Player Ratings: Torino 3-1 AC Milan – Pulisic willing; same struggles

By Isak Möller -

AC Milan suffered a poor defeat away at Torino after a poor defensive display, which we have seen many times this season. A couple really should have done better, while a few did well enough, and below are the player ratings for the Rossoneri. 

Starting XI

Sportiello (6): He had a shaky moment at the start when he almost touched the ball outside the box, but recovered from that. However, he couldn’t do anything about the goals scored and he was okay with his feet, so he gets a pass here.

Kalulu (5.5): It wasn’t the best defensive display from the Frenchman and he was rather anonymous when going forward as well. He can do much better.

Thiaw (5): The main culprit on the first goal as it looked like he lost track of Zapata. It was a very good cross, we must add, but the German needed to do a whole lot better. He also could have been more assertive in other duels.

Tomori (5): Very, very poor defending on the second goal as he tried to mark the opponent that Kalulu was already marking in the centre. And then he somehow looked surprised when no one was at the back post, which is where he should have been in that situation. A whole lot of complaining from him too, not much shown.

Terracciano (5.5): He had a rather bright start to the game, playing in an inverted role, but he ultimately didn’t have that much success in his actions. In his defence, it probably could have been a 6 but we should expect more.

Musah (5.5): Similarly to the full-back above, the American often made the right runs and made himself available, but nothing of value came when he was in possession. Better compared to other games, but still not great.

Reijnders (6): Very important in terms of creating chances for Milan tonight, although the Rossoneri didn’t create a whole lot. His ability to accelerate past opponents in tight situations comes in handy all the time, but he can also contribute more.

Bennacer (6.5): An okay game overall from the captain of the evening, although he lost that duel against Pellegri in an unlucky fashion before the second goal. It was certainly a very good penalty, though, scoring his second of the season.

Pulisic (6.5 – MOTM): He hit the crossbar with a thumping effort and then won the penalty. He helped create a few more chances but also missed a few with his head. In any case, he’s the MOTM for tonight thanks to a willingness to make things happen.

Jovic (5.5): Unfortunately, while he did show off a couple of nice passes, he wasn’t incisive enough for Milan tonight. He found himself on the back foot one too many times, which is not ideal for a striker of his profile.

Okafor (6): Nearly scored a wondergoal with a nice curler and also managed to beat his man on more than one occasion. It was right to take him off, though, as he had gone a bit quiet in that period of the game.


Leao (5.5): A couple of very poor crosses straight off the bat and we didn’t see a whole lot of him, though he did get some ‘revenge’ with a nice quick counter (his shot was saved).

Florenzi (6): The veteran had a few very nice corner kicks and also found Leao with a great long ball for the aforementioned counter-attack chance.

Giroud (N/A): We didn’t see enough to give him a rating.

Pobega (N/A): We didn’t see enough to give him a rating.

The manager

Pioli (5.5): Inverted full-backs galore tonight with some peculiar tactics from Milan, though the feeling is this only brought more confusion. The same goals are still being conceded as well, which is far from ideal. Anyway, it was good to see him give the reserves a chance.

Tags AC Milan AC Milan Player Ratings Fikayo Tomori Malick Thiaw Torino


    1. Think Bennacer was injured when Puli was named taker or Bennacer just pulled captain rank and took it anyway. I think it was the latter because Pulisic snatched that ball up like he was going to take it. Pulisic wanted that penalty and probably is the penalty taker, and a lot of players would of argued but Pulisic just won the ac Milan Serie A Gentlemen’s award so what’s he gonna do ahahaha

    2. He actually picked-up the ball and looked like he was going to take it, but then he looked over at the bench (as if someone there yelled at him), the camera turned away from him, and then suddenly the camera was on Bennacer and he had the ball in his hands.

      It’s a shame, because Pulisic has never missed a Penalty, for club or country, in a match that mattered. In fact, the only Penalty he’s ever missed was this preseason, which was saved, and he tapped-in the rebound.

  1. Tomori is a pub leage standard defender without his physical capacity.

    Obviously he has his physical capacity so he is a reasonable player but he’s not someone a defence is built around.

    He’s the junior partner in a decent defensive pairing at best. In reality, he’s really a man maker in a back 3. That’s what he’d be best at.

