With the exception of Stefano Pioli, the only other AC Milan figure who presented himself to the microphones after the match in Riyadh was Simon Kjaer.
As La Gazzetta dello Sport (via MilanNews) report, is not the first time that the Danish centre-back has appeared in front of the cameras after a negative performance by the team, showing his leadership qualities to front up when the media demand answers.
Kjaer spoke with honest and transparency, well aware of the negative performance that the team offered against their city rivals in what was a game that provided a big opportunity to light a spark for the rest of the season.
“We got off to a bad start, then it became really difficult. They are good at what they do, but tonight we didn’t put in the performance to deserve the win. We have to apologise to the fans,” he said.
Of course Kjaer was representing the whole dressing room but also the defensive department which, at present, seems truly unrecognisable compared to the rearguard that allowed Milan to win the league last season.
Ciprian Tatarusanu is yet to keep a clean sheet in 2023 and has let in nine goals so far in the calendar year, which becomes 18 in eight for the team if we consider the friendlies in December (in which Mirante also played).
It is a worrying record, but the signs should have already worried the team before the World Cup when some cracks had already appeared.
Kjaer also spoke about another important theme after the game: “The discourse of young players is over. We have to grow up and take on our responsibilities, we haven’t left our mark. We just have to learn.”
These are clear words that are also addressed to his team-mates, who have often leaned on the experience of Kjaer, Ibra, Giroud and many others, but that will not last forever and younger players are needed who can definitively make the leap in quality and become leaders.
Milan do have a very talented young core as seen in Sandro Tonali, Theo Hernandez, Davide Calabria, Ismael Bennacer, Fikayo Tomori and beyond, but virtually all of those let down the team in a final last night, so a change in attitude is needed.