Marco Giampaolo has explained his decision to start André Silva over Krzysztof Piątek and stated he liked the performance of his team against Brescia on Saturday ‘until we lost control’.
After last week’s 1-0 defeat against Udinese which left a very bitter taste in the mouths of Milan fans all over the world, the Rossoneri returned to Stadio San Siro today as they hosted Brescia.
Coach Marco Giampaolo surprised everyone when he started with Piątek on the bench, letting Suso, Samu Castillejo and André Silva lead the line of the Diavolo.
Milan did relatively well in the first half and after 12 minutes, Suso, with his right foot, found the head of Hakan Çalhanoğlu and the Turkish sent the ball to the back of the net. The Rossoneri did considerably worse in the second half, with the exception of the last 10 minutes in which they had chances through Lucas Paquetá (who also started on the bench) and Piątek to extend their lead.
“I’m happy for the win, but we can improve and we still have to work. We have a lot of work to do, we did good things and we didn’t risk anything, even though we lost control at some point in the game. We need to work together,” Giampaolo said in an interview with DAZN after the game.
“Piątek on the bench? I reserve the right to choose in every game. I chose André Silva, but also Kessié and Bennacer. We have a lