Tuesday April 6 2021
Pioli makes most of versatile Milan

Stefano Pioli has had to perform quite a few tactical experiments as injuries piled up for Milan, with players taking on two or more different roles.

La Gazzetta dello Sport called him Mister Wolf, referencing the character from Quentin Tarantino movies who arrives to fix problems after others have messed things up.

The most recent switch saw Alexis Saelemaekers used as a right-back against Sampdoria, a role he already has for Belgium, but had never taken on with the Rossoneri.

With an injury crisis at Milan for most of the last few months, Pioli had to make quite a few adjustments, such as right-back Davide Calabria moved to midfield against Juventus, or full-back Pierre Kalulu played in central defence against Sparta Prague.

In fact, Kalulu has ended up playing nine games as a centre-back compared to just six out wide.

When there were literally no fit centre-forwards against Manchester United in the Europa League, Samu Castillejo was thrown up there and made absolutely no impact.

Brahim Diaz has been on the right of the supporting trio in a 4-2-3-1 or in the centre when Hakan Calhanoglu is unavailable.

The most mobile player in the Milan squad is probably Rafael Leao, who in this season alone has played as a centre-forward, on the left, right or centre of that trident.

It remains to be seen where he gives his best, but the Portugal Under-21 international is certainly a valuable pawn for Pioli’s tactical chessboard.