Ex-Milan goalkeeper discusses ‘positive’ return for Maignan and why Pioli’s renewal is the right move

By Oliver Fisher -

Former AC Milan goalkeeper Simone Braglia believes that Mike Maignan was not at fault for any of the goals in what was a tough return against Sassuolo.

Maignan managed to trim four weeks off his estimated recovery time and was back in the starting XI for the visit of the Neroverdi on Sunday afternoon but the game did not go to plan for Milan as they went a goal up and were beaten 3-1.

It was a game that certainly started the right way for Milan as Alessio Romagnoli gave them the lead with a header from a corner, but what seemed to rock the Rossoneri was how quick the visitors hit back through a Gianluca Scamacca screamer from distance.

Sassuolo turned parity into a lead nine minutes later as a Scamacca shot was saved by Maignan but hit Simon Kjaer and went in for an own-goal, while Domenico Berardi’s second half goal essentially killed the game.

Things went from bad to worse when Romagnoli saw red for a last-man challenge in the closing stages, putting a final sour note on what was a performance that certainly suggests a hangover from the Champions League win over Atletico Madrid. It was certainly a shock result, one you could have backed through a betting site like www.unibet.se.

Braglia played for the Rossoneri in the 1997-98 season, and he spoke to MilanNews to give his thoughts on the return of the Frenchman.

How do you evaluate Maignan’s return in the match against Sassuolo?

“The return is positive. He was unlucky on the scoring episodes. Maignan’s return will also coincide with a resumption of leadership in the defensive sector in which Milan have suffered a little too much in recent games.”

What is your opinion on the French goalkeeper? Did it surprise you?

“It didn’t surprise me. Although Donnarumma is a very good goalkeeper, Maignan‘s name is that of an absolutely respectable goalkeeper and has a charisma and a personality that would not have made us regret Donnarumma’s departure.”

Are these two defeats for Milan two single setbacks or warning signs on the Rossoneri path?

“The fact that Milan are in that position in the standings is not accidental but the Rossoneri team is a young group that can encounter fluctuating results. The lack of continuity can be assigned in the absence of leadership in some elements but this is normal as team with a very low average age. These defeats make Milan grow and will lead Milan to achieve that blazon and those triumphs that characterise Milan.”

Milan have been on a journey with Pioli since he took over following Marco Giampaolo’s sacking early in the 2019-20 season. He signed his last extension before a game against Sassuolo amid a fantastic post-lockdown run, and he put pen to paper on a new deal before Sunday’s game against the Neroverdi, and of course after his first ever Champions League win as a manager.

How do you judge the renewal of Pioli?

“I consider him highly positive because he gives continuity and planning to the club and in this we must give credit to the Rossoneri management. I do not agree on the continuous changes of coach because if there is no continuity there is no clarity or identity in the planning,” Braglia added.

“The renewal rewards a person who deserved to be reconfirmed and secondly I think that the Rossoneri management has reasoned in the long term and in the short term. Milan can go back to the top by planning and being young they can aspire to build something important over time.”

READ MORE: Milan management to meet agent of Penarol and Benfica duo on Friday

Tags AC Milan Mike Maignan Simone Braglia
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