CM: Thiaw’s weakness exposed with costly mistake but Pioli’s approach questionable

By Oliver Fisher -

A lot of the attention after last night’s game between AC Milan and Juventus will be directed towards Malick Thiaw and his red card, but a report has claimed he is not the only one to blame. recall that Thiaw did many things well in the first 40 minutes against Juventus and then he once again fell victim to the weak point in his game, as happened in the derby against Inter.

Against fast and powerful opponents like Marcus Thuram and Moise Kean, always trying to get ahead of the ball can become a boomerang-type situation, where it leaves him behind and with too much ground to make up.

In the air and in ground duels he has few rivals in Serie A, but when he faces fast opponents too far up the field he has difficulty. Thiaw has great room for growth and an exceptional predisposition to work hard, and he must exploit that to find a countermeasure to avoid/solve certain solutions.

The ‘sacrosanct sending off’ against Juventus could have been avoided by trying to accompany Kean towards the wing or by stalling while waiting for help from the recovering Fikayo Tomori.

However, what must also be identified is that Stefano Pioli’s insistence on playing a high line with an aggressive defensive game plan certainly doesn’t put Thiaw in the best conditions with an almost obsessive search for high pressing and one-on-ones all over the pitch.

Pioli’s football has been embraced by the management and players, but in certain games it must be questioned Is it always worth the risk?

Finding an alternative solution considering the characteristics of the opponents could become the right path, especially to help individuals.

Tags AC Milan Malick Thiaw


  1. This is clear already for most people except the man in charge. Inter and Juventus both have no problem falling back and absorbing pressure to exploit our weakness in the counter. If Juventus were actually any good with the ball things could have been worse. They had a 4 vs 4 counter at the beginning which is a situation Inter punished us in. That man man press is better suited against teams that actually wants to have possession. But Pioli will never change because he does not know how.

    1. No, he did this vs Napoli and he knows that will work against these teams too, but he wants to win playing his own game. He wants to become an idealist just like Pep Guardiola who doesn’t change the style of play for any opponent. The thing is we can’t afford to do that with these players, they are good but not as good as City’s players or any other top team in the world.

  2. Reminder that this season, despite the improved squad, we have yet to win a single game against a top 5 team. We lost to inter, we draw at home against Newcastle, we draw against Dortmund and now lose at home against juve.
    And please don’t use the lazio or roma argument as they are not top 5 teams yet this season.
    I think this shows that there is a problem with the way we play.

  3. High line only works when you have 10 players pressing, when everyone is moving when out of possession, how do you employ a high line and allow other players to walk around when defending, high line works when your first line of defence is your attackers, pioli doesnt know what style he wants to play, we think sacchi talks too much, but he has been highlighting it for a while, pioli has to decide how he wants to play, you cant be inbetween and expect to be good, there is no definitive style in our play, besides running with the ball, what theo and leao have been doing, and now reijnders and RLC have also joined in doing, we have a quality team, but there is no clear playing style, and bias on player selections

  4. Tomori should have been on Kean and Thiaw on Milik because of this exact possibility. But Thiaw is young he’ll learn, sooner than later I hope.

    Also not sure why Pioli brought on Jovic and Krunic – Adli was doing well. Giroud should have come off instead of Puli.

    But hey, what do I know.

  5. And this is the biggest problem with Pioli. He does not change tactics, style or formation based on opponents, which all the great coaches do. He basically says this is how we play and we are going to play this way no matter of the opponent. Not smart. The most glaring example of this was against Inter, even without Tomori, and having 2 CB’s without good pace in Kjaer and Thiaw, he still insisted on playing a high line. Inter was quite happy to sit back, let Milan have the ball, invite the pressure and then hit on the counter. Milan have struggled with teams that do this the entire time Pioli has been here. One of the most stubborn coaches I’ve ever seen. He needs to be able to adjust to the opponent they are facing and be more flexible when it comes to tactics and formation.

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