Journalist Alberto Cerruti has claimed that AC Milan simply do not have the depth or experience to realistically compete against the better sides in the Champions League.
The Rossoneri never got going as the home side were better in every department and closed the gap between themselves and Atletico Madrid to one point thanks to Luis Diaz’s winner in the 65th minute. It has left Milan with an almost impossible task to qualify for the knockout stages as they must win at least two of their last three games and hope for favours from Liverpool, essentially.
Cerruti wrote a column for Calciomercato.com two days after the game in Portugal, and he touched on a very pressing theme which is the lack of both quality depth and Champions League experience that has plagued the squad so far.
“The truth, also underlined by an experienced champion like Ibrahimovic, is that his team-mates at Milan, with the exception of Giroud, have never played in the Champions League and at a European level this weighs heavily,” he said.
“With another truth, even more important, because behind the starting eleven there are no alternatives to match and it is one thing to play in the league, another in Europe. Apart from Florenzi absent due to injury, Kalulu, Ballo-Tourè and Krunic, forced to play the attacking midfielder because a Calhanoglu deputy was not purchased, Calabria, Theo Hernandez and Diaz are not valid, but the discussion can also be extended to Bakayoko and Daniel Maldini.
“This is without underestimating the problem of the attack, because Ibrahimovic seems more useful as a motivator than as a player, Giroud is always in the middle and Pellegri is not even on the UEFA list. And so it is better to avoid clinging to fragile hopes, as Pioli does not cling to the alibi of absences.”
Depth is one of the things the management will surely be looking to bolster in the January window given that Rade Krunic and Daniel Maldini have ended up playing as the No.10 at various points in the season.