AC Milan with opponents was not comfortable to deal | Champions league
AC Milan with opponents:- It is not well for what looked like a resurgence for Stefano Pioli’s team. AC Milan managed the last spot in the UEFA Champions League group B. In the Serie they are in a pole position to secure the domestic league after a decade, things will still take time for Milan and the humbling 2021/22 Champions League campaign should be enough to point that out.
Out of the six group stage games, Milan could only earn points in two. They drew against Porto and won against the Atleti.
With just four points, the Rossoneri are completely out of Europe this season. Porto’s third-place finish allowed them to clinch the Europa League spot from the group.
While the initiative of playing attacking football has caught several eyes, the disappointing campaign has pointed out the weaknesses.
what went wrong really;
Group of death
Ever since the draw for group stage fixtures was held, everyone knew it was going to be a steep climb for AC Milan. The side was paired with the likes of Liverpool, Atletico Madrid, and Porto in Group B.
In their first UEFA Champions League campaign after 2013/14, the Rossoneri had to face a recent champion side in Liverpool, a clutch, defensively gritty side in the Rojiblancos and Sérgio Conceição’s Porto.
Just a win should be enough to indicate how AC Milan fared. One of the major reasons behind the odds favoring them in the domestic league was their rivals’ relative decline.
In Europe, however, the case turned out to be the exact opposite. When up against sides that were in form and capable enough to exploit their weaknesses, the Rossoneri did not farewell.
Lack of intensity
In all their matches, AC Milan never looked comfortable dealing with their opponents. Their two encounters against Liverpool were the occasions when the struggles were apparent.
The intensity to match the Reds simply wasn’t there. While the side has been coping with a laid-back and patient format in Serie A, European football’s increase in pace and pressing strangled them out of their comfort zone.
The side looked like one in process and hence, seemed like the secondary element on the pitch, except for a few select occasions. In addition, the inexperience came to play its part and the young squad failed to match up with the tempo on several occasions. Despite boasting the likes of Oliver Giroud and Zlatan the core of the side failed to deliver and keep up with the opposition.
Much of what the Rossoneri boasted about came from their experience and poachers in front of goal. Coming from an emphatic spell at Chelsea, Giroud had the flair to score winning goals. On the other hand, the ever-young Zlatan Ibrahimovic also hinted to continue what he does the best. During this Champions League campaign, however, none of that happened.
As rightly pointed out by Jurgen Klopp after their win against AC Milan in the final group stage match, their over-reliance on individual players is a problem there to be exploited. Despite moments of brilliance from Sandro Tonali in midfield, their monotonous approach was too predictable. These weaknesses were properly exploited by Atletico and Porto in earlier clashes.
In addition, spontaneous injuries throughout the campaign caused a major blow to Pioli’s game plan.
The plan to build on the back of a solid defense was dented when Simon Kjaer was injured. In addition, injuries to Davide Calabria, Ante Rebic, Giroud, and Samu Castillejo elsewhere on the pitch did not help either.
The absence of these players for one match or another, ultimately caused the cards to crumble for the Italian side.
All in all, a solid combination was what AC Milan struggled to find in the UEFA Champions League campaign this season. With tough fixtures, especially the one against Napoli approaching, these factors might re-emerge to haunt them domestically too.
Also, Read: A resurgence of AC Milan under Stefano Pioli