5 things we learned from Milan 2-0 Perugia

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Milan put any potential demons to bed with a confident and composed performance on Monday night, walking away 2-0 winners in a potentially tough game against Perugia.

In doing so, the Rossoneri set up a tie with Crotone in December, but more importantly gave Mihajlovic the best possible start to competitive football.

So, with that said, just what did we learn from the Coppa Italia victory?

1. It’s all about winning

A more general point to begin with, but it is very important to note just how much successes like this impact the confidence of the team.

Right from the beginning Mihajlovic’s side looked bright and energetic, making enterprising plays and giving the visitors a difficult time in front of over 23,000 at the San Siro.

In addition, the team looked very well organised with the central pairing of Ely and Romagnoli, both of whom are settling in great after their summer arrivals, and the full-backs made things look fairly easy against not-so-testing opposition.

The general opinion amongst supporters prior to the game was that the result was the crucial aspect rather than the performance, yet as it turned out we were treated to both.


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@acmilan.com

2. Honda back in form?

One of the stand out performers from the victory was without a doubt Keisuke Honda.

Starting in the Trequartista role, as his name has been linked with all summer under the new 4-3-1-2 system, Honda made very light work of the Perugia defence, constantly getting in threatening positions.

On his day, the Japan international is a real nuisance for defenders as he is so hard to track and possesses a great skill set, and that was evident on Monday. His darting runs were tough to manage, his killer ball was on display for the second goal as was his finishing for the first.

Viewed as the most natural attacking midfielder in the team, it is no surprise to see Honda given so much time to adjust to the role and learn the formation, and based on how he played on Monday it may be that the settling period is over.

Of course, Keisuke must now prove that he can be that dynamic on a consistent basis, and if he can then it will help the team a lot in finding a solution for the as yet vacant attacking midfield spot.

Jeremy Menez will have something to say about that, however, but he now needs to take his opportunity to impress in that position.


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@acmilan.com

3. De Jong seizing the captaincy role

Another notable performance came from Nigel de Jong, someone who is clearly relishing the new responsibility he has been given following signing a contract extension.

In the deeper CM position, the Dutchman put on an absolute exhibition of how to play an anchored midfield role, proving his value and worth to the team at the same time, as if it was ever in doubt.

His tackling was superb; reading and cutting out plays before they ever got chance to develop, while his positional sense (as always) was spot on.

On the offensive side of the ball, de Jong provided a neat array of passes, and from the top of my head I cannot remember him misplacing a single ball.

It may only be Perugia, but again it is all about confidence, and this was the perfect game for Nigel as it was so many other players in terms of getting into the swing of things.


@acmilan.com
@acmilan.com

4. Central midfield problem still present

It is a shame to have to put a more negative point in here, but it does have to be pointed out at the risk of papering over the cracks.

Bertolacci and Bonaventura were the only two players I would single out as being disappointing, which is a shame after the former impressed in the TIM Trophy and the latter was a bright spark last season.

Playing of the left and right of the central midfield three respectively, the two players were relied on to feed the forward line and contribute on both ends of the ball. Whilst both were dynamic, neither Andrea or Giacomo was particularly useful or decisive in possession.

They will grow into their positions over time (assuming Bonaventura is given more opportunities to show his worth), although this doesn’t help the idea that Milan still need a central midfield addition.

Obviously Axel Witsel continues to be linked, however I personally find it increasingly hard to tell just who would be the ideal man to slot into the midfield. Fellaini and Guarin were allegedly mentioned at the San Siro tonight, and there is sure to be more drama before the end of the mercato.


@acmilan.com
@acmilan.com

5. Luiz Adriano adjusting well

Wanting and needing to end on a positive note, I feel it important to point out how well Luiz Adriano has played not just against Perugia but throughout his start to Milan life.

To fully appreciate what the Brazilian offers, you must first understand that his role will not be as a primary goalscorer, rather his job is to eat up space in pockets of the pitch allowing more freedom for Bacca and the attacking midfielders to operate.

Monday was a perfect example of how his pace and low centre of gravity can cause a back line so many problems. His dribbling and sharp turn was also on display, and it began to persuade some Milanisti that a Bacca/L. Adriano partnership is very feasible for the future.

Adriano totally deserved his goal, something which Honda also deserves a lot of credit for, and as Mihajlovic said after the game both Bacca and Luiz are not yet at 100%.

All that does is excites people about the possibilities of this side at full throttle, so let’s just hope that everyone delivers as planned.


@acmilan.com
@acmilan.com

So, those are the five things I took from the pleasing Perugia victory. Vital not to get too carried away, but that doesn’t mean the positives can’t be highlighted.

Special mentions must go to Mattia De Sciglio, who was very solid at right back and has begun to show signs of his former promising self, and the defensive partnership of Romagnoli and Ely, both of whom looked solid as a rock.

Also, I must mention that Mihajlovic was totally correct to blast the Milan fans who booed, jeered and whistled Alessio Cerci from the moment he came on. Such disrespect to a Rossoneri player is flat out unacceptable, and those who are responsible must question their position as ‘supporters’.

Cerci has pledged to work hard, and it has been repeatedly stated he wants to contribute and play well for the club, so jeering him does nothing but completely sap him of all motivation and confidence.

Aside from that, a good night all around, and we wait until Sunday to see just how Milan fare under the brightest spotlight yet.

Article by Oliver Fisher

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miha-miha

That’s why I repeatedly said that the ideal central midfield trio should be Verratti, De Jong, and Witsel. We’ll be invincible with these trio monsters.

