AC Milan’s loss to Lazio on Sunday left them at 11th in the Serie A. Despite the defeat though, it was hardly a bad performance by Milan. There were signs of promise – something that Stefano Pioli would take as inspiration for the upcoming league games.
They might be tied at the 11th spot with a potentially relegation-threatened Udinese, but Milan’s performances weren’t bad at all by any means. The Biancocelestis struck late through Joaquin Correa which came as a hammer blow to Milan, who had managed to nullify Simone Inzaghi’s men for quite a while.
More than anything else, Milan looked better defensively. The Rossoneri let in just eight total shots – a vast improvement from letting in 12 against Roma. More than the defence, the performances of some of the players caught the eye, particularly some of the newer signings.
Summer signing Theo Hernandez didn’t have the best performance defensively, but he has shown how important he is going forward. The former Real Madrid man has scored twice this season, assisting once for Milan.
Against Lazio, Hernandez did look shaky at the back. He failed to track back, but he still played one key pass and completed one dribble. It was a performance typical of the former Real Sociedad man. He has been Milan’s most promising attacking player many times, but like how it was against Lazio, he looks suspect at the back.
Another summer signing, Ismael Bennacer, was probably Milan’s best player on the pitch. The Algerian started his second consecutive game in defensive midfield.
He won as many as four tackles – the third-highest on the pitch. The former Empoli man also came up with three interceptions and made one clearance. He also completed all three of his dribbles, shining with a 100% dribble success rate. If that’s not all enough, he had also played two key passes, doing his part to help in the attack (Whoscored).
It was just the sort of performance that showed Pioli as to who the first-choice defensive midfielder should be. With Lucas Biglia failing to make an impact despite having played five times, it showed that it is finally time for Bennacer to start every game.
Another summer signing, Rade Krunic did well, and so did Samu Castillejo. Both of them brought the dynamism to the plate that former manager Marco Giampaolo would have liked.
Krunic, another former Empoli man, won two tackles in the game. He also completed two dribbles and won one aerial duel (Whoscored). He brought a typical battler’s mentality to the plate. The 26-year-old looked to take the ball and move it forward, and unlike Franck Kessie, Krunic isn’t technically limited.
Having players like these helped Milan reduce individual errors. They had issues with them in the previous games, especially against Roma. They made defensive errors and that led to both the goals being conceded against the Giallorossi.
Pioli spoke of the promise at the end of the game. He saw progress and he knows that the side is heading in the right direction. The former Inter and Lazio boss said:
“In my view, the team is improving. Of course, for the table and the situation, it was important to win, but the performance was there tonight. We took a few risks in order to create danger for the opponents, matching them all the way to the end, and I believe we are on the right path now.”
Perhaps, that is all the Milan fans need. They won’t always demand a team that wins. But they don’t want a team that just gives up as it did against Fiorentina, Roma, Torino or Lecce. That is why the new signings gave them a huge amount of positivity – and they are the way to go, not the other players.