Milan produced a sensational response to secure a 4-2 win over Juventus at San Siro on Tuesday night, as our fine run of form continues since the restart.
Having already picked up wins against Roma and Lazio, it was the defending Serie A champions who were next to fall as the Rossoneri produced a stunning comeback after falling 2-0 down in the 53rd minute.
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We proceeded to score four goals in 18 minutes to turn the game on its head, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s penalty sparking the comeback before goals from Franck Kessie, Rafael Leao and Ante Rebic completed the turnaround.
While there are so many talking points after such a brilliant night, here are five that stand out…
Level of respect for Pioli continues to increase
Speculation has been rife for months. On Tuesday, the Guardian were among several outlets reporting that Ralf Rangnick has agreed to become Milan coach next season.
Whether or not Pioli read the papers or reports is irrelevant, he has been directly asked about Rangnick in post-match interviews after recent games and so he is aware of the talk that he could lose his job this summer.
Despite all that, he continues to show great professionalism, tactical nous and a commitment to doing the best possible job for Milan regardless of whether or not he could be leaving next month. For that, he deserves a huge amount of credit and the results in themselves should earn him that.
Substitutions were crucial again
As we saw with how Lucas Paqueta and Alexis Saelemaekers influenced the win over Roma while substitutions have been key in other games since the restart, Pioli once again got his changes spot on to swing the game back in favour even at 2-0 down.
Hakan Calhanoglu’s introduction was crucial, especially given Paqueta was struggling in the first half and was being forced to do too much defending instead of showcasing his quality in attack.
That was followed by Leao who scored our third, while Giacomo Bonaventura, Davide Calabria and Rade Krunic subsequently played their parts in seeing out the result.
Pioli eventually got the better of Maurizio Sarri, and that was always going to be one of the key battles in this encounter with Juve certainly on top and picking holes in our defensive set-up in the first half as they looked a certain bet for a win after taking a two-goal lead.
Superb comeback, great character shown by players
The players also deserve a big pat on the back as going 2-0 down against the reigning Serie A champions with less than 30 minutes to go, it would have been easy to let our heads drop.
It was just a three-day turnaround since the win over Lazio, and tiredness and mental fatigue would have been setting in as we had it all to do.
Yet the players dug deep, drew belief and inspiration from the penalty which gave us a lifeline and then ran riot in the space of 18 minutes to turn the game around and secure all three points. A real show of character and desire.
Kessie gets reward after fine form
It was particularly pleasing to see Kessie get on the scoresheet, as the combative midfield ace has been brilliant in the heart of the side since the restart.
His tenacity, energy and work ethic have helped provide a real solid base as part of the core of the starting XI, and his partnership with Ismael Bennacer in that double pivot is proving to be fundamental to our good form.
To cap things off, he got forward and showed great composure and a clinical touch to score the equaliser, and that’s growth and development in itself for the 23-year-old as he hasn’t always shown that in the past.
Milan brilliant since restart, job not done yet
While fans should enjoy this result as it’s a continuation of a brilliant run of form which has seen us beat the first, second and sixth placed sides in the table to rise up to fifth in the standings ourselves, it’s back to business on Sunday.
Milan must be at their best against Napoli to ensure that this collectively will mean something at the end of the season, as the momentum is now on our side and we have to keep it going in the coming weeks to finish the campaign strong.
Belief, confidence and desire should all be at a real high within the squad right now, and it’s imperative we stay focused and take those elements into the weekend and build on this victory.