Sky journalist Peppe Di Stefano has given an update from Milanello on a number of different topics but in particular AC Milan’s midfield department.
It is a day of reflection for Milan after their 1-0 defeat against Juventus at San Siro last night, a game that was conditioned by Malick Thiaw’s red card in the 40th minute and was won with a deflected shot from 30 yards.
There are doubts beginning to creep in about the team’s attacking contributions given that Rafael Leao hasn’t scored for a month while Olivier Giroud is without an open play goal since round one and only Ruben Loftus-Cheek has scored out of the midfielders.
Di Stefano spoke on Sky from Milanello and he gave an update on a few different topics related to Milan, with his comments relayed by Radio Rossonera.
What do we take from last night’s game?
“It’s not alarming as a defeat, I was much more worried about the derby. However, it must be analysed, I looked at the data this morning: one is the attacking difficulty not in the production of scoring opportunities but in the scoring.
“Last year, in this period, Milan had scored 22 goals, this year 16. Giroud, Milan’s main striker, has scored four goals, three of which were penalties, the last one 54 days ago, Leao has not scored for a month.
“Of the six Milan midfielders (and in the 4-3-3 the midfielders must score goals) there was only one goal, that of Loftus-Cheek in Cagliari, but not a winning goal. I struggle to understand why Reijnders, Pobega and Musah haven’t scored.
“There is no need to be alarmed by the defeat: in 11 versus 11 they would certainly have held their own. The negative element is precisely that of the goals, we need to reflect and find the antidote to this problem, and I understand that we are talking about it right now at Milanello.”
Are you expecting news on Loftus-Cheek?
“No, not for Paris, he trained separately today too. I don’t even know if we’ll see him in Naples. Loftus-Cheek’s problem is not a medical one, which has been resolved, but rather a nuisance that nevertheless remains.
“We are talking about a player who needs to be very careful, he has a different engine than the others, he is 1.91 meters tall and weighs at least 90 kilos. I didn’t believe it but he makes the difference on the pitch, Milan have another step with him, but you have to wait for him.
“Today he trained separately, I find it hard to think that after three weeks Milan will throw him on the pitch, we need to try to get him back for Naples.
“More than ever I’m realising that he really gives an extra push to Milan, he helps up front and he helps behind, he is balanced on and off the pitch. Milan must recover him as soon as possible.”
Do you expect a different Milan in Paris?
“Meanwhile, Milan recover Theo, an absence that few spoke about yesterday. Bergomi said yesterday at the Club that Theo is an asset, a player with whom even Leao plays better. They get Maignan back, despite Mirante’s excellent game, but the Frenchman is better with his feet and has more leadership.
“I am convinced that Pobega will play from the first minute together with one of Adli, Krunic and Reijnders (therefore the exclusion of Loftus-Cheek is almost certain). It is no coincidence that Pobega has always played in the Champions League, a very physical player.
“To get through the group, Milan needs a breakthrough against Paris Saint-Germain, it would be a good idea to start the day after tomorrow. I think we will see a Milan that will want to win, just like PSG who only have three points anyway.
“It will be a good match, Milan are very strong on the counter-attack and I’m very curious.”