  2. For all those screaming here Kalulu is our RB and should replace Calabria. He’s not and he cannot.

    And Gabbia is by far our best central defender or at least the most in form one. Yet people say he’s not starting material. Thiaw and Tomori are just awful, looking like two rookies.

    1. Pioli has been waiting to drop Gabbia.

      Thiaw could score a delineated own goal and still be picked ahead because we arrived on a transfer v from our youth team.

      We’ll see what the next guy does but there’s not many serie a coaches who back youth products.

  3. Forget buying 1 CB, Milan might need to buy 2 of them.
    Tomori supposedly isn’t getting called up for the national team because Southgate doesn’t watch serie A. Southgate not watching serie A gives Tomori better chance to get called up than if he watch it. Tomori was back at his form from last season.
    On the 1st goal, 3 Milan defenders vs 2 of Torino’s, still goal.
    On the 2nd goal, Tomori gets bullied by Zapata in the center of the pitch, then Pelegri fools Bennacer who totally gives up on the play, Tomori and Kalulu marking the same man, leaving Ivic wide open.
    3rd goal, Tomori again involved, dispossessed by Pellegri, nice goal by Rodriguez.
    I said it 100 times, even though Milan can use a DM, defensively their issues under Pioli are much bigger than just plugging in 1 player.
    Offensively everything is 1v1. It’s a miracle how many goals milan have scored this season without an offensive system but just relying on players individual ability.
    90 more minutes and Pioli can kick rocks.
    Also, does anyone know what position Pioli has Musah playing? He was playing him wide right, next to Pulisic.

    1. Kalulu wasn’t marking anyone in the 2nd goal. He was wondering around the penalty box cluelessly and Tomori had to rush in to mark the man. And Kalulu was supposed to be the RB yet he was in between Tomori & Thiaw – the two actual CBs on the pitch. Why the **** was Kalulu there and not where he was supposed to? And while being out of place, why not mark the opponent when you’re inside the box and the cross is coming in instead of just sniffing flowers and enjoying the nice weather?

  4. Solutions:
    1. RedBird have to sell the club to someone sensible or who can do something useful – Arabs
    2. Fire Furlani, Moncada, Scaroni
    3. Rehire Maldini and Massara
    4. Get a proper coach (not Fonseca or some mid-table managers). Someone who is capable of making the team click (like Conte, Tuchel, Conceciao, Xavi, etc.)
    5. Retain Theo, Leao, Maignan, Thiaw, and the important players (before Moneyball strikes and sinks the ship further)
    6. Get back Tonali and Kessie (is possible) – or get like-for-like players of that caliber
    7. Sell a lot of players that are not good quality (Pobega, Calabria, RLC, Musah, Okafor, Terracianno, Jovic, Mirante, Toure, Origi, Lazetic, Krunic, etc… and also Tomori – (he’s reached his peak and on a decline – can easily get $60m for him by selling him to an EPL club).
    8. Other than Theo, Leao, Maignan, Thiaw, Bennacer, Kalulu, Pulisic, Tijani, Adli, Florenzi, Gabbia) – everyone else is sellable. The team needs lot of good players and these to build a proper team… but each year the quality is just getting worst.

    Redbird has no clue about quality or football. They will destroy the club and its legacy. They will make Milan into a Serie B team at their best!

        1. With Elliot, Milan were on the right track. They were slowly rebuilding with Maldini. The only requirement was a good owner to take over the club, and maybe someone like Moncada (who could negotiate player contracts). Maldini is not a businessman, he is an elite player. Many players joined Milan only because of him and even played because they looked up to him. Milan were getting back to where they once belonged. Pioli was always overplaying players (no proper subs/rotation and many got injured at the end of a transfer window, which forced Milan to buy some free transfers (because Elliot had no money to spend, and Maldini had to buy some crap players with 1-2 days left for the transfer window to shut). Apart from that, he was doing everything right. He had the proper idea.
          But with RedBird, Milan has gone backwards. They took everything that was working well and turned it upside down and retained all the deadwood.

    1. I absolutely do not understand why Conceciao is in the conversation other than that he is probably looking for a job, and his superagent Jorge Mendes is stirring the pot.
      Porto are in third place 12 points out of first place.
      How is that an improvement over Pioli?

