Milan produced another excellent performance as we secured a 4-1 win over Sampdoria on Wednesday night to continue our battle for fifth place in Serie A.
In order to avoid the qualifying rounds and head straight into the group stage of the Europa League next season, we must finish above Roma and while that is out of our hands as a win for the Giallorossi over Torino would leave us stuck in sixth spot, we’ve done our part.
READ MORE: Analysis: Why €30m-rated target would be top signing for Milan if deal can be done
Further, we certainly did it in style as after a solid opening 45 minutes, we showed a real clinical edge to our play after the break to wrap up a comprehensive victory as our superb form since the restart goes on.
Ibrahimovic continues to prove his class
Since his return in January, the 38-year-old has scored 10 goals and provided five assists in 19 games across all competitions.
He has undoubtedly proven that he has plenty left in the tank, can still deliver at the top level and is certainly deserving of seeing his deal extended for another 12 months, as per the option in his current agreement which is noted by the club’s official site.
His clinical finishing has helped add an end product to our positive attacking play and he continues to showcase his timeless quality by leading the line and spearheading our resurgence.
Calhanoglu influential again
Similarly to Ibrahimovic, the Turkish playmaker has gone through the gears since the restart as that’s now six goals and eight assists in his last 11 games in Serie A.
He wasn’t perfect in the opening stages and he can improve significantly still, but it’s vital that even when his influence is perhaps stunted, he can still make a decisive impact on games.
As he continues to add to his tallies to show that he is more than capable of having a direct impact in our attacking play and can deliver consistently, he is proving just how important he can be for us.
Huge having Bennacer back
While it was a boost having Theo Hernandez return from suspension, Ismael Bennacer’s influence on the side is huge and was evidenced in this encounter after he sat out against Atalanta.
His partnership with Franck Kessie in front of the backline is vital, as the pair provide excellent protection and a defensive shield for the back four.
Beyond that though, his pressing, quality in possession to help with ensuring there is a quick transition from defence to attack and his all-round influence in the heart of the side has made him indispensable to Stefano Pioli.
Donnarumma decisive yet again
We may well have gone on to win the game regardless, but with just over 12 minutes to go, Gianluigi Donnarumma proved his class once again with a penalty save.
It helped avoid a nervy finish to the encounter as Sampdoria could have been galvanised by that turning point, but our stand-in captain stepped up and denied the hosts from the spot.
That’s now four penalty saves this season, 11 in his career in total. He’s continuously a decisive figure for us and that shouldn’t be forgotten amid all the deserved praise directed at our outfield players.
Well-oiled machine, players producing consistently
This team is now producing game in and game out. The way in which Pioli has moulded and evolved this team in the way we defend, transition from defence to attack and are now so clinical in front of goal are all pivotal reasons behind why he was given a new deal and shown faith by the hierarchy.
That’s now 32 goals scored and just 12 conceded since the restart, with eight wins and three draws. Irrespective of what happens with Roma, it’s hoped that we finish in style against Cagliari this weekend and take this momentum and consistency into next season.
The players look comfortable and happy in their roles and we’re looking like a finely-tuned winning machine with all the necessary ingredients. With the right additions this summer to strengthen the squad, it offers a lot of hope and excitement over what we can do next season.