Juric’s press and missed chances: Tactical analysis of Milan’s loss against Torino

By Rohit Rajeev -

AC Milan made the trip to face Torino at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino on Sunday night and their 17-game unbeaten away league run came crashing to an end.

Milan missed early chances and ultimately paid the price in what was a damaging two-minute spell in the first half. The first goal for Torino came from a free-kick as an unmarked Djidji headed past Ciprian Tatarusanu, and the second goal came shortly after with Aleksei Miranchuk finishing with a deflected shot.

The Rossoneri were gifted a route back into the game when a long hopeful ball from Sandro Tonali was not dealt with as a miscommunication between Milinkovic-Savic and Buongiorno saw the ball fall to Junior Messias who curled into a virtually empty net.

The result means that Milan were unable to keep pace with the other teams around them that won and Napoli now move six points clear, while Inter and Juventus gain ground. Here are a few points from the match…

1. Best pressing side

While Milan identify as a team that like to press their opponents, the team that have the most intense press in the 2021-22 Serie A season so far is Torino as per website Understat.

Using PPDA as a metric, Torino allowed least amount of passes for their opponents before a defensive action. Juric for that reason deserves a lot of credit, as it obviously makes his side a lot harder to play against.

2. Off the ball structure

One of the prime tactical features of Juric is his off the ball structure. It means that when Torino do not have the ball they have a sound defensive shape that allows them to press and win the ball back quickly.

It was one of the prime features of Thomas Tuchel’s reign at Chelsea before he got sacked earlier this season following the defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia.

Juric – both at Verona and now at Torino – uses a 3-4-2-1 giving his side dominance in the central areas.

Higher up the pitch Juric uses man-on-man marking and blocks passing options to the double pivot, often luring Tommaso Pobega into their pressing traps and having him overpowered using 2v1’s and forcing him to take decisions quickly.

3. Higher xG but missed chances

Torino had an xG of 0.87 in Sunday night’s game and Milan had an xG of 1.11, but what does it mean? Well, it means that the Granata scored their goals from more difficult chances than the ones Milan created.

Just like the Verona game when Milan were 1-0 up, Giroud failed to close the game after a through ball from Brahim Diaz and Milan had to sufer through waves and waves of Verona attacks before Sandro Tonali scored the winner in the final 10 minutes.

Fate wasn’t as kind in Turin though as the home side scored 2 goals after Rafael Leao missed two golden chances that Brahim Diaz gave him, and these squandered opportunities ended up being costly.

The data

MarkStatsBot has provided some interesting information from the game, starting with a look at the shape Milan played with their starting XI out there.

As can be seen, Divock Origi’s average position was far deeper than that of the other three forwards, while Sandro Tonali was dragged out to the right leaving Tommaso Pobega isolated in front of the back four. There was also very little interplay between Leao, Origi, Messias and Brahim.


The field tilt was 61.3% to 38.7% in favour of Torino, while the defensive line height of Juric’s side was 51.0m compared to 35.9m for Milan, a difference of over 15m which showed how deep the Rossoneri played.

Looking at the territorial man, Torino’s shape out of possession shows how rigid and organised they are, with the forwards covering the most ground as their press dictates. When in possession the positional freedom of the likes of Vlasic, Miranchuk and even the ball-playing centre-back Buongiorno is obvious.


Milan, on the other hand, have an obvious shape when in possession but there is virtually no presence beyond the halfway line aside from Leao which shows how much the Diavolo struggled to establish a presence in the final third and how much they played in their own half.



Every defeat is a lesson, and this one probably serves as a reminder to Pioli that rotation can cause issues for his side – especially in midfield. The absence of Ismael Bennacer was felt, the changes at half-time made little impact and defensive inattention can create a mountain that cannot always be climbed.

Tags AC Milan Torino - Milan


  1. Milan are struggling a lot this season to just play. The team lacks organisation and structure, pose little threat when they attack. Just a heartache to wathc really. The sooner Pioli realises he has all the assets to play a proper 3-man midfield, with one DM/regista and 2 CMs infront (with differing x’tics), the better for the team. Cos currently for most parts of a game we play with 10 men plus a ghost in the AMC Position.

    1. The ghost in the AMC position, is because of bad positioning of the CMs (Pobega). He simply kept running forward (when that is not even his strength) without any proper thought, leaving Tonali to cover and stay back in case of a counterattack. Tonali should have been the one doing that, but in a doube pivot that is dangerous. Pobega should have never moves forward, allowing Diaz more time on the ball to stretch the play and feed Leao and Messias (even though Messias stays more defensive than offensive). So it is a bad system that Pioli is employing with Pobega as CM and Messias as RW. Instead he should have opted to play Dest/Rebic on the RW and Bennacer as the CM. It would be balanced, allowing Diaz to be more on the ball and create chances. Whenever Milan did they beat teams comfortably. Pioli is simply trying different things and messing it all up! Only Pioli has to be blamed for it. Poor tactics and wrong personnel in wrong positions

  2. Leao should work for what he is demanding. His performance against Salzburg will surely determine if we can afford to keep him and help pay off his debts.

  3. So the point is that Pobega sucks, but we have no other options if we want to rest a player. That’s what happens when you let your number 1 midfielder in Kessie leave and don’t bother to replace him. Milan have no depth. If they have their starting 11 out there they can look really good. If they have injuries or need to rest a player they can be beaten by anyone.

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