Albertini picks out Milan’s key men, analyses Scudetto race and offers advice from experience

By Oliver Fisher -

Former AC Milan midfielder Demetrio Albertini has had his say on the Scudetto race, insisting that it is a battle between the current top three.

Albertini was interviewed by La Gazzetta dello Sport (via SempreMilan.it) about the Scudetto sprint in Serie A, but also about Stefano Pioli’s side and the strengths that they have demonstrated throughout the current campaign.

“I think it is difficult for the fight for the title to be decided in advance, I rather see a point-to-point race between the top three. But I also say that in Milan now there are all the right ingredients to stay in the lead until the end,” he said.

“Woe to planning, it would be counterproductive. The concept is simple: they are first and they have points advantage, they just have to think about winning them all. That way you are sure to stay top. It is the thought that guided my Milan, it will be the same now.”

Albertini was asked about the pressure that those in the lead feel and the extra ingredient that the Rossoneri have compared to their two main rivals Inter and Napoli.

“I have won leagues both from in front and from behind, and I guarantee you that the pressure is likely to overwhelm those in pursuit. Moving away from rivals is only possible if they slow down, whoever is in front must think not to make mistakes: the opportunity to go on the run is the match with Bologna, not what will happen in Juventus-Inter.

“And if things do not go as hoped, the advantage will allow Milan to recharge and think about the next match. The Rossoneri have an awareness, a maturity that I hadn’t seen before. Look at the way they responded to delicate situations such as referee mistakes against Spezia and Udinese.

“A team that is not ready, perhaps, lets itself be overwhelmed by the mood of the fans, while Pioli and his team are not: they raised their heads and left. They have been very good at managing the environment.”

Milan’s strength in recent weeks has been their defensive resilience given they went the entire month of March without conceding a goal, thanks to the new centre-back pairing of Fikayo Tomori and Pierre Kalulu.

“They run better because they read better the positions on the pitch during the match, these are aspects that only work when a group knows they are strong,” Albertini said.

“I’ll give you another example: against Napoli, Empoli and Cagliari, Milan won by scoring only one goal. Unlike in the past, the team now does not lose its cool if it fails to break through immediately. The head says that sooner or later the goal will come, and that’s exactly how it happens.”

Albertini was asked who the key man is for Milan and who the surprise players of the season so far have been.

“Tonali is the symbol of Milan that has come this far: constant, solid, organised. Together with him also his team-mates in the defence and Maignan, an excellent goalkeeper who guaranteed great consistency between the posts.

“When it comes to the table, however, it is the attackers who decide, and Pioli is in great shape with those three. Giroud is surgical, Leao gives imagination and Ibra is a champion who has returned at the right time.

“Imagine Zlatan scoring the decisive goal for the title. At 40, it would be enough to make this season an amazing one too. Watch out for Brahim Diaz too. He broke the derby by coming off the bench, he can do it again when the temperature rises. Maybe he won’t always play as a starter from here to the end, but he has everything to become a twelfth man that the fans do not forget, because they helped you to win.”

Finally, on the unpredictability of this season finale: “The matches are unpredictable, unfortunately we had yet another proof of it in an evening that no one imagined to experience: Italy-Macedonia. But I know the Rossoneri environment well and I’m sure they won’t face these 8 games with superficiality or presumption. The approach will be the right one.”

Tags AC Milan Demetrio Albertini

2 Comments

  1. I hope he’s right. The scudetto would kickstart a new era for Milan.
    The next 4 matches are relatively manageable for Milan to win, while others like Inter and Napoli have much harder challenges.

    Forza Milan ! We can do it..

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