Sinisa Mihajlovic has his work cut out to shore up a leaky AC Milan defence several weeks prior to the reopening of the transfer window in January.
It was always going to be a tough task putting fallen giants AC Milan back on a pedestal after a disastrous couple of campaigns which saw the Rossoneri finish 8th and then 10th in Serie A.
Serbian coach Sinisa Mihajlovic was given that unenviable job of dragging the beleaguered northern Italian outfit out of the doldrums.
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Three wins and four defeats posted under the former Sampdoria boss since have showcased the inconsistencies which exist within the current squad, while a 4-0 thrashing at home to Napoli last time out illustrated the biggest issue blighting Milan’s season – chronic frailties within the defensive third.
Without the possibility of signing anyone until the turn of the year, Mihajlovic must make do with the options he has at his disposal, but also faces a difficult test to rid his charges of their error-strewn ways.
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YOUTH OVER GUILE
AC Milan have relied heavily upon young defenders this term, with Davide Calabria, Mattia De Sciglio, Rodrigo Ely and Alessio Romagnoli all aged 22 or under.
That collective naivety goes some way to explaining why the Rossoneri have been so porous at the back, leading to the second-worst goals against record in the division.
Mihajlovic’s men have conceded 13 goals in league action thus far, an amount trumped only by newly-promoted minnows Carpi on 16.
They’ve displayed a terrible tendency to give away free-kicks in dangerous positions, with an average 17.4 fouls committed per game putting them joint-third on that score in Serie A.
Milan also put in 17.4 tackles each match, which places them in the bottom half of the league table on that count.
Those facts don’t tell the full story of their problems, with the players who’re selected further up-field also culpable.
Average possession stats for the team as a whole are under 50 per cent per game, while AC Milan are relieved of the ball an astonishing 14.3 times per league outing.
Empoli, who lie in 16th place, are the only side who’ve been dispossessed more often in Serie A this season.
In addition, the goals at the other end of the pitch have dried up somewhat, with just over one per game finding the net. But, it’s within their own half of the field where a solid base is needed, before the remainder of their attributes can flourish.
Mihajlovic helped Sampdoria boast the strongest defence outside of the Champions League qualification spots last campaign, but seems powerless to do the same with his predominantly inexperienced defensive players at Milan.
Four goals leaked against Napoli should serve as a shuddering wake-up call for the club’s hierarchy, as the current crop simply aren’t ready to carry the weight of expectation that still prevails around the San Siro to this day.
Experienced recruits must be sought and delivered at the earliest opportunity – otherwise last term may not be their lowest ebb.