‘I didn’t do a good job’ – Milan boss relieved with win amid injury crisis

Grant de Smidt
Stefano Pioli AC Milan May 2021 TEAMtalk

Milan manager Stefano Pioli took the blame for his side’s poor first half-performance in Thursday’s 3-1 win against Genoa.

The Rossoneri came into the match missing nine players due to injury and Africa Cup of Nations duty. Top striker Zlatan Ibrahimović was absent as were Simon Kjaer and Alessio Romagnoli at centre-back and Franck Kessie in midfield. Some lax set-play defending saw Genoa take a lead before Olivier Giroud’s 74th minute goal sent the match into extra-time. Goals from substitute wingers Rafael Leao and Alexis Saelemaekers sealed the victory in the 102nd and 112th minutes.

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Pioli said to Mediaset: “Evidently, I didn’t do a good job, because we had the wrong approach from the start.

“We didn’t have the right determination and that is my fault, because we lacked intensity, tempo and made the situation more complicated for ourselves.

Pioli was quizzed about whether his side are too reliant on their left flank. 

He said: “I think we put in some interesting balls from the right too.

“Naturally, on the left we have different characteristics and players who are good at one-on-one situations, whereas it’s more about the movement on the right to create the space.

“I do think the team is balanced, but the problem today was the entire team had the wrong approach and lacked intensity. That means my preparation was not optimal and I have to do better.”

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Injury hits key defender Tomori

Milan’s injury problems showed no signs of abating during the victory against Genoa. With central defenders Simon Kjaer and Alessio Romagnoli already out injured. English centre-back, Fikayo Tomori went off with a knee injury.

Pioli said: “November was very difficult with injuries and we paid a price for that, as in the long-run the same ones had to keep playing every game and got fatigued.

“He [Tomori] felt a twinge in his knee, so couldn’t carry on. Fik is a very important player for us and I hope it’s nothing serious, it’d be good if we had him available from Monday.”

Milan dealt Bailly blow

AC Milan’s plans to bolster central defence in January have taken a blow. The club is urgently looking to replace Simon Kjaer after the Danish defender suffered a season-ending knee injury.

With captain, Romagnoli currently injured and Tomori suffering from a new knee problem, it is imperative to add another body.

Sky Sports is reporting that target, Eric Bailly from Manchester United, will not be loaned out this month. The Ivorian signed a contract extension in 2021 which runs until 2024. Milan have also seen bids rejected in their attempts to loan Abdou Diallo from PSG or Sven Botman from Lille.

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