AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli might well be missing the presence of two key figures in Paolo Maldini and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a report has claimed.
This morning’s edition of Tuttosport (via PianetaMilan) recalls that each time Milan have faced a big game this season – namely the ones against Inter, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain – they have lost.
Another defeat against Napoli on Sunday would turn it into a crisis. Returning from Paris, Pioli had a discussion with the captain, Davide Calabria, over the words he said after the game against PSG.
Calabria said they were to shake up and motivate the team, but criticism still remains for the coach’s tactical choices.
“The problem is both psychological and tactical. We were unbalanced, accepting one-on-one matches against these players,” he said.
There is concern about the tactical transformation of Milan who lost against Juventus precisely because Malick Thiaw found himself as the last man on Moise Kean and in Paris they conceded the first goal by leaving Kylian Mbappé in too much space.
Milan’s defence suffers and the attack doesn’t score. The attacking trio have been forced to work overtime because Samuel Chukwueze is injured, while Noah Okafor was but he is about to return,
Luka Jović got hurt at the Parc des Princes while warming up as well, which didn’t help things, meaning a 37-year-old Olivier Giroud had to play the full 90 minutes.
He is without an open play goal since the first game of the season, while Leao needs to become more consistent in order to realise his potential.
Tuttosport highlighted the absence in the dressing room of a leader like Ibrahimovic and, in the management, of a figure like Maldini. Until last season, Ibrahimovic was pulling the strings at Milanello and, behind him, Maldini hovered.
It should be remembered that at a media level Maldini acted as Pioli’s ‘umbrella’ even in the darkest moments (such as after the 4-0 defeat against Lazio at the Olimpico).
In Paris, according to the newspaper’s analysis, a void was felt around Pioli. No director showed up post-match to comment on a situation which, in the Champions League, had become practically routine.