. Opposite teams run us over easily in the middle.

  4. You all have been so spoiled. Nothing makes you pleased other than winning trophies. If winning trophies had been easy. The fun would be lost. Us losing to one of the greatest Inter sides isn’t the worst thing. I think we played a better game than last time. We had our chances as shown by the stats. Only a couple of mistakes made us lose this game. I don’t think it was the whole team who was at fault for the goals. Tomori maybe should’ve done better, maignan and maybe Calabria. Most of all it was skills from Thuram. Sometimes you have to give credit to the other teams. There’s not only one team on the pitch. Us being so far behind Inter isn’t only our fault. It’s mainly bacause of Inters consistency and good results. We have improved this season in the league. We have more points, we have a higher position. I think we are mostly playing better than last year and even the scudetto year.

    And we are definately better than 5-10 years ago when Milan sometimes even failed to qualify for Europe altoghther. So you all are spoiled for success. You are bringing yourselves down by being so negative. Other teams would kill to be as good as we are. To have the great players we have. Were we to lose Leao for example as is implied in the text we would definately not be where we are today. Give him som credit instead and stop complaining everytime something doesn’t go our way.

    1. “So you all are spoiled for success”

      Being a fan since ’88 I can honestly say “WTF?!!! Spoiled for success?!!” regarding the last 10-15 years. One scudetto in 10 years. ONE! That’s “spoiled for success?!!!!” Now GTFO! 😛

      Spoiled for success… FFS…

    2. “Other teams would kill to be as good as we are. ”

      Yeah. Other teams don’t have 2nd most UCL trophies in the trophy rooms. AC Milan is a team who won’t settle for being 2nd in the league. Or not getting into the playoffs in UCL. The history and culture demands more. As do the fans.

    3. We have been spoiled bcos we won 1 scudetto in 15 years??.

      GO back to the dictionary and check the meaning of spoiled again. Or better still thinking that loosing to inter, on your home ground 1, 2 six times, 3 plus a scudetto is not bad.

      Saying we are spoilt after suffering for so long in an abyss.

      Common sense is truly not common.

Comments are closed

Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.