CM: Not just Leao – Pioli hoping for more from Theo after subdued first leg

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan know that they must win tonight against Roma to have a chance of reaching the Europa League semi-finals, and Stefano Pioli hopes to have arguably the two best outfield players in top form.

As report, the outcome of tonight’s game could well have a big bearing on whether or not Pioli keeps his job as head coach beyond the end of the current season, and thus he is counting on his stars.

Rafael Leao had potentially his worst performance of the season in the first leg, but the Portuguese winger is not the only one from whom the Rossoneri coach can and must ask more. There is another player who, in terms of importance for the squad, will have to give important answers: Theo Hernandez.

Milan have built the most important moments of the last year on their left-sided duo of Leao+Theo, or ‘Theao’ as it has become known. Not only the ex-Lille player, but also the left-footed full-back is in all respects a decisive factor for the successes of this squad.

Analysing the first leg in detail, although it was not as disastrous for the Frenchman as it was for his wingmate, the former Real Madrid man also completed a match in stark contrast to what he has accustomed us to this season.

Looking at the heatmap from one week ago and comparing it with others – but also with the one from the league game against Roma – we see how Theo was less involved, less proactive and above all less involved.

Only 58 balls touched (compared to 74 in the Serie A game) in addition to portions of the pitch occupied in a more chaotic and less incisive manner.

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Tags AC Milan Rafael Leao Theo Hernandez
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