      1. Maldini bought deadwoods ‘for free’ because no one was willing to join Milan for a meager salary (even mid/low-tier clubs would pay better). Monbeyball spent $100+m and 80% of them were deadwood. It’s the difference.
        Try buying 5-6 players for free (Elliot/RedBird did not want to spend), and let’s see how
        great they are. A striker like Zirkzee costs 60M.. Do you think Maldini had this budget?? He was asked to buy 10 players with a $25 million budget.
        Those deadwood were bought by Maldini because they were favored by Pioli, as he loves working with B-grade players.

        All of Maldini’s buys were proper players that have increased their values over 10x times or more.

    2. @Sam you realized that those years when Rich investors injected cash like crazy are gone. Not all Arabs run their club good. Look at PSG who has won any UCL

      1. PSG has won all trophies domestically for years. They were in the finals, semis for multiple years. A CL is all what they lacked. But again the French league is not the same as other top leagues. They have overachieved. With no Arab owner, PSG wouldn’t even be in conversation today. They would be as insignificant as Marseille or Lille. Whereas, PSG are a top club today that can even attract the world’s best like Messi, Zlatan, Mbappe, etc. You think Milan can do that with the Americans? Never!

    3. @sam. It is moneyball time Sam. We have profitable team. The red birdie is flying high. The bird is happy.

    4. 2nd place, absolutely nothing to play for, a coach who is leaving, we lose the game and we have to reorganize the entire club. This isn’t Football Manager bro. Grow up.

      1. 2nd place with $100m spent? Milan were one of the top spenders in the league.
        Napoli lost their coach. Juventus declined. Lazio, Atlanta, Roma Fiorentina all declined… Hell, even Bologna finished 3rd this season. You think finishing 2nd in the worst serie A season of the last 5 years is a flex? Inter are 15 points ahead and already won the league with 4 games left.. A 2nd place finish is a disaster considering that Pioli had lot of budget and players that he wanted at his disposal.

        1. 65 of that million was from a sale dude. If Tonali had not been sold we’d have spent almost the same NET AMOUNT we did the previous summer. The only position improved was RW. Diaz was replaced by RLC, Tonali was “replaced” by Reijnders. The rest went into depth. Accordingly we went from 5th to 2nd.

  5. First time I have ever seen an inverted center back. Our Fullbacks had no defensive responsibilities and Torino took advantage. Weird Pulisic did not take the penalty as he was the only player on the pitch that looked like they had a clue what to do.

  6. Why does he keep forcing the inverted fullbacks is beyond me.. it was evident very soon that it will not work for Milan. Just keep them wide and have them do overlapping runs.. torino kept it simple and it worked.. sigh

      1. the only one that could pull it off is Florenzi (he played CM once upon a time for roma) but he doesnt invert him for some reason

  7. I thought everybody did poorly except Puli, Okafor, Reijnders, and Isma. These 4 players at least were trying, while the others looked like they are already enjoying their summer vacation.

  8. People are talking about stats of our new players. Well here’s a fact – we haven’t been able to field a dominating starting 11 with these new signings. Pioli trys to play Mussah on the right, thinking he’ll connect better with Pulisic, but we really look like we have a below average midfield; whoever we play.

    Horrible performance by the lad, really terrible. Cheap goals is our middle name, we are the hooker on the corner when it comes to goals, and everyone is taking a shot.

    Our defense was terrible, our defensive midfield as well, and our attack was below mediocre. And this is when Theo and Leao didn’t play, and all our amazing summer signings (okay, apart from RLC) had a chance to shine, all against midtable f’ing Torino. Great improvement, yeah sure.

    1. Have we won any games with Musah starting? He is by far the worst signing with what he cost and with what he has achieved for Milan.

      1. If I were asked to sum up Musah’s season I’d say this: Helluva lot twisting and turning and trying with zero end product. He tries and tries yet achieves nothing. Nothing at all. Not a single good deed whole season. Incredible but true. Such a useless player. Especially with the ball.

  9. I have no clue how we won the Scudetto with those players to be fair it was really a miracle. Kalulu and Tomori must have taken something during that period because I wouldn’t even play them as subs now. Other than Theo the management should consider offers for all our defenders.

    1. Kessie made all the difference. The 1st match of the following season (vs. Udinese), I said that the Fik – Pierre performance miracle might be just a one hit (or one season) wonder. Them without Kessie were just not the same. And well as expected, the comment section gone fiasco.

