Analyzing AC Milan's 3-2 Win Over Torino
AC Milan started off their new season with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Torino, in a game that filled with many positives along with some negatives which is still common considering its just the first fixture of Italian Serie A. It was definitely an interesting match in the end, though that tie can easily turn into a comfortable rout for Rossoneri, but it seems that their lack of fitness level along with that classic mental issues somewhat troubled them near the end. Now lets try to divide the positive along with negative aspect that can be seen from Milan's Serie A opener.
Let's start from the good part, Creative Attacking Play; even if it's just the first league game this season there's an indication that Milan's attacking setup under Vincenzo Montella shown massive improvement especially in their creativity aspect. There are many fine forward setup that created half chances and clear cut opportunities which Rossoneri players couldn't convert better, especially in the first 45 minutes.
More Comfortable Passing Play, albeit it's still far from perfect, Milan players already shown their much more confident and comfortable in their passing play. Although some nervous display somewhat stunned their fluidity at times, but it's normal knowing that they are playing their first game in front of hungry fans at San Siro against a side that are coached by their former tactician, Sinisa Mihajlovic.
Team Work; There's also a sense of growth in their team work, especially when building the attack as players have more trust in each others and try to combine more often until the final third. Although in that final part of opponent's goal, they can still improve more, but things could eventually come in time as long as the player continue their work under Montella and doesn't lose any beliefs in what they've been doing.
Carlos Bacca's effective involvement, Bacca's hat-trick along with couple of clear cut chances he missed showed that he is blending in well with the system coach Montella is trying to set up at Milan. Although his involvement in the attacking build up can still improve, but he was more effective than usual as he doesn't waste too many attacking plays and was sharing the ball better when he is still outside of opponent's penalty area. As we know, the Colombian is not particularly dangerous outside of the box, that's why there's a notion that he should try to keep things simple in that position by playing the ball more to his teammates as he make his way inside the penalty area.
Talking about the negative part, notably Fitness Level; was certainly a clear problem as Milan were losing their grip after 70 minutes and almost lost a two goals lead in the last minutes of that game from Torino's random direct play attack. This situation can be improved in time as players regaining their condition, but still Montella need to remind himself in assessing this situation since some players might have different conditioning time.
Mental lapses, this is an issue that have been haunting Rossoneri for a while now as they normally struggle when they found themselves in odd pressure situation late in the game. Off course their lack of fitness can still be used for an excuse for the game against Torino, but still they can actually manage things better in the final minutes. The defensive mindset that have been growing during the later part of Max Allegri's tenure still remain as players looked too scared when they found themselves in tricky situation, as instead of pushing for that killer goal they tend to cave in.
Hopefully, Mr Montella can slowly erase that awful mental situation by gradually introducing the players with his possession based play, which can be done in killing off the game.
Making the Right Pass/Extra Pass, Although overall their attacking play was quite solid, Milan could still improve their passing method in the final third especially in terms of making the right pass or extra pass to teammates. In several attacking plays, Rossoneri players seem to be making the 'wrong' pass or cross, when they are in attacking mode. Such as trying to force a crossing instead of making a simple cut back or choosing to dribble pass a defender instead of making combination play. Those things can be classified as decision making, but it can still be upgraded, simply by acknowledging and trusting their teammates more in that final third.
Bad Habits in Defending, Many might not realize that Milan do have some bad habits when being attacked or under pressure is they like to drop very deep and narrow instead of spreading in an organize fashion. That desperate type of defending should be minimized as much as possible, notably since Milan doesn't have much physical players aside from their center backs and Juraj Kucka. That's why coach Montella might have to decide on whether to play a higher line consistently or acquiring more physically strong player that can help when overcoming that pressure when defending deep.
A brief explanation about the above situation is when players are forced to drop deep sometimes they opted that narrow shape of filling the penalty area instead of marking in an organized way, naturally during that kind of moment, some coaches will be opting to put an extra defender or any physically strong players that can help the team out defensively. Milan at the moment, are lacking that physical players who can bully opponent's attackers, especially in midfield. Paletta, Romagnoli and Kucka are probably Rossoneri's players who can keep up with opponent's rough plays, though even Romagnoli is not particularly that strong as just yet. That's why when Torino starting to play that direct ball into their physical players, Milan struggle as they tried to fill the box in an attempt to help the defenders, but that eventually opens up a space just in front of that penalty area as the midfield players caved inside their own box.
Just as I previously noted, another way to eliminate that situation is by playing a higher line consistently, which could take time and also risk as it might not work that well in Serie A, but if Montella doesn't add more physical type players in the mercato, playing higher up in the pitch, especially against mid-bottom table might just be the best solution. For this to happen, Milan must also improved their pressing game and try to be more effective in the final third so they can kill off games faster by scoring goals and constantly putting their opponent under pressure.
I could share more stuff, but overall that's the main things that I see from Milan's opening game display against Torino. It was a pretty good showing for a first game, though there's an obvious work that still to be done by Mr. Montella, but hopefully those good signs can keep players motivated and have more confidence on themselves.
Highlights of AC Milan's 3-2 win over Torino:
Highlights of AC Milan's 3-2 win over Torino: