Friday December 4 2015
Midfield issues remain for Milan

Milan’s form has picked up, but Chloe Beresford still sees underlying problems in the middle of the park.

“The match was lost in midfield”, said Siniša Mihajlović, the Coach addressing the media afer having watched his Milan side be thoroughly outplayed over the course of 90 minutes. “We will move on and try and improve. On Sunday we didn’t pass the ball around enough, there were lots of errors and we weren’t purposeful enough.”

It was a damming indictment of the way the Rossoneri had performed in the centre of the pitch, but the real problem is that those comments came after their loss to Fiorentina on the first day of the season. Now, over three months later, little has changed as Mihajlović continues to struggle for a solution, trying a variety of formations and players with little success.

Results have improved of late, with seven goals scored in the last two matches against Sampdoria and Crotone in the Coppa Italia, however the stats show that results can be attributed to strong performances both in defence and attack. In order to continue to improve, the coach must address the long term inadequacies in the midfield.

It is surprising that Milan, the sixth-placed team in Serie A, are as low as 12th in terms of possession with just 48.8 per cent. It is a similar story with the pass completion rate which is just 78.1 per cent, seeing them placed only 10th in the rankings. Mustering 13.3 shots per game – the eighth highest in the division - their attacking combination of Carlos Bacca and Giacomo Bonaventura are working overtime with little service from the midfield.

Since his debut against Sassuolo on 25th October, 16-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has hit the headlines for some superb performances, and has helped Milan shore up the defence. The next game against Chievo was Milan’s first clean sheet of the season, and since then, the Italian youngster has been beaten just three times.

Milan’s most used midfield trio this term - Ricardo Montolivo, Andrea Bertolacci and Juraj Kucka - have each provided a solitary assist, illustrating exactly how little the midfield have contributed to the nineteen goals scored in total this season. If you consider the fact that Bonaventura has supplied five assists on his own, the extent of Mihajlović’s problem becomes clear. Although adept at shielding the defence, Milan’s midfield simply must be more creative going forward.

Bonaventura was deployed in a deeper role for the win over Samp, but seemed far from content. “I’ve played in the midfield three and I did well getting a goal and blending-in, but I think when you play in that role you have to play more sensibly. Maybe playing in midfield limits my qualities a bit, but I try to give my contribution in any case."

With the defence and the forward players working efficiently, it must be said that if Mihajlović can solve this problem then his side can continue to push on this season. The fact that the team is still suffering from the same issue three months on from that first game against Fiorentina however, is a worrying sign that the Serbian Coach is out of ideas – just like his midfield.

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Have your say...
I love the fact Boetang left milan because italy is 'soooo' racist yet he is coming back!!! What a joke. He went back to Germany like it was the promise land and failed! I would let this fool anywhere near Milan just like i wouldn't have brought Balotelli back and for those who claim Italy is sooo racist it can't be all bad after all, ask Boetang!!!!
on the 8th December, 2015 at 9:18pm
Milan aren't doing well, just ask Maldini. Donadoni is better coach than Mihajlović.
on the 6th December, 2015 at 2:55pm
@someone Boateng is not the answer. I am more inclined to agree with Rahul that Bertolacci is the key. If he comes back and clicks then with him and Bonaventura Milan are in business. He was already starting to show signs of acclimatising before the injury. Let's hope he continues when he comes back.
on the 6th December, 2015 at 4:32am
@Ferban since Braida left Milan's transfer dealings have been horrible. Makes me believe everything Maldini has said about Galliani. As if I didn't before.
on the 6th December, 2015 at 4:27am
Even when Milan is doing well there are "issues" pointed out by this blog... This is getting tiring
on the 5th December, 2015 at 11:50am
They practically gave Saponara away.

Aubameyang was sold for 1.6m

Darmian discarded.

Essien and Torres signed on huge wages.

Some shocking transfers by the club in recent years. Galliani and Silvio have lost the plot and they really need some fresh blood in the board.
on the 5th December, 2015 at 11:31am
Few points for author:
1. "Low" possession and pass completion rate indicates a more direct approach Mihajlovic likes. He doesnt want to hold the ball and pass it around, he wants it in the opposition area as fast as possible. Players play with more risk and stats drop. Its clear for anyone who actually watched Milan play instead of reading through stats.

2.Against Sampdoria Bonaventura was used in his natural position (LM in 4-4-2). He likes playing wide left and with this formation he can.
on the 4th December, 2015 at 10:52pm
Milan problem is not having a creative midfeilder.i mean no 10 who can diplay pass from any angle and can dribble like bonaventura.
on the 4th December, 2015 at 6:45pm
Bertolacci is key for milans midfield...his comeback may solve the midfield issues..
on the 4th December, 2015 at 3:29pm
Hopefully Boateng can make a difference if he joins in January
on the 4th December, 2015 at 12:53pm

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