CM: Milan’s defensive department stretched again – the solutions for Pioli

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan had only just returned to having a fully fit defensive department, but now Stefano Pioli may well have to deal with two more absences.

As report, there are just six days left before his Milan return to the field against Fiorentina away from home, and there are a maximum of 14 games left between now and the end of the season, counting the Europa League too.

The international break has revived the age-old theme of an excessively congested calendar of commitments and presented a significant bill to Milan, given that Simon Kjaer came off last night during Denmark’s draw with Switzerland.

While what filters from the comments of Kjaer and his head coach is that it was more of a precaution rather than a genuine concern, it cannot give Pioli much reassurance given how the centre-back has struggled to stay fit for long stretches.

It is a problem to be clarified in the next few hours in collaboration with the medical staff of the Danish national team. After these checks, he could therefore receive authorisation to bring forward his return to Milanello.

In addition to the Dane, Pierre Kalulu will have to spend yet another lengthy period on the sidelines after suffering a ligament problem during last weekend’s win over Hellas Verona. The estimated absence is 4-6 weeks.

In view of the match on 30 March against Vincenzo Italiano’s Fiorentina, Milan will find themselves in a situation where they have a shortage of central defenders, with only Matteo Gabbia (21 games and one goal since January) in optimal physical condition.

Fikayo Tomori and Malick Thiaw – who returned respectively in the matches against Lazio on March 1st and against Monza on February 15th – will thus be asked to improve their condition very quickly after showing a bit of rust in their first outings.

Furthermore, the English defender is one yellow away from being suspended in Serie A, after having been booked against Slavia Praha which means he will miss the first leg of the Europa League quarter-finals against Roma on Thursday 11 April.

This means that Pioli will probably focus heavily on Tomori for the next two matches in Serie A against Fiorentina and Lecce, in consideration of the rest that he will then have to observe in Europe, alternating Gabbia and Thiaw alongside him.

While waiting to find out more about Kjaer’s recovery time, a further solution not to be discarded in the event of a total emergency is to bring Theo Hernandez back as central defender, an option that gave overall positive responses last December.

There is also the idea of dipping into the Primavera and giving a new chance to Jan-Carlo Simic who – following his debut in the league with a goal against Monza on 17 December – played only three games against Salernitana, Sassuolo and Napoli and two appearances in the Coppa Italia.


Tags AC Milan Fikayo Tomori Malick Thiaw Matteo Gabbia Pierre Kalulu Simon Kjaer


  1. I don’t see any emergencies. Ride Tomori for the next two games, and alternate Gabbia and Thiaw, just like the article said. If Tomori picks up a yellow against Fiorentina, so be it. Gabbia and Thiaw can pair against Lecce, and that might be a good thing anyway since it will be a good chance to evaluate the pairing in view of the first leg against Roma in the EL. In the mean time Kjaer can be rested over the two league matches to ensure whatever he tweaked with Sweden is healed for Roma leg 1, which will be the game he will be needed in most.

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