    2. That was the Zlatan-effect. Just like he made Nocerino & Prince-Boateng look decent, he made Kalulu play better than he is. No Zlatan and Kalulu is a Serie C level player.

  10. Pulisic MOTM?!?! No one deserves above a 5.5 in this match, maybe a 6 for Okafor. This was F’ING Torino for god sakes !! Terrible terrible performance overall.

    And that Terachano lad. Why the F can’t he handle the full 90 minutes? What has he been doing all this time if not training?

    1. Torino is not some random low tier Italian side.. they play compact and tight af. Hard to break down compared to actual low tier Italian sides. Fact they got 4th best defense in serie a should tell you that without someone mansplainin

  11. I know it’s fantasy football, but I can’t help it: replace Pellegrino, Thiaw, Tomori, Kalulu (5, 15, 30 and 20 millions) with Calafiori, Buongiorno and Scalvini for 110 millions. Then Musah and RLC with Ricci and Samarjic and for the attack I would vote Scamacca. We could use the Saladmaker, Origi, CDK etc money to finance these additions. A proper director should materialise this, but… RDZ should be the coach. 🤷🏼‍♀️

  12. GK: same
    RB: Calabria and Florenzi
    LB: Theo and Terracciano
    CB: Buongiorno, Scalvini, Gabbia, Calafiori
    DM/CM/AM: Bennacer, Ricci, Reijnders, Pobega, Adli, Samardjic
    RW/LW/CF: Puli, Leao, Chuck, Okafor, Scamacca. Jovic?

  13. Like I said last week it was only Cagliari. These guys love to show up against small teams. Torino had something to play for so …

  14. We need to get tonali and kessie back if possible. Also enough of foreign defenders and only foreign players in general. We are not an epl team. MILAN IS ITALIAN!!!!!

    Sell Theo, mike(too injury prone), those, tomori, florenzi, rlc, musah, Reinjders and buy 2 of Buongiorno, Scalvini, Calafiori for cb. Buy udogie for lb( he’s a better DEFENDER than Theo and he’s good going forward), Kayode for rb to take over Calabria who can be his back up.

    Promote bartesaghi for back of udogie. Promote simic, zeroli and eletu.

    Buy scamacca, desplaches(or promote the primavera keeper), pafundi, casadei, baldanzi

    Udogie, gabbia, calafiori(others from list), Kayode
    Tonali, kessie, baldanzi(or others from list)
    Leao, scamacca, pulisic(earned his spot)

    This lineup has lots of attacking as well as players that can actually defend. Maybe Leao can be sold but he seriously needs to step up, he should be at Mbappe a lvl by now.

      1. I would if I could. The problem with these coaches now is they are too afraid to play youth. We have the players but these old heads play like little bitches. Take risks and be innovative.

  15. Everyone has given up on the season it looks like, pioli included. I mean unless hes been told nothing can save your job he sure showed that he can’t motivate his players no more. These inverted wing backs have never worked and yet he still insists on it.

    When did our defence get so bad? Like really really bad, I can’t believe how many goals we have conceded and 80% of them is disorganized and losing our man. Both headers were open and nobody is even looking at them. It’s seriously pathetic. When pioli first started here our defence was rock solid. The scudetto season they were a brick wall and now he can’t seem to figure it out. Can’t wait for this season to be over, it was definitely one to forget

    1. Our defense got bad when we decided to continue to abandon Italians. Gabbia has come in and performed amazingly. Thiaw, kalulu, tomori only have speed and that’s it. They are brainless. Italians defenders have an actual footballing IQ. They understand positioning and situational awareness. They are good 1v1 as well. That’s why I said to sell these guys and go for an all Italian backline bc we get players that can attack and properly defend.

        1. Simple, like i already explained, these coaches are not playing the upcoming players. Instead they are using players with no hunger and are getting older. I have a question for you. Have you been watching the youth Italian teams play? They have all the skill needed but in Italy they are too focused on age. The old heads need to leave and let youth and innovation take over

  16. Here is something fun for you guys. Milan has conceded 45 or 46 goals just in the league alone. Do you know what the goals allowed looks like in epl? Please go take a look. Only the top 3 have GA below 35. Manc is at 33… from there on it jumps to 42 and the. 56-60…. Milan is 4/5 goals way from 50. We are built like a epl team and our numbers reflect that.

