GdS: ‘Firstly, don’t concede’ – bruised Milan hoping not to encounter stormy seas

By Oliver Fisher -

After the 4-2 defeat against Monza on Sunday night, the pressure is all of a sudden back on AC Milan to respond with the right kind of performance tonight against Rennes.

This morning’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport (as seen below) writes how Milan conceded four goals and fell to a defeat in Monza which is a worry because Rennes – seventh in Ligue 1 and in brilliant form – are certainly not weaker than Palladino’s team.

A 4-2 win for the French side would still mean the Rossoneri qualify thanks to the 3-0 in the first leg, but Rennes will start strong, as announced by striker Martin Terrier and coach Julien Stephan.

“We will try to score a goal straight away, to light up our stadium. We want to build our history around this match. From the beginning we will have to move outside the box, enter a form of madness,” Stephan said.

It’s one thing to say and another to do, but Milan will have to get into the match as if it were a tie in the balance and not the second leg of an almost decided Europa League play-off.

The figures certainly demonstrate how Milan’s defence is far from unbeatable. In Serie A they have conceded 31 goals in 25 games, as many as Gilardino’s Genoa.

Milan are 11th in terms of best defensive record, after Inter (12 goals conceded), Juventus (17), Torino (20), Atalanta and Bologna (23), Lazio (26), Fiorentina (29), Napoli (28), Monza and Roma (30).

The shots on target allowed stands at 103, and ten teams allowed fewer than that in Serie A. It didn’t go well in the Champions League either, with eight goals scored in the six group stage matches, meaning an almost inevitable elimination.

Milan are vulnerable, yet they have the match point in hand to get into the Europa League round of 16 and in the league they enjoy a seven-point advantage over fifth place and even more to sixth place (fifth should get Champions League this season).

For better or worse, Pioli’s team compensates for the imbalances in front of Mike Maignan, but they take risks at every opportunity, conceding unacceptable goals like in Monza, resulting from poor marking or positioning errors.

Exactly 20 years ago, in the quarter-finals of the 2003-04 Champions League, the European champions Milan won 4-1 in the first leg at San Siro against Deportivo La Coruña.

In the return leg in Spain they collapsed: 4-0 to the Spaniards and Milan out. In front of Dida, the four defenders were Cafu, Maldini, Nesta and Pancaro. If it happened to them, it can happen to anyone.

Yesterday some French journalist illustrated the architectural-environmental similarities between Rohazon Park, the Rennes stadium, and the Riazor in La Coruña.

Rennes – the capital of Brittany,is just over 100km from the Atlantic – and La Coruña are at the ends of the Bay of Biscay, one in France and the other in Spain. Any sailor knows how stormy this sea can be.


Tags AC Milan Rennes Milan
Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.