As for those Milanisti at the San Siro who booed, jeered, and whistled Cerci, shame on them!

Phil

No way PSG will sell Verratti. I could see us going after him next year though only if we qualify for CL

Silver

I really hoped before the game that Adriano scores. Bacca and Adriano have great pressure on them, because when the seria A starts, we are all relying on them to score. It is too early to predict how big their tally will be in the end of the season but right now I think that Adriano is going to score more than Bacca, but Carlos will provide more assists. Menez as CAM looked interesting. He gave something very different to the position than Honda. Really liked his fancy passes. But I want to see him start, before judging him. De… Read more »

ANGRY ITALIAN

BONERA WOULD BE PROUD! FORZA MILAN!!

Wes

of Bonaventura for taking his role as “worst player on the team but still gets playing time”

Mo Ali

Bonaventura kept pushing all the wrong buttons, he wasted good chances by needlessly volleying the ball on several occassions even though he was a clear pass away from the team’s attacking force. Also, His possession was weak and seemed out of place. Bertolacci was average, he had his moments but overall not yet living up to his price tag. Honda was by far the most dynamic and threatening element of the team along with De Jong who kept the field balanced for us. I noticed however that Bacca was working hard but was slowed down by Bonaventura on many occasions… Read more »

il magnifico

Comment:I tink milan will do great dis season.D team is just 2 signings away frm strongly competing well in d seria a and coppa italia.

Lumen

Honda always scores the season’s opening goals.Last year was against Lazio at the San siro.
Hope he have a great season this time.

Hasowayne

Honda was MOTM with a rating of 7.5 according to Gds, very well deserved by him.. I was very happy to see him answering the doubters and also those Milan fans who want him gone to the Premiership. HONDA is going nowhere!!! And to my midfield Marshal… ”General Nigel De Jong” much respect to this man, my own MOTM with a rating of 8.0. How he does those tackles without fouling the players amazes me. That is just masterclass and like Oliver said, De Jong barely missed a pass, he controlled the midfield absolutely well and played tirelessly for the… Read more »

Milanõ

Comment:I’m impressed with Mihajlovic’s words ”I didn’t like the attitude of the players after the red card”. Just Awesome

will

First of all don’t get over excited this is perugia we r talking about. Yes the lads put in a great performance but miha clearly wants more intensity n I’m sure Milan will get even better hard work n dedication. Honda played great but again it is against a low level team let him do it consistently over a year n come tell me honda deserves to stay what I’ve seen from him in the last few years doesn’t not change my mind about him. But we will see menez will take his place over honda as soon he becomes… Read more »

Hasowayne

Dude, I think you just have a personal problem with Honda.. Else, if you have been following like everyone else has, then you’ll understand that HONDA wasn’t being deployed in his true position for the past years, what do you want him to do? He was signed to Milan to be our Attacking Mid, but then he was deployed as a winger… Do you even watch Honda play for Japan? Do you watch Japan games?

will

Menez is a lot better than honda as soon as he becomes match fit he will play behind the strikershonda is just to inconsistent has been here how long plays one great game now he’s an awesome cam come on man not taking anything away from him but seriously he’s been here for 3 Years n hasn’t impressed me. Mendez has changed n will take over his role in the attacking midposition forza milan

Milanista121

If Honda had Menez pace, trust me, teams like Madrid etc would want him as well. Honda is now after 1.5 years finally getting to play in his NATURAL position. And as trequartista, pace isnt that important, sure its a bonus, but its not vital, just look at Rui Costa. One thing Menez showed me in the game last night is that he is really unfit and lacking match fitness, while Honda was looking so good. For now, if you ask me, the trequartista position is Hondas.

hope

Its only me or Honda really looks like having no physical condition to make runs? He looks tired to me tbh… You dont have to be paced to make the right moves imo

ak

I agree with everything said, except about Bertolacci. I think he had a decent game, and hopefully he can build off it. Honda seemed really comfortable playing in the middle, playing him on the wing was a huge mistake. I think pretty much all our players had good games other than Bonaventura.

il professore

He changed ?! Hahahaha Lmfao!!! Who are you? His wife? Come down bro you don’t know sh!t about him. He is playing his first few minutes after his selfish season and you can tell that he changed! Come on you can’t be serious. If he gets 10-13 assists(what as a cam should be in) then I will go with it and say ” yes credit to him he changed. Stop being a wannabe psychologist. No offence but the truth bro. Keep the support up!! Forza Milan ⚫

ak

Sorry I think you misunderstood, I meant he seems more comfortable in his game. I don’t think he has the skill set to play on the wing, and you wouldn’t be taking advantage of what he does have playing him there.

will

Speaking of playing out of position. Rooney anyone. Ibra. Oh wait if honda was that good he could play right wing oh now he plays a cam againstq perugia wow this the real Madrid a just versed wait till we play roma n juve honda will be nowhere to be seen mate

Milanista121

Iniesta played as a winger, he is one of the most talented players out there, he did okay but noway near the classy player when he is used in midfield. So please, dont give me that. Its not about “if he is good then he should be able to play there”. Why dont we use Lopez as a striker then? He is a great keeper, he should do well there then too shouldnt he? Lets wait and see how he actually performs against a top team before you start criticising him. One of many reasons the Viola game will be… Read more »

milanistas

If will had any sort of sense, he will realise that menez’s runs often lead to nowhere. HONDA is intelligent, thinks 10 steps ahead and doesnt need to try so hard to make some really destructive moves.