Milan suffered a loss in the Derby Della Madonnina after five consecutive wins in Serie A. Down below are five things we learned from the game.
The Rossoneri conceded early in the game and could not bounce back as they played their worst game in a while, showing nothing of what we have seen in the last couple of months.
1. Handling high pressure
Inter started the game at a high pace, and it was too hard for Milan to resist, resulting in an early lead for Inter. The Rossoneri spent the entire first half without a solution for the high press of the opponent as they made lots of errors and wrong passes, which led to dangerous attacks from the Nerazzurri. Luck saved Milan on a few occasions as the result remained only 0-1 after the first half. In the second half, we did see a better display from the team, but the game showed a critical piece that the team lacks and Gattuso should work on it.
Should Milan qualify for the Champions League, there will be new additions to the squad, but the team is still young and needs to improve at controlling the game and slowing it down when facing opponents that are pressing high up the field.
2. Midfield crisis?
In the last few games, it looks like Milan are facing difficulties in the midfield and the main reason for that may be Paqueta. The Brazilian started with the team in January, showing his qualities straight away. However, in the last few games, he has not been like himself. Lucas Paqueta was playing for Flamengo before he joined Milan and he did not have much time to rest as the Brazilian league finishes in early December, and he started playing in the starting eleven for the Rossoneri in early January.
With that being said, it is normal for him to be fatigued and that is affecting Milan’s performance. The other two midfielders are Bakayoko and Kessie, and both lack that flair and creativity, which Paqueta offers. Gattuso should try to rest his young starlet and maybe rotate Calhanoglu to play in the midfield with Castillejo starting at the left wing as he has shown his qualities in recent weeks.
3. Defensive midfielder reserved?
One of the positives for Milan in the Derby was Tiemoue Bakayoko. In what was a game to forget for the Rossoneri, one player impressed with his performance. The Frenchman was regularly winning balls in the midfield and making runs forward. His presence in the midfield was vital for the Rossoneri, and with his great desire, Bakayoko even scored a goal to put the hopes up for his team in the pursuit of a comeback.
Recently we mentioned that Biglia might have a say on whether Bakayoko will be the regular starter, but Chelsea loanee is impressive in almost every game he is playing and was one of the few composed players in the Derby for Milan, escaping the high press from Inter. Milan need to work around the Frenchman, adding quality to the team as there are only small pieces missing for the squad to be genuinely competitive.
4. Gattuso’s reaction
Gattuso has been heavily criticised since the first game he was in charge of Milan. He did manage to go through a hard period this season bringing the club to the third position before the Derby Della Madonnina and had silenced the critiques for a few months, but is back in the centre of discussion now after the defeat.
However, people often tend to forget that this is the first serious team he has coached and he is improving with pace. He managed to get the team together, making the players believe in themselves and improving the overall performances despite having a long list of injuries since the start of the season. He was often blamed for his poor tactical decisions and lack of awareness on how to use his substitutes.
In recent months, however, Gattuso is showing that he is improving on a tactical level, making his team one of the best defences in Europe. His substitutions are doing an excellent job on most occasions as seen last night against Inter where Samu Castillejo was brought in the second half and provided pace on the wing to make it difficult for the Nerazzurri. Fans should remember the times before Rino when the Rossoneri hardly had a game where they reacted well after conceding.
5. Team Spirit
While it is hard to point out something positive after the loss, there is a thing that cannot be denied about the game, and that is the team spirit. One thing that has massively changed from the beginning of the season is the way the Rossoneri react when going behind. Even though the display was not appealing, we saw something that the team was lacking for so much time, desire. The players never gave up and were chasing the goal till the very end of the game, trying to press the opponent and score the equaliser.
Although that did not happen, fans should be pleased as the players showed passion and attitude throughout the game with the help of the fans in the San Siro, who supported the team till the final whistle. Milan have been in a very positive run in the last two or three months, and it should not be a shame that they have lost this game, they should focus on the positive side and sustain the desire and passion for bouncing back in the next game.
The season is far from over and the Rossoneri look determined to qualify for the Champions league, keeping their head high and forgetting about the poor performance against Inter.