Written By Jacobs Dunga
Pioli jumped to the defence of his star man following a forgettable performance on Monday night.
AC Milan are the defending champions of the Italian Serie A but the Rossoneri are not putting up the sort of fight they fenced off from Inter Milan last season.
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The 19 time champions are having a dismal season by their standards with twenty points separating them from first place.
The whole squad could be said to be underperforming but the poor form of star forward Rafael Leao cannot be overlooked anymore.
Leao is the reigning Serie A best player after winning the award at the end of an inspiring 2021/2022 season. However, the Portuguese sensation has gone from being Milan’s main man to being a shadow of his former self.
The 23 year old has failed to find the back of the net in ten consecutive games in all competitions and reached a new low on Monday night where he got a 4.5 rating from GDS following a match in which he surrendered possession fourteen times.
Gazzetta cited the player as “looking sad” but his coach has jumped to his defence by revealing he plays differently in matches compared to their training sessions.
“Stay close to my players is my priority,” said the Rossoneri boss, as quoted by Milannews.
“Leao has a strange situation, he does very well in training, but during games, he lacks something. He must find a balance.”
His nineteen goals contribution is not an abysmal number but his general contribution and body language on the pitch has put his loyalty to the club into serious doubt.
Pioli blamed Monday night’s draw to lack of attention from from the team.
The former Inter Milan manager called out his team during a post match interview with Milan TV.
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“There was a lack of concreteness and attention. We weren’t able to bring home the victory we wanted. It’s a shame because we wanted to give continuity and move up the standings but we only partially succeeded,”
Salernitana came from behind at San Siro to steal a vital point off the champions and Pioli has gone ahead to rue the dropped points.
“We had to be quicker around the ball. We were struggling in the first half but the second half was going to be managed with more quality, speed and attention. Conceding that goal is too bad for our qualities. After the match it got complicated, it was more foul but it wasn’t our best night.”
The best coach in Serie A from last season went on to analyze the goal that denied them maximum points at home.
The goal we concede mirrors that. We conceded a goal from a throw-in where we weren’t positioned well due to lack of attention. The result was more due to our own shortcomings. We shouldn’t have committed as many oversights as in the goal conceded.”
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