After two wins in a row Milan were looking good going into the final seven games of the season, but a lack of concentration against Sassuolo has left the team in a fierce fight for top four.
The Rossoneri started off the game fairly well creating chances and pressing high, failing to be clinical in the early stages but getting the opener through Hakan Calhanoglu in the 30th minute.
In the second half Milan continued to create opportunities as they had many opportunities to punish Sassuolo on the counter-attack, but lacked the quality to finish the attack with a goal. That in turn lead to Sassuolo scoring twice in the last fifteen minutes of the game and eventually leaving with all three points from San Siro.
Here are five things we learned…
1. Definition of insanity
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Rafael Leao has been far from impressive since the turn of the year and has failed in to fill in for Zlatan Ibrahimovic while he is absent.
He was given the nod to start up front again, and to be fair to the Portuguese he did look a bit better compared to previous games as he ran a lot and looked more energised, but ultimately failed to be efficient and was unconvincing in front of goal and on the counter.
The youngster will need to make a change as he isn’t convincing and with Rebic starting to get into form Leao will have a hard time fighting for a starting spot on the left which is supposedly his preferred position.
2. A dent in the armour
Fikayo Tomori has been superb since joining the club in January convincing the management and making the club think about exercising their option to buy him.
In the past two games however, the Englishman has been poor costing his team a lot and will need to improve his performances and not let these bad performances affect him. Ultimately he could have done way better on the second goal and the game went far from Milan’s reach after that.
3. Good to be back
While everyone else at the back was having a nightmare, Calabria came back from injury looking like he had never left the pitch. The Italian was quite good on the right and solid in defence, he also helped in the attack and it was pretty obvious to see how good the chemistry between him and Alexis is.
Calabria was a massive improvement on the right after Kalulu and Dalot weren’t as impressive, and we have to remark that on this occasion he was not helped by his team-mates at all.
4. Wasting chances
Milan have had some trouble in attack in the last couple of months and this has cost them a lot. The Rossoneri have been creating a fair amount of chances and have had a lot of opportunities on the counter-attack all squandered by the players.
With Zlatan missing a lot of games it’s obvious where the problem has been, but also the likes of Calhanoglu, Leao and Rebic have been really wasteful in the final third and that will need to be addressed as the team is lacking quality at times.
5. Bad choices
Pioli has done a magnificent job since last season, but has had a few games where his game management has been sub-par and the frequency of those games is increasing.
His team was all over the pitch after going ahead in the score and when they actually had the chance to seal the game they were struggling to finish, looking mentally clouded and lost for ideas. Milan also looked like they don’t know when and how to slow down the tempo and kill off the game which eventually cost them all three points.
Pioli’s substitutions didn’t help either as the coach subbed off Saelemaekers in favour for Castillejo with Alexis being arguably one of the best in the game. The coach also keeps on insisting on Krunic who hasn’t produced for ages and it has been a bad game for Pioli overall.