Pioli labels Bennacer ‘the strongest midfielder’ but outlines one thing he must improve

By Isak Möller -

Ahead of the game between AC Milan and Fiorentina Stefano Pioli shared his thoughts on Ismael Bennacer. The Algerian has recovered from his minor discomfort and, in the manager’s words, he will be a very important player. 

Bennacer was forced to leave the Algeria camp early due to a minor discomfort and thus began recovery at Milanello. Luckily, the midfielder has now fully recovered and he could even play from the first minute tomorrow, per the latest reports.

During his pre-match press conference this morning, Pioli was asked about Bennacer’s condition and his importance for Milan. The manager stated that he’s the best in the defensive phase, though one thing must be improved.

“Bennacer’s condition? He had to work individually, but he made good use of this week. He’s fine and could even play from the start.

“Bennacer is the strongest midfielder we have in defensive one-on-ones, I think he is almost unbeatable when it comes to winning the ball. I think he can improve in reading some situations, perhaps stalling, you can’t always be aggressive,” he stated.

Indeed, Bennacer likes to be aggressive and press his opponents, even if it would be better to take a step back. This judgement is without a doubt something that the 26-year-old can acquire, especially considering his vision for the game.

Tags AC Milan Ismaël Bennacer


    1. There are no experts on this site, only people giving their thoughts

      If Pioli says that Krunic is great, I’m not sure some people would agree with him.

      For what it matters, I also think Bennacer is our strongest midfielder when it comes to defense.

  1. An out of shape/still looks injured player is better defensively than fully fit starters, new and old 🤦‍♂️… That’s not me btw, that’s the coach saying this (though sometimes I’d wish he grow some balls and ask management for a defensive midfielder)

  2. People read only what they wanna read.
    He is saying that Bennacer is the best defensively in 1 on 1, but he lacks positional and situational awareness. Most of the football game is played without the ball, and without pressing and trying to aggressively dispose the ball carrier, Bennacer is not that good defensively.
    If you are out of position and away from the ball, your 1 on 1 defensive ability means nothing.
    Kessie was great in both areas. Sell Bennacer and sign a midfielder that can do both, plus he cab actually stay on the pitch instead of the recovery room.

    1. I think it depends on what style of football you want to play. And Pioli seems to prefer slower movement and more disciplined style. Bennacer is more suited to high tempo with lots of pressing where all the midfielders would be running everywhere and quickly closing down unmarked opponents ahead and upfield and not so much closing the gaps behind, leaving those for their quick defenders to deal with. Pioli trying to improve his positioning etc in front of the defense is not the way if you want to see the best of Bennacer, play him as a CM or next to a DM where he’d then be free from sticking around and just do what he can do best – playmaking and aggressive pressing. I doubt you’ll agree but Bennacer is the best quick passer and in possession the most composed midfielder in the team. We can’t throw him away. He’s as important as your Leaos especially if a coach plays a certain style of football.

      1. We play 1v1 football under Pioli. He’s still the best defender whether 1v1 or as a group. Neither Adli, Musah or Deers defend positionally better than him anyway

  3. I just want him back to 100%. He has looked off ever since his injury. We need to assess him after we see what his 100% looks like.

  4. Personally I wouldn’t change midfield at all this year and evaluate the players for one more year, unless we get a crazy offer (70 mill for Reijnders, or 55+ mill for RLC). If we’re going to buy a solid DM, we can either sell Adli (unlikely) or Bennacer.
    And yes, I think his current value considering his 4+million salary(net) is at 25-30mill and a 30+ mill would be satisfactory if we decide to sell him.

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