Milan, Thiaw and the rediscovered defence: Pioli’s news

With the German on the pitch as starter, the Rossoneri’s third game in a row without conceding a goal: how the former Schalke 04 has become a certainty of the new three-man line

From our correspondent Marco Pasotto

February 19th
– Monza

The third good clue to try is not only in the third win in a row. But also in a welcome coincidence: Milan brought home three wins without conceding a single goal. Considering that in the previous four outings he had been buried under thirteen avalanches, the question of what happened first and how it was possible to turn the light back on so suddenly, is the stuff of a psychiatric treatise. Possibly sterile reflections in the face of a team that restarted with vigor, Pioli obviously enjoys the three one to zero, perhaps he becomes intimately enraged because his boys with Tottenham and Monza have not managed to score more – a capital sin especially against Spurs -, but obviously basically he remains satisfied.

Like a veteran

Satisfied because he observes a defense that, despite changing the game system and interpreters, after an apprenticeship certainly longer than the lawful, has got back on track. He understood the movements, he knows how to wait and position himself. Monza slammed into us again and again, ringing a string of useless angles, and the one time it really broke through it spoiled the party by itself. The new name of the Rossoneri defense was and remains glittering: Malick Thiaw now who takes it away anymore? The thing that displaces the most is the serenity – indeed, the imperturbability – with which the central defender of the German Under 21 tackles situations that up to now he had only touched upon. With Tottenham, in his first ever performance in the Champions League, he looked like Kjaer. A veteran. No anxieties, no fears. In Monza he recited the same script and therefore it is reasonable to think that it is one of his natural qualities. In this sense he is very reminiscent of two team mates, Kalulu and Tomori, two other gentlemen who have never trembled since their first performances.


Malick played in the centre-left against Tottenham, blocking Kulusevski’s drive, while this time Pioli placed him in the centre, taking advantage of Tomori’s return. She met Petagna, and they were sold with kilos and centimeters. When Palladino removed the former Rossoneri, the customers changed in characteristics and physical dimensions, but the final result did not change: neither Mota Carvalho before, nor Gytkjaer managed to make him skid. He only needed one real roughness, on Mota Carvalho halfway through the second half: do it from behind, outside the hot zone anyway, who called Rapuano to a yellow card. Thiaw’s 194 centimeters are destined to remain in front of Tatarusanu also in the next outings, also due to the satisfaction of the goalkeeper himself, who can finally come out of the apnea. “In these matches we have seen a more compact defence”, the Romanian goalkeeper told Milan TV after the match. Yes, defensive compactness. Pioli searched for it for a long time and finally found it. An important kind of comfort also in view of the very hot return to London against Tottenham.