After a disappointing display against Udinese, Milan managed to bounce back with a crucial win against Hellas Verona in a game where Pioli had to improvise as there where several absentees and player not in condition to participate from the start.
Despite all problems in the week prior to the game and players picking up injuries day after day, Pioli got his starting XI and tactics right with his team convincing on the pitch.
While not the first time Milan has had an injury crisis to battle through, it seemed as though this time it would be just too much to handle as the list of injuries going into the game was nine.
However, the depth players took their chances and it was a great team performance showing spirit and a winning mentality with a lot of the player taking initiative and leading the way for the rest of the team. It is certainly a big win for Milan after the Udinese game and a morale boost before the trip to Manchester.
Here are five things we learned from the game…
1. Silencing the critics
Rade Krunic has had a fair amount of game time recently with all the injuries in the squad and has been decent when given the chance, but against Verona he really stepped up and lead his team to victory scoring a brilliant free-kick goal and helping all over the pitch throughout the game.
While he has often been linked with an exit, Krunic has worked hard in silence it seems as he has been solid when called up. Hopefully we can see his form continue to improve towards the end of the season and he may earn his stay at the club, and he expressed his thanks to the club after the game for helping him through a difficult moment.
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└📁 This angle of Krunic's goalpic.twitter.com/aMh73MqyQE
— SempreMilan (@SempreMilanCom) March 7, 2021
2. Signs of life
A player that hasn’t had a good run of form has certainly been Diogo Dalot. The Portuguese defender has been struggling to get into form and playing mostly on the left has not helped him at all as he is more comfortable on the right.
Despite that, expectations were probably slightly higher towards the Manchester United loanee especially considering the rumours that have been floating around suggesting he has a high valuation.
Dalot put in a decent display against Hellas Verona and scored a beauty to make it 2-0 and kill off the game. He could have reacted a bit better on a few occasions, but as mentioned he didn’t play in his natural position and if he builds on this performance there may be talks to lower his price and potentially stay beyond this season but as of now the youngster still has a lot to prove.
3. Pairing stands out
When Tomori was set to start against Hellas Verona fans most likely were thinking that Romagnoli was the one to be dropped from the starting XI. However, Pioli chose to field both the Englishman and the Italian, and both of them had a good game.
Tomori was a strong physical presence and made a few important blocks and recoveries because of his speed, while Romagnoli was also strong in the duels, but was also more involved in the build-up play which caused trouble for Hellas Verona.
If Romagnoli continues to improve from his recent performances and the communication between him and Tomori gets better, it could be Pioli’s go-to choice moving forward.
4. Standing tall
Soualiho Meite hasn’t exactly convinced since his arrival, but in all fairness he didn’t really have time to adapt to his new team and due to absences was getting more game time than initially expected.
However, after a few shaky performances, the Frenchman appears to be getting better with time and against Verona he stepped up in the absence of Tonali, proving to be effective in both phases of the game.
He kept it simple and involved himself in a few positive plays, but was mainly a physical presence in the midfield that kept Verona’s 3-4-2-1 quiet. It is a positive display to build on and could be a good a cheap backup to buy at the end of the season.
5. Magic Mister
For all the good we have mentioned about individual players, it is only fair to give Pioli the bulk of the credit as he has had all sorts of problems throughout the whole season, but has managed to get his team out of trouble.
Despite dropping to second place before losing the derby against Inter, Pioli’s men responded well beating Roma at the Stadio Olimpico and even with all the absentees against Verona, Pioli managed to motivate his players to go out there and win the game.
Not only that, but you can make a compelling case that he outcoached Ivan Juric, who has masterminded his side to a recent draw against Juventus plus wins over Lazio, Atalanta and Napoli.