Tuttosport: Milan’s decision not to invest in a centre-back called into question

By Oliver Fisher -

Malick Thiaw and Simon Kjaer played together as a pairing for the first time against Inter, and the defensive performance from AC Milan certainly gave that impression.

Tuttosport (via PianetaMilan) talks about how Stefano Pioli’s 4-3-3 matched up – or failed to – against Inter’s 3-5-2. Davide Calabria and Theo Hernández were allowed to move inside from full-back, pushing Tijjani Reijnders and Ruben Loftus-Cheek up, but that left the central defenders remain exposed to many two-on-twos.

Kjaer and Thiaw are certainly not Alessandro Nesta, Thiago Silva or Paolo Maldini and such an approach made it clear that in times of selection problems there is not a lot of quality depth available to Pioli at centre-back.

Only Marco Pellegrino arrived in the summer from Club Atlético Platense for €5.5m, with Matteo Gabbia leaving on loan. Sven Botman was a target in the summer of 2022 and he will visit San Siro tomorrow with Newcastle as one of the Premier League’s better defenders.

Kjaer – despite some good performances – has never returned to the levels he achieved before the cruciate ligament injury in his left knee back in December 2021. Thiaw’s rise has been rapid and he has established himself as a starter, but he too must expect growing pains.

In the summer, before going for Pellegrino, Milan had explored Evan N’Dicka, Maxime Estève and Andrew Omobamidele, but they didn’t end up investing in a new central defender.

Now, with the five goals conceded in the derby, the Rossoneri have shown some of their weaknesses and Pioli must adapt in order to not leave the rearguard exposed.

Tags AC Milan Malick Thiaw Simon Kjaer


  1. The scoreline did not really justify the game. They deserved to win but not bye that. Things did go there way with that early goal and they could after just sit back and counter. In time the team will be more in sync and Kjaer wont play anyway in defence. However Pioli needs to actually see over the collected defending. Everytime a team is close to our final third you get the feeling its to easy to creat chances. The positioning needs to be better

      1. So what you are saying is that 5-1 really pointed to how the game looked like. I am not a fan of Pioli and wished he was sacked long ago. But people really are quick to erase everything. No team will play like Inter did. Sense Pioli do not know how to adjust that is a silver lining in all this. Just try to focus on tomorrows game try go again

        1. Bro we barely created anything…we got one goal
          They were dangerous almost every time they had the ball…they got 5
          The scoreline is exactly how the game went
          We had the ball its true but we didn’t do anything

  2. Juve paper trying to pin it on Thiaw to defend Pioli because they know that Milan with Pioli is weaker so it’s a benefit to Juve if Milan keep this fraud as a coach.

    1. Under this fraud Juventus, has beaten Milan only twice. Last time in January 2021! Let that sink in. But i suppose, Juventus wants this fraud to remain our coach.

  3. C’mon now everybody blames cent defs. Yep Thiaw was awful, but mostly it’s our tactics fault.
    Also, with such high defensive line playing vs fast and dynamic forwards def. midifelder should provide some covering, but Krunic didn’t do it, he can’t control tempo, can’t provide much in build up play and apparently lacks def positioning. CM-s also didn’t limit enough passing lanes for opposition, everytime space opened on our half their midfielders where on spot with great passes. So it’s not really individual mistakes that caused 5 goals.

  4. Ideally you want to bring in a CB in January but whoever it is will need time to adapt, so the effect won’t be immediate.

    Thiaw is good but he needs time to mature and improve more. The jury is still out on whether Tomori and Kalulu can return to their former best.

  5. We do need a new CB, but please, please, please no more foreigners, invest is Scalvini, we desperately need italian blood, we need some character and some understanding of what it is to be Milan, if anything sell Kalulu and Tomori to finance Scalvini then look at the future with Thiaw, pellegrino and if Gabbia continues his progress he will be a good addition for the future until the primavera are ready.
    We also must consider a proper DM, Samuele Ricci would be ideal, all will say too expensive, but we cannot be humiliated again in the Derby, so we need players that will give everything and who understand the importance of being Milan, not that shower of shit from Saturday night

  6. It’s not only CB we needed. It was also second LB and Second RB + true Defensive Midfielder too and they didn’t do anything

  7. I wrote this under another article:

    “I’ve begun to think more on the claims by some that we need more Italian players, and particularly ones that are Milan fans, and I’m beginning to agree. I have a friend from Pavia, who lives in Milan and is an Inter fan. I was messaging with him after the game and I mentioned how Inter has Bastoni, Acerbi, Dimarco, Darmian, Frattesi, Barrella, all Italians, all starters and all nazionale players (except for maybe Darmian). Even Sensi and Audero have been called up to Italy. All of them understand the league, the football culture and the importance of such games. He agreed, and also mentioned the most of those players support Inter too. I had an epiphany. And now I think getting rid of Tonali was a massive mistake. If we needed to sell a player to generate funds, it should have been Maignan, who would have fetched a similar price. I’m not rejecting the summer transfers, I just think Maignan (or Theo if there was no market for Maignan) should have been the sacrifice, not Tonali.”

    To expand on that:

    It may have been even better to sell Mike and Kalulu (who at that point might have fetched 25m). Assuming Mike was sold at 60m, that would give us 85m. Add the “usual” 50m and that’s 135m to spend. Purchases to have been made: Scalvini (probably 60m), RLC (16m (actual)), Mamardashvilli (25m), Okafor (14m (actual)), Pulisic (20m actual)). That’s 135m. Any loose change would have gone to backup LB or RB.

    We would have the same team as we do now, minus a little depth at RW (Chukwueze doesn’t arrive, so we would have kept Messias as backup), Tonali is there instead of Reijnders, most importantly we have a top young left-footed Italian CB join, and a good enough GK to replace Mike. I know this is “playing FM”, but it was possible, and I think we would have been better for it, with a larger Italian core and an improved defense while still improving midfield and attack.

Comments are closed

Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.