    1. No – any sane person would want him. BUT we know these cheap owners won’t spend the $$ to get him or spend the $$ on transfers a coach like a Klopp or a Conte would demand. So it’s a dream.

  17. The thing that I hate the most this situation is the coach that would probably help the most in our defensive calamity of a situation is Conte.

  18. There’s zero point making any kind of analysis based on these last few games especially with all of the talk of Pioli going.

    The only thing I’d say is the crosses came from two of our former full backs.

    We don’t even have a cover at LB and we have another one of our former players scoring and assisting against us.

    Rodriguez would’ve been finishing his seventh season at the club – imagine that much experience being available off the bench?

    Imagine not having wasted time and money on Ballo-Touré or whoever else we played in that position in the past 7 years?

    Bellanova was our youth player who never played for us but managed to play for Inter and now Torino.

    Speaking of other ex players, CDK scored again.

    Let’s see some stats for the number of goals scored and assists by our former players this season!

    1. Rodriguez was awful with us. And yesterday he scored like his first goal since the beginning of the decade ! And this his first time he manages to get 2 assists in a season.
      I understand and agree to certains extents that we should be trying to keep our players especially our youth instead of always looking for the flashy new ones, but Rodriguez ? Really ?

      1. a) he was awful because we were awful. Serial scudetto winner Bonucci was also ‘awful’. We shouldn’t be celebrating successive players’ awfulness. We should be questioning how we took so many players and ruined them.

        b) it’s not about his goals for Torino. Clearly he’s a player who is capable of playing in Serie A. And he could’ve been a perfect cover for LB and CB instead of all of the randomers. But instead we sought ‘Milan level’ players like Ballo-Touré. This is what happens with the conveyor belt. Constantly looking for some improvement rather than benefitting from having established players playing together for years. And you can apply that to nearly every position.

        1. “Constantly looking for some improvement rather than benefitting from having established players playing together for years. And you can apply that to nearly every position.”
          I do agree with this, don’t get me wrong, but Rodriguez is just a bad example IMO. He was an “established” player in a team that didn’t achieve anything, and the team improved when he and many other players were replaced by better ones.
          Rodriguez is an example of an era (or a summer) where we brought many players many of whom were overhyped and weren’t as good as we thought and in the end wasn’t able to convince Pioli. At some point we gotta be able to decide if a player is good enough to stay or not, rather than keeping him because he “might” play well in a game against us in a given game.
          “We should be questioning how we took so many players and ruined them.” It’s not always as easy as it seems. We DO sometimes ruin players, but other times a player is simply not fitting for us or incapable to deal with the pressure of the jersey.
          It’s one thing to play in Torino or Atalanta, the pressure in a big club like Milan is a completely different ball game. And also there are players, like Rodriguez who were simply lucky to have been purchased by us and neither did have a good career prior to us nor after leaving us. But you should look at each case individually rather than systematically blame the club each time for a player’s failure.

          1. The main reason the team improved was because of Pioli.

            Pioli was the first vaguely qualified coach we hired since Allegri (maybe harsh on Montella and Mihajlović).

            You simply can’t judge most of the hundreds of players we went through. And he arrived in that crazy 2017 summer where we signed too many players and ruined most of them. We managed to ruin Biglia who was a World Cup finalist. And Biglia managed to ruin Locatelli. Managers and players ruining each other.

            That was the ‘banter era’. And as a result we have a load of ex-players around the place. Some have gone onto better things including our rivals, some had their careers ruined.

            Before he signed for Milan Rodriguez had done well. He didn’t exactly do a lot wrong from memory for Milan. Theo came in and was an obvious upgrade. But he could’ve stuck around because we had other priorities than a back up full back.

            And that is the issue with the conveyor belt approach. There’s no focus. If we focused we’d be able to improve the first team without constantly worrying about depth.

            People talk about pressure playing for a ‘club like Milan’ and then assume that we can keep signing new players to play for a ‘club like Milan’. But very few players can just rock up and play for a ‘club like Milan’. It takes time, which is all the more reason to avoid high turnovers of players.

