Luca Serafini has urged AC Milan’s leaders to take the team by the hand and out of a difficult moment, while he also explained why he would keep using Theo Hernandez at centre-back.
After the 2-2 draw against Salernitana at the Stadio Arechi just before Christmas there were widespread reports that Stefano Pioli’s job was more at risk than ever before, and yet the team have again responded as they so often do.
Milan have won back-to-back games with their coach under pressure, firstly beating Sassuolo 1-0 at San Siro on December 30 and then following that up with a 4-1 Coppa Italia victory over Cagliari to open the new year.
The feeling is that one negative result could still ignite the long list of doubts and bring issues back to the surface, such as the injury crisis which has seen Matteo Gabbia recalled and Theo playing as a centre-back.
Serafini published his weekly column on MilanNews and in addition to talking about the aims for the remainder of the January window he also made some points on the leaders within the squad.
“Frankly, at this stage I would insist on Theo Hernandez as central defender. In this role, in addition to his availability, he is performing at his best thanks to the attention, concentration and self-sacrifice which he has lacked quite a bit lately. So much so that Pioli didn’t fail to direct a couple of affectionate jabs at him: the bar needed to be raised,” he said.
“Milan needs its two top technical leaders, Theo and Rafa, more than ever. Leao also ended up in the sights of some fans (he has been among the critics for some time) who were not willing to allow him to end his convalescence.
“The boos shouldn’t put him down. San Siro is used to it well, he’s always hit the aces more ferociously than the less gifted ones. It happened to Rivera, Gullit, Seedorf, Albertini, even Van Basten. The Rossoneri San Siro demands the best from the best, the reconciliation with the good entrance and the goal against Cagliari must serve as a spur for Rafa.
“It’s time for technical leaders, as well as character leaders, to take the group by the hand, helping it to unite, suffer with humility, and bring home the results. Just like last week, I repeat that at this stage the game must adapt to the players and not vice versa.
“You win with your head, with your heart, but also by changing your skin when necessary. Happy 2024 again to all of you: many events will be needed to make it better than 2023, we must have faith and desire to each contribute their part.”