Despite a decent performance on Sunday night, Milan slipped a 2-1 defeat to Lazio at San Siro which makes it six losses for the season.
The Rossoneri responded well after falling behind, and while there were positive signs in the second half as we took control of the game, more sloppy defensive play eventually cost us.
Ultimately, the performance will mean little if we keep losing games and with the gap to fourth place now stretched to eight points, it’s beginning to look as though our Champions League qualification hopes are fading quickly with meetings against Juventus and Napoli up next.
Sloppy defensive play costing us
Having now conceded 15 goals in 11 Serie A games so far this season, our once dependable defence is starting to become a problem.
From Leo Duarte’s poor marking to challenge Ciro Immobile for the opening goal to the collective mistakes in denying Lazio the chance to score on the counter-attack for their second, we’re conceding poor goals and ones that should be avoided.
If we’re unable to shore things up at the back, it’s going to cost us many more points this season and so we need get that organisation and solidity back, while also simultaneously becoming a more prolific side in front of goal as we controlled the encounter for large periods on Sunday but couldn’t put the game away.
That in turn puts the pressure back on the defence at some point, and we’ve simply not been good enough in that department either.
Right back is a serious problem
While Andrea Conti has struggled to convince when given the nod, Davide Calabria has suffered with indiscipline with two red cards already this season.
The 22-year-old is capable at times of being a dependable option in that position but he’s well off the pace currently and produced an error-strewn display this weekend.
From his inaccurate passing to constantly being caught out with the pass inside for Joaquin Correa, Stefano Pioli arguably has to look at other versatile options now and try to fix that problematic spot with Fabio Borini perhaps even a better bet at this point.
Krunic does well stepping in for Kessie
Perhaps Franck Kessie’s presence in the side would have helped with our defensive solidity down the left flank for both goals, but Rade Krunic put in a decent performance and offered more quality on the ball too.
Kessie has been among those who have underperformed so far this season and so it was good to see Pioli drop him and give Krunic a chance to impress.
While it wasn’t a stand-out performance, our summer signing arguably did enough to contribute in both aspects of the game to warrant being given a run in the side as he will surely improve with more minutes.
Paqueta must add goals to his game
Lucas Paqueta has yet to get off the mark this season after nine outings, while he now has just one goal in 26 appearances for Milan since he joined us in January.
While he’s struggling to have a significant influence on games, he’s getting into good scoring positions but ultimately isn’t taking his chances to make a decisive impact.
As seen against Lazio on Sunday, he had another great chance to get on the scoresheet but had his tame effort comfortably saved. Turn those moments into goals and not only will he become a more important player but it could have a major impact on our results.
Bennacer puts in top performance
It took him a while to get going as he was sloppy early on, but Ismael Bennacer put in the type of performance this weekend to suggest that he must start ahead of Lucas Biglia.
Combative and tenacious in his tackling to win countless balls back to his quick passing to get us moving up the pitch, it was exactly the type of performance we needed to see from him.
Naturally, he can still get a lot better and that will surely come with more playing time and a settled role in the side to gain stability, familiarity and sharpness, and it’s hoped that Pioli saw the same things on the night to now keep him in the starting XI.
It was in stark contrast to what we saw from the likes of Rafael Leao and Ante Rebic after coming off the bench, as Bennacer got better as the game went on and emerged as one of our top performers on the night while others around him certainly disappointed.