AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli is plotting some changes to the midfield department for Wednesday night’s trip to face Borussia Dortmund, a report claims.
As La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) report this morning, Pioli will have to do without Ruben Loftus-Cheek and the physicality and experience he brings in the Champions League after he came off during the win over Lazio with groin discomfort.
What will Milan miss without the Englishman? Out of all the midfielders it is the former Chelsea player is the one who has played the most UCL matches (18), but they will also be without his surging runs into the area and above all the muscle he provides.
The options are few, because Loftus-Cheek’s knockout adds to those of Rade Krunic and Ismael Bennacer, so Pioli will have to choose between Yacine Adli, Yunus Musah, Tijjani Reijnders and Tommaso Pobega, with three on the pitch and one on the bench.
We start from the presumption that Adli – a starter against Cagliari and Lazio – will have to wait for his first Champions League start. Due to his characteristics, the Frenchman is the least suited to the intensity of a match like the one against Dortmund could and should have.
It remains to be seen who Pioli will hand over the regista role to. With Musah, Milan would arrive at Signal Iduna Park with a player as similar as possible to Krunic, while Davide Calabria’s inverted position as an added midfielder could help.
If Reijnders were to move to the centre, ball management would be safe, but Milan would lose the Dutchman’s movements and his attacking creativity, which are very precious according to Pioli himself.
In short, everything still remains open, although one thing is certain: one of Musah or Reijnders will play in front of the defence for the first time since the start of the season.
Pobega is the certainty, and he would also allow Pioli to revert to the old 4-2-3-1, with Reijnders as an atypical attacking midfielder and the other two midfielders covering him further back.
In terms of the other selection decisions, the front three of Rafael Leao, Olivier Giroud and Christian Pulisic will be fielded again, and Malick Thiaw will get the nod over Simon Kjaer at the back.