MN: Certainties crumble as Milan melt like snow in the sun at the decisive moment

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan once again went from a winning streak to a winless run, and this time the latter coincided with the decisive point in the season.

MilanNews recall how Milan beat Lazio, Slavia Praha, Empoli, Slavia Praha, Verona, Fiorentina and Lecce to approach their set of four games against Roma, Sassuolo, Roma and Inter in the best way.

What happened? The seven consecutive victories were followed by three defeats and a draw. How is it possible that Milan, at the moment in which they seemed to be in the best form of the season, melted like snow in the sun?

All the certainties and foundations that had led to second place and the quarter-finals of the Europa League crumbled in less than a month, forcefully bringing to light all the defects – both old and new – of Stefano Pioli’s side.

Before that streak of seven wins there was another difficult period, but managing to string together so many victories in a row seemed to have given new life and confidence to the squad, which had started playing in a freer way.

Even in this run there were some worrying signs though such as the erratic nature of the press and the inability to take the sting out of games, which contributed to allowing the opposition too many scoring chances.

The 4-2 win over Slavia in the first leg of the Europa League was perhaps a fitting symbol. The Czech side played a man down more than an hour and yet they scored twice, because Milan were unable to dominate.

Then there was the 3-3 draw at Sassuolo, which drew new questions. Why did Pioli/the team choose to play with so much space behind the defence, especially in the first half, despite the characteristics of the two centre-backs suggesting otherwise?

Simon Kjaer and Malick Thiaw (plus Alessandro Florenzi) were in far from perfect physical condition and yet they were told to defend with 50 metres of the field behind them against a fast and explosive runner like Lauriente and it exposed them to situations that bordered on embarrassment.

After the elimination against Roma in the Europa League, Pioli admitted that there is a mentality issue within the team: “Maybe when we arrive too confident then we don’t know how to react to the difficulties. Maybe it was a sin of presumption thinking that Roma couldn’t put us in trouble. It’s a mistake we paid dearly for.”

A run of seven wins means nothing if – at the key moment in the campaign – everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong.

Tags AC Milan

1 Comment

  1. Mentality issue comes from ridiculous coaching decisions and confusing tactics. Also comes from fielding different lineups in three consecutive games and fielding players out of their positions….

    Mentality issue comes from Pioli. Instead of solidifying the system that has worked so well in the past and making small tactical adjustments like a normal tactician would do, Pioli starting throwing sh!t at the wall to see what stuck in the most important games of the season…

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