GdS: Adli’s evolution continues with Pioli’s tactical surprise against Atalanta

By Oliver Fisher -

Stefano Pioli chose to entrust Yacine Adli with a deeper midfield role against Atalanta, and the response that he got was a very positive one.

As La Gazzetta dello Sport write, it seems in the build-up to Milan-Atalanta that Ismael Bennacer and Tijjani Reijnders must play in the midfield, because Yunus Musah and Adli don’t have the defensive ability to contain a team capable of scoring 24 goals in the previous nine games.

The first error in judgement on the front was that Pioli didn’t have a 4-2-3-1 in mind as his system, but a 4-1-4-1. The second was that the one man trusted to play in front of the defence was not Bennacer, but Adli.

The coach amazed everyone, but above all he amazed Gasperini with a game system that defused the Nerazzurri goal machine. Bennacer and Loftus-Cheek played their part too, but Adli was brilliant in holding Koopmeiners’ back and thus shutting down one of Atalanta’s primary attacking sources.

Among the great things about Adli there is intellectual honesty and an evident signs of content in the concepts he expresses. There is zero banality, zero rhetoric and sometimes zero filter.

“I was disappointed in Monza because I had a terrible match, I wanted to show that I belong to Milan and that I can play here,” he said after the Atalanta game.

It’s one of the reasons why Yacine is generally well regarded by Milan fans, that and the fact he quickly became a super Rossoneri fan. One who sings the choruses of the Curva, one who invites the whole team to his house because at Milan he is living his professional dream and proves it with facts.

He got on with things without complaining when he wasn’t playing, and the hard work being the scenes is why Yacine went from 138 minutes last season (over six appearances) to the current 1,234 (22 appearances).

The big question that revolved around him for a long time was his position on the pitch. At Bordeaux he actually played in the attacking midfield, or at least as an advanced midfielder. At Milan there were already players in that role, so he had to either change or leave.

Just when the latter seemed the most obvious solution – as was honestly said to him by Pioli – Adli told his coach only one thing: keep me and I will do everything to be useful to you in a way different from what I am used to.

Pioli saw something to work on also in a defensive sense, he knew that the tactical side of his Milan 2023-24 would change and he kept Adli. There will be other difficult and ugly matches to come, but in the meantime the midfield has very much shown he has a place.


Tags AC Milan Yacine Adli


  1. He’s ok at the moment, has shown that he can play at a good level, but also has shown that he has a lot to work on, especially on the defensive side, where he still has lapses that can cost us.

    If he continues working hard and improving, I’d feel great for next season regarding our midfield since it would mean that we’d need to worry less about fixing the midfield and getting new players. Musah and Pobega are also unknowns on what they can become, hopefully by end of season we’ll have a better idea.

    1. To his credit, he made way less defensive mistakes in 2024 compared to 2023, his best game with Milan is arguably the last one, so I think he is definetly on a positive curve for now. Also while Atalanta didn’t show much offensivly wise, they’re definetly our best opponent aside from Inter and Juve.
      Musah has been positioned all over the pitch his season and it’s clear that the coach doesn’t know how to use him yet. Ideally (at least for me), if improves defensively and learn how to position himself, we might have our next Kessie, since he already has the pace, energy and strength.

      1. Indeed, I see Musah more as next Kante with his energy. A destroyer in the middle. Adli needs to have someone covering for him like Pirlo had Gattuso (no comparison here).

    2. I disagree there. I think his defence has become better. What ha lacks is quick passing. He tends to keep the ball a few seconds too long every time he gets it which halts our play. He can play fast vertical passes sometimes and they are mostly brilliant. I think he needs to think less and just believe he can do.

    3. “but also has shown that he has a lot to work on, especially on the defensive side, where he still has lapses that can cost us.”

      Oh you mean the lapses like Benny committed in the last three matches in a row? Almost giften a goal in each of them. RLC? Sloppy in front of our penalty box week after week. Etc.

      Like it or not but Adli has been our best midfielder during the last month. Constantly growing and learning. While playing out-of-position too.

  2. This boys growth, considering he changed positions at his age and time of his career, has been exponential. Lots of promise there, looking at his general mentality too. But still lots and lots of work to do.
    He has improved defensively, but still needs more work. He needs to work on quicker ball progressions too at certain phases of the game. And lastly, I think he needs some physical work too, muscle, strength, balance. But I think that would have to wait for off season.

Comments are closed

Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.