            The clubs that are ‘like Milan’ have players who have played together for years. They’re not all super stars. Many are solid professionals who have been at the club for years. And that frees up these clubs to focus on the super stars.

            Had we kept Rodriguez we might have a world class CB.

          2. Could have Rodriguez became a world class defender had we kept him ? We can only speculate. In the end he was a player coming from the bundesliga from a team that was ranked everywhere from 2nd place to relegation and he is currently in a mid-tier team in serie A.
            In 2017 we signed many players that seemed good, but we have to remember that some of them performed well in inferior leagues (something currently also being blamed on some of our signings) and/or whose best performances are from years ago. And yes, some of those signings managed to ruin our youth products and didn’t even shine themselves (Lucas Biglia).
            Pioli has improved many things when he came in 2019, and we have to remember that one of his decisions was to disregard many of those 2017 signings for the sake of newer younger players that at that time were less impressive on paper (Bennacer, Theo,…).
            Big successfull clubs like you said have many players that play together for years, and I will add that some of those players don’t even look that good individually (Real Madrid’s Vasquez, Mendy, Nacho,….) and I will even add that clubs like PSG who soley focus on getting the “best players” each season end up failing miserably against “inferior teams on paper”. But we have to remember that those successfull clubs got there by a lot of trial and error, for each Modric, Kroos,… that Madrid go t and kept, look at how many good players they ruined or lost to rivals.
            In the end, I hope that the new coach/staff however might be will pay more attention to the players already at disposal especially our youth products and make a good use of them, build around them,…

  19. For all those jacking off on how much we score, a big juicy fact:

    “With the three goals conceded at the hands of Torino, the goals conceded by the Rossoneri team in the championship rise to 46.

    The numbers speak clearly and condemn Stefano Pioli’s boys, also because this statistic means that this year’s is one of Milan’s worst defenses since the beginning of the 21st century. Only in 2013/14 (49 goals conceded) and 2014/15 (50 goals conceded) were worse figures recorded.”

    Banter era stats right there. Yet we managed to finish 2nd.

    I’ll give you two more for free:

    Pioli is overachieving and apart from Inter Serie A competition is a joke this season.

  20. Failure of a season thanks to management.

    Oh wait but we are gonna finish second so it was great!! LOL. Second but ZERO trophies. Because that is what all great clubs keep track of right? The many times they finished 2nd, 3rd or 4th place but never won a trophy. Anyone know what “place” we are in history with those stats?? Lol.

    Terrible season thx to Redbird and our inexperienced management. Save for a few signings – Pulisic, Sportiello and Reijnders – the other signings were average to poor and inconsistent. We can blame Pioli – he is the easy scapegoat sure, and didn’t help his cause with his lack of tactics – HOWEVER, had the squad been built better we would have maybe come out with a trophy and should have at least qualified for UCL knockout stages.

    This management FAILED US. Spent 20M on a backup player in Musah who is extremely raw; 28M on a RW who took 8 months to find his form (Chuk) and then was injured; failed to get reinforcements in January (Terracino? Lol); no starting caliber striker and instead went the cheap route and bet on a player (Jovic) nobody wanted and who cannot play as a sole #9; STILL didn’t address the DM position nor a back up to Theo; nor a starting RB who can actually cross the ball instead of Calabria; etc….

    The only thing we “cooked” last summer is ourselves. We took 2 steps back, not 2 forward. Heck even Juve won a trophy this year.

    Inter have Marotta, Juve have Giuntoli and we have a banker in Furlani. If you don’t think that matters then you don’t understand football.

  21. “Tomori (5): Very, very poor defending on the second goal as he tried to mark the opponent that Kalulu was already marking in the centre. And then he somehow looked surprised when no one was at the back post, which is where he should have been in that situation.”

    LOL. Look again. Kalulu had no idea there was a player behind him and wasn’t marking anyone. That’s why Tomori HAD TO rush in to save Kalulu’s 4ss. And why the **** was Kalulu in the CB-position there as he was supposed to be the RB. And guess whose man was the one who headed the 2-0 goal? Right backs. You know. The position Kalulu was playing. LOL. Don’t try to blame Tomori for this goal as it was 100% Kalulu’s fault. (Although Terreciano’s effort cannot be underestimated either as there was soooooooooo much empty space for the Torino winger to send it the cross).

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