While there continues to be focus on help arriving from the January transfer window, AC Milan must find in-house solutions and rediscover some stability.
La Gazzetta dello Sport writes how a defender and a centre-forward would obviously be useful, but a dose of reality is needed. On 8 October after seven games Milan were leading the table 21 points, two above Inter, four ahead Juve and Fiorentina.
Six games later, Pioli is four points behind Allegri and six points behind Inzaghi and in that stretch of Serie A he has also done worse than Roma, Bologna, Napoli, Lazio and Torino in terms of points acrrued.
What is the real Milan? The one seen at the start of the season that was bold and disappeared after the derby defeat, or the redesigned one in October and November which hit several bumps in the road?
In comparison with an experienced Inter side and a controlled Juventus, Milan appear to be as an emotional team with great impulses such as the match against PSG or the first half in Naples but also terrible disappointments like the home defeat against Udinese or the comeback suffered in Lecce.
It’s not just a technical question, because if there’s one thing the Rossoneri don’t lack it’s quality. And it is not just a tactical question, even if it is all too clear that Milan prefer games like the PSG one where it is more open and there is space to exploit.
Next week the Rossoneri will know their European destiny with a passage into the Champions League round of 16 very unlikely, ‘relegation’ to the Europa League a bit more hopeful but a disappointing elimination from everything currently on the cards.
Regardless of what happens next week, Pioli must secure participation in the next Champions League, an essential minimum objective. However, if they want to compete for the Scudetto, Milan will first have to rediscover stability and those certainties that make the difference even before taking to the pitch.
This is the real current difference between the two Milanese sides, beyond the technical aspects. Inzaghi sits on the bench knowing that his team will find a way to win or, at most, not to lose. Pioli, on the other hand, never knows what to expect
The Rossoneri might need to find another gear, too. If the only way to control things it is to dominate at high tempo, it will end badly more often than not. Milan are stronger than they have shown in the past few weeks, yet there is a lot of work to be done to show that the 2021-22 Scudetto and the 2022-23 Champions League semi-final were not just false dawns.