CM: Mercato mistakes highlighted as Milan’s defensively fragility continues

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan’s defensive record continues to cause great alarm with goals going in by the bunch, and some shortsightedness relating to the business done last summer could be to blame. 

Milan qualified for the round of 16 of the Europa League but returned from the trip to Brittany against Rennes with more negative than positive indications, losing 3-2 on the night and again showing very little control.

What made the difference were the individual plays of the top performers like Rafael Leão and Theo Hernández, something that Stefano Pioli cannot continue to rely upon.

As write, the last two matches against Monza and Rennes saw Milan concede seven goals, a fact that should make us reflect on a team that is absolutely incapable of managing the game with ball possession.

Pioli has not yet found a solution despite the signs that have arrived, even if it seemed that Milan could at least make Inter’s race towards the second star more difficult early in the season.

Milan lack a positional midfielder in their squad; a player who has the size and physical strength to act as a screen for the defence.

In the summer the management identified Yunus Musah as the defensive midfielder suited to Pioli’s game but the American seems to give his best in pressing and running forward with the ball, less so in transition.

This is why, beyond the considerations to be made on Pioli’s future, Milan will have to work in this direction in the next summer transfer window, as well as probably signing another centre-back.


Tags AC Milan


    1. Lol SOS hahaha 🤣🤣🤣🤣
      A whole a$$ 60+million and still couldn’t get it right. Add to that, we still reverted back to the same tactics as last year to stop the bleeding from the new system. And this negated the whole need for that “revolution” in the first place

    1. That doesn’t take away from the defensive fragility throughout the game though. The point still stands that without the ball we are not in control and able to handle offense well. Sure this game it was two penalties, but our goals against this season have been worse than 10 other serie a teams and on level with Genoa

      1. i agree that it points to a larger persistent problem we’ve had all year, and arguably last year: insufficient defensive help from the midfield. In the summer we signed mostly attacking midfielders who’s defensive attributes are lacking: RLC, Reijnders, Musah. Adli is a mixed bag, not particularly stellar defensively and frankly not a whole lot to write home about altogether.

        We didn’t bring in any pure defensive mids… and it shows. I sincerely hope we plug this gaping hole in the summer.

    2. And the penalties came from situations that were definitely “defendable”. Those situations never should have “evolved” into penalties.

      The fact is that the defense is leaking. Worse than last January. 7 goals conceded against Monza & Rennes. Think about it a second. And then think about who we play against next. CDK alone could score 7 goals on that match.

      1. individulal mistake (again) led to the first PK, whereas the second one was harsh through and through. But you’re right in the sense that we should have never been in those situations to begin with.

        We have been lacking a defensive system and there is still a lot of confusion when marking players because Pioli prefers man marking instead of zone marking.

    1. Everyone knows this but Pioli. Ugh. Since Kessie left we havent had a proper DM. A bit ironic because Pioli moved to a 4-3-3 where a DM is a must. Last year on a 4-2-3-1, Tonali and Bennacer, while not natural DMs could do it as they complemented each other.

  1. The way we concede goals is alarming !
    Granted, we need a defensive midfielder. But the way we conceed goals in quick sucession calls for question. I think psychology problem my have a role to play here. Most of this goals galore happen when we play smaller teams. We play with grit when we meet bigger teams. The reverse is the case for the other

  2. We all can see that we need a proper DM to do filtering works. But Pioli clearly stated that he didn’t play (or have) any traditional DM simply because he chose not to.

  3. Glad the rare occasion of an article where the market mistakes are being discussed. It’s a critical mistake that probably no one will suffer the consequences from except maybe Pioli.
    Each year and each transfer window we lose more and more defensive abilities in the middle. It started with Kessie, then Hakan, the Tonali then Krunic (not to mention squad players who were defensive minded). Slowly and repeatedly got worse and worse. And now we really only have Musah for defensive cover who I don’t think is up to scratch right now and is more of a sub than anything, an expensive one at that. He not tactically proficient and is overly aggressive ( and over-carries which is not good for a DM). And now we’re super light on defense in the most important area of the pitch, the midfield. That’s basically why we leak goals. We don’t even need new CBs. The centre backs aren’t the problem. They’re being exposed by the midfield. In the Rennes game there were huge gaps literally right in front of the D and no one was bothering to even go there to cover the zone 🤦‍♂️.
    I hope they get things right next transfer window as commenters here have pointed out since August, we still need a proper DM, even after spending ALL that money. How can we really say “we’ve improved the midfield” ? I don’t know about that assertion especially if we’re worse off defensively in midfield.

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