MN: The three main factors that have contributed to Milan’s Champions League struggles

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan made a long-awaited return to the Champions League after an over seven-year absence but it would be fair to say it hasn’t exactly gone to plan so far.

Milan have racked up just 1 point in 4 games so far in the group stages, and it cannot be contributed to factors affecting general form given the team have amassed 31 points out of 33 available in Serie A, so it seems to be in Europe that the problems have arisen.

MilanNews have analysed the club’s struggles so far in the Champions League starting with the first factor which is the high quality of the group they are in with Liverpool, Atletico Madrid and Porto. Starting from the fourth pot the club knew they would face a difficult group, but looking at the UEFA club rankings with Liverpool are in third place (3), Atletico Madrid in tenth (10) and Porto in fifteenth (15), it became clear it was an uphill battle.

Another factor that has certainly influenced the poor results is the lack of experience that most of the squad have in games of a certain level in the Champions League. Apart from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Olivier Giroud and Simon Kjaer the squad are very young and most had not played in the competition before, while Stefano Pioli is also inexperienced in this arena.

Finally, several incidents of bad refereeing have influenced key moments in the matches against Atletico Madrid and Porto. Franck Kessie’s red card after 29 minutes against Atleti and the penalty in added time condemned Milan to defeat while against Porto in both matches their goals were given despite fouls on Bennacer.

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Tags AC Milan


  1. #1 reason is refs. I hate to say this but it’s true. Should have tied or beat atleti only lost with an entire game of ref incidents. 1st game v Porto should have tied but for a ref incident. And then this game while it wasn’t an atrocious call it was a foul on Bennacer so would have also been a tie like we got or maybe a win. So you add all this up and without ref obvious errors we’d have anywhere from 3 to 7 points… and atleti would be on 1 to 2 points and Porto on 2 points and we would be in second… so.. yes we’re inexperienced and have weak areas but we have done enough and have been wrongly penalized and have lost multi-millions due to ref obvious errors. This is not right.

  2. How could Pioli be so silly that he did not start with Zlatan … Zlatan is a big and heavy machine that requires a longer starting distance, to go in with him so late in the match is not good coaching. If it were the case that Pioli judged that Zlatan would not be able to play the whole match, I still think that he would have left such an impression that Milan won if he had been on the pitch from the beginning …. Then I do not understand, and it can after all, depends on my measure of mental needs, how Maldini can even fit in Milan’s A team … (he does not) hopefully it depends on Maldini senior but such consideration should not be taken …

  3. We can’t blame it all on the refs. When a player tries to draw a foul, he’s taking a risk. If the contact is deemed ‘rough but fair’, you’re rolling around on the pitch like a fool. Bennacer, Theo and sometimes Krunic have a bad habit of doing this.

  4. I think its frustrating to see all of these issues combine and impact our results in these fixtures. Lack of a striker option, inexperience, bad refs / tough red card on Kessie, difficult group. If even one of these things were less severe, we’d be in a different position. Look at when we took the game to Liverpool (briefly), Atletico & Porto. It shows we can compete with the best but only a matter of time before cracks show. Looking forward to having a more consistent striker. I’d also like to see Bakayoko utilized more now that he’s healthy. Forza Milan!

    1. Yes, exactly. Like I keep saying, this is Milan’s first time in the CL for 8 seasons. Outside of Ibra, Florenzi and Giroud, I can’t think of another player that has played in the competition. Maybe Tatarusanu at some point and Tomori when he was at Chelsea. It’s a young and inexperienced group, but we should flashes of ability, like at Liverpool and dominating Madrid until the ref decided to change the situation. In addition to inexperience it is still a relatively shallow squad, and even some of the starters can be improved. I’m talking about RW, AMC and striker. These are known problems and they haven’t been addressed because of the aforementioned lack of CL qualification and attending financial gain. We’re 10-1-0 in the league and it seems (fingers crossed) that we’re on our way to a second consecutive CL qualification. With those funds (and increased reputation to attract players) we can begin to address the deficiencies. A third straight qualification and we will do so even more. Patience and consistency are the bywords right now. Forget this year’s CL and enjoy the title challenge. We’re on our way up and there is a lot to look forward to.

  5. 1. We simply shouldn’t have sold Hauge.
    2. We would have signed Tammy Abraham, El Sharawwy or even Balotelli instead of this Giroud or Mandzukic.
    3. We seriously need a decent playmaker, and a strong right winger.
    4. We need an oil billionaire or arab royalty to splurge on Milan, otherwise all our groomed players will keep moving on to richer clubs. Football is primarily a sport and entertainment. Business is an afterthought. These players are celebrity performers, and need to be regarded as such.

  6. u guys remember kebab referee??

    did someone check his account yet? surely he got atleast half a million deposited for that game

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