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Tactical Review of Milan’s Tame Opening Loss 1-0 to Udinese

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Milan registered their first defeat of the season in a mind-numbingly boring fashion offering absolutely no excitement to kick off 2019/20. Here’s a review of the shambolic performance:

Udinese Calcio v AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Milan registered their first defeat of the season in a mind-numbingly boring fashion offering absolutely no excitement to kick off 2019/20. Here’s a review of the shambolic performance:

Suso in an Unnatural Position

Giampaolo’s post match comments may just have reflected Suso’s performance. He was locked out of the game and looked out of position as he constantly tried to force his way to the right corner to pull off his signature cutback and cross. This was too obvious to the Udinese defence and their constant pressure on him rendered him tame. The creativity did not exist when he was cut off and his struggle at trequartista was apparent. Suso’s magical moments in the pre-season distracted a lot of us from his inability to dribble without space and his lack of pace that hinders his ability to transition play. It remains to be seen if Giampaolo switches the formation or Suso adapts.

Kessie Slip Up Costly

Milan fell victim to a lack of contration again. Throughout the course of the previous season, Milan conceded goals and dropped points as a result in small lapses in concentration. In the season opener, Milan fell victim to a blistering header from Udinese’s Becao who benefitted from Kessie’s half-hearted jump to defend on a corner. This lack of concentration needs to be addressed and players need to show determination to fight for every ball. This is very important this season given the kind of football Milan are looking to play that will promise lots of 1-0 and 2-1 results.

Milan Lack Urgency

Watching the first game of the season was a nightmare because we could not create anything but it was more disturbing to watch the players dilly-dally across the pitch with no urgency or purpose. Milan showed signs of relying on passing back as was the norm under Gattuso. Milan often got caught out trying to transition from defence/midfield forward and suffered interceptions. Moreover, the strikers looked isolated and did not contribute much to the game at any given point. There was a error with the players on the pitch but this does not change the fact that Milan did not play to win against Udinese.

The New System Needs Time

Giampaolo’s debut was a shamble. The new formation stunk and it really did not look like the players understood how to go forward in a 4-3-1-2. The game resembled a confused 4-3-3 more often than not and the result was zero shots on target. The system clearly needs more time to integrate the current crop of players but also Giampaolo needs to show some flexibility as he talks a lot about his system but in a game where that system failed, there should be a plan B to still attempt to capture points. The only upside is that we cannot possibly do worse next week.

Giampaolo Needs To Understand His Role

I do not want to throw criticism at Giampaolo too soon nor do I feel the need to jump at his decisions, however, one thing seems apparent; Giampaolo does not realise that he is the coach at AC Milan. Giampaolo’s awful starting line-up was largely to blame for the loss at Udinese but he preferred to stick to players who had spent a few more weeks training but had less ability to perform; this should not have been the case. Bennacer, Kessie and Leao all looked hungry and on par with the rest of the squad when they were subbed on raising the question of why Borini would manage to get a full 90 minutes.

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