Yacine Adli started the season as an afterthought in the mind of Stefano Pioli and yet tonight – for the second straight game – he will quite literally be in the centre of his plans.
La Gazzetta dello Sport (as seen below) write this morning how Adli has a score to settle with those in the black and white shirt, given that he was penalised for the penalty – after a slight touch on Ebosele – that won Udinese the reverse fixture at San Siro.
Everyone likes Adli at Milan: his team-mates, whom he invited to a barbecue last year before a big match against Juve, as well as the fans who were fired up to see him score, and now Pioli can be added to the list too.
In his pre-match press conference he spoke about Adli as a ‘new signing’ and a successful acquisition he has been given Adli’s growth this season.
After spending nearly all of 2022-23 on the bench, in Empoli he was the player who touched the most balls (112) as well as having the most completed passes (92).
Against Roma he was the Milan player who recovered the most balls (5, plus 2 interceptions), and Pioli said after that win: “It will never be his main characteristic but this underlines that the attitude is the right one: Adli knows that in that role he must also grow in the defensive phase.”
The next step, it goes without saying, will also be taken in the next few weeks. Between September and October Adli started four matches in a row, then was on the bench against Napoli before coming on against Udinese in the aforementioned 1-0 defeat.