MILAN — AC Milan managed to win 1-0 in opposition to Tottenham Hotspur within the first leg of the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16 (catch all of your Champions League motion on Paramount+) and for the primary time for the reason that World Cup break they’ve now received two video games in a row. The Rossoneri are popping out of a horrible stoop for the reason that begin of the 12 months, and earlier than tonight Stefano Pioli’s males have solely picked up two wins since January, first in opposition to Salernitana on January 4th, after which in opposition to Torino final Friday. In the interim they drew in opposition to AS Roma and Lecce and misplaced in opposition to Lazio, Sassuolo and Inter Milan. Pioli’s facet additionally misplaced in opposition to Torino within the Coppa Italia’s spherical of 16 and in opposition to Inter Milan the Supercoppa Italiana’s remaining in Riyadh.
Their major concern throughout that stretch was their protection, but it surely appears like Pioli discovered a method to put issues again to normality with a tactical change. In reality, for the reason that Derby della Madonnina’s loss, they’re enjoying with a three-man protection that’s giving to the Rossoneri way more defensive energy. Before Friday’s sport, AC Milan conceded 13 targets in 4 matches, together with a 5-2 dwelling defeat in opposition to Sassuolo, and after that tactical change they solely conceded as soon as in opposition to Inter Milan after which had two clear sheets in opposition to Torino and Tottenham.
It’s undoubtedly too early to determine if they’re already out of the disaster but it surely appears like they’re moving into higher form, with a brand new tactical system that’s giving way more safety to each defenders and midfielders. As their common place on Tuesday confirmed, when it really works they’re completely balanced and safe.
Against Tottenham, Malick Thiaw performed as a starter for the fourth time this season, and the second match in a row, and confirmed to be a very good answer particularly with the three center-backs enjoying collectively. He was alleged to play as a alternative for Simon Kjaer, however after the final minute damage of Fikayo Tomori he performed alongside the Danish participant and Pierre Kalulu. It’s seemingly that coach Pioli will give Thiaw way more sport time within the coming weeks, after Tuesday’s efficiency.
Things are getting higher for AC Milan, with key participant, goalkeeper Mike Maignan who can be anticipated to return again this month. On the opposite hand, Rafael Leao nonetheless must adapt to this new system, as he is requested to drop again and are available extra central along with his traditional touches to assist the group when they’re defending as nicely. The feeling is that if he adapts rapidly to this new method of enjoying, AC Milan will really be again to their traditional kind. Against Spurs he clearly tailored and hold deep to contain himself in construct up as his contact map exhibits, however he additionally solely had one complete shot within the match. Balancing these wants would be the key as to whether he excels on this system
The street remains to be lengthy, however now Pioli and AC Milan followers can take a look at the longer term with positivity.
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