First game, first win. AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli could hardly have asked for more than that after what was a tricky opening test against Bologna last night.
MilanNews analyse the game a bit further and recall that Milan were at their best when they had the ball as the new signings Tijjani Reijnders and Christian Pulisic were bright and both decisive in the goals scored.
The three-man midfield is certainly more rocky, with Reijnders himself guaranteeing a lot of running and Ruben Loftus-Cheek finding himself in more of a defensive role, often alongside RADE Krunic recovering balls and shielding the back four.
Of course, the machine is still to be oiled because there were some hesitations and inaccuracies in the build-up play, but some intuitions too. The full-backs often came inside to help the central midfielder, and the midfielders who raised their position.
The feeling, which was reflected in yesterday’s match, is that once the first wave of pressure from Bologna was over, Milan played in a way that we never saw last year.
Finally, the right-wing took part in the attacking play and Rafael Leao is no longer the only dangerous presence in the Rossoneri’s front three, which will give Pioli lots of solutions.
There were some concerns too though, such as the physical condition which appeared good until around an hour of the game had gone, then dropped sharply. The player who came on (Chukwueze, Okafor) didn’t look brilliant either.
At this stage in the season that is perhaps normal though. The real alarm bells came from the defence because there was a feeling of fragility.
Fikayo Tomori still has some problems in build-up, while Davide Calabria appeared to struggle in the 1v1 situations. There’s not too much to worry about: Tomori has shown us over the years that he is capable of playing at high levels, while for the Milan captain there is a non-optimal condition to consider.
What must be added to that is the fact the dynamics of the game are different compared to last season, so both will therefore have to get used to defending in a different way.
What about the mercato? Pioli was clear after the match: the players that he does not see as being part of his plans must be offloaded because he doesn’t want too big a squad and to manage players who are unhappy.
Now the mission is to try and offload Divock Origi, Fode Ballo-Touré, Mattia Caldara and Alexis Saelemaekers, who are the players Pioli seems to be referring to.
In addition there is the striker issue, where it is necessary to understand whether Lorenzo Colombo will be the third centre-forward, or if he will leave on loan and a replacement will arrive.
Finally, there is the Rade Krunic quandary. If Fenerbahce raise their offer he could leave, but Milan would need another starter in the middle of the pitch.