GdS: ‘This Milan never stops’ – Pioli’s men firing on all cyclinders with new balance

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan’s win over Lecce at San Siro yesterday has been described as a ‘peaceful day at the office’ and exactly what the team needed before their European commitments.

As La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) recall, everything went smoothly for Milan from Christian Pulisic’s sixth-minute opener onwards. Olivier Giroud doubled the lead 15 minutes later, then Lecce were reduced to 10 men and Rafael Leao added a third.

With second place further armoured, Juventus will have to win a tricky game against Fiorentina tonight to get back to six points behind. The Rossoneri’s points haul of 68 points is one more than they had at the same stage of the Scudetto season, and 11 points more than last year.

Lecce have some reason to complain about the red. Krstovic raised his foot dangerously, but to harpoon the ball and did not see Chukwueze coming, only grazing his arm, without wanting to hurt and with no malice.

What about VAR? Every punishment should always be contextualised by common sense. Before Leao’s third goal, there was a Hernandez-Almqvist contact in the Rossoneri area. Regardless of the decision, the Lecce man remained on the ground with a head injury so the game had to be stopped.

Nonetheless, the reality is that Lecce immediately seemed resigned, and their opposition to the Rossoneri’s rocket start was tame. It seemed they interpreted the trip to Milan as an intermediary game before the more decisive matches and not as an opportunity to cause a surprise.

Milan-Lecce is valid as a certification of the progress of Pioli’s work who re-founded the team in the summer, with a ton of signings. A totally new engine (midfield) and loss of the most precious tactical piece (Tonali).

There were two guidelines: insert the many new players as soon as possible, push the team further forward, with a leap of tactical courage. An ambitious project that had to go through difficulties, because changing everything means finding new balances that require time and work.

The matches against Inter and PSG marked the most difficult period in the journey. Injuries complicated the operation even more. But, while the Pioli-out herd, now well camouflaged, was shouting on social media, few could sense the horizon they were aiming for with a young team.

The Parma-born coach, with his usual low profile and his usual faith in his work, kept going and now we can see what was in his head. Lecce are not Inter, nor PSG and they played half a game with 10 men, but in the meantime Milan seem more solid.

They have a new balance, they play with only Adli (who is not Tonali) in front of the defence and all the others up front; they can afford a trident of pure attackers (Chukwueze, Pulisic, Leao) behind Giroud, without conceding too much in transitions.

Pu-Gi-Le (Pulisic, Giroud, Leao) are in full force too. Chukwueze didn’t score, but he was still among the best players. It means that the education of the new signings is almost complete. Now, the buzzword is consistency.

In the painful 5-1 derby defeat last year, the centralisation of the full-backs had handed the wings to the Nerazzurri. Even yesterday Calabria and Theo demonstrated that they know how to regulate internal travel more confidently. As well as Reijnders who knows when to join Adli and when to go upfield next to the strikers.

This Milan, which has darted past Juve, is a rebuilt car which, after having bobbed in the street, has taken its march with confidence. With seven victories in a row in all competitions, they achieved something that hasn’t happened since 2006, with Ancelotti. It was a Milan that lifted the Champions League.

From March onwards, Milan are the only ones with full points in Serie A: 15 out of 15. The continuity of Rafa Leao, the first totem, is also absolutely new: since the beginning of the year he has taken part in 14 goals out of 18 (6 goals, 8 assists). Nobody has matched that.

The excellent campaign continued for Pulisic too, the Oscar winner of the Rossoneri’s summer mercato, who with his 10th goal became the highest-scoring American in the league’s history, beyond McKennie’s 9.

If the upcoming summer window completes the project with quality adjustments, without painful farewells, the Rossoneri will be able to compete with everybody. Even in Europe.


Tags AC Milan Milan Lecce


    1. Some fans still think Pioli deserved to get fired because he can’t give treble and played beautifully while winning 5-0 for every match.

    2. Given all the change and hardships we had this season and how far we have come, it IS silly to cut him loose.

      Especially with a clear lack of a tactical upgrade.

  1. speaking about the sell of Tonali .. what If Tonali weren’t sold ? we would not have the new players that we have right now and at the same time can’t play Tonali .. I was gutted when M&M was sacked and when Tonali was sold .. but now .. it’s seems like a good decision was made ..

    1. Go back and read all the hateful comments last summer…

      “Americans this…”
      “Gerry is clueless…”
      “Moncada/Furlani/Pioli out..”
      “F… RedBird…”
      “You’re killing the soul of the club…”

      So. Much. Drama.

      But if you give it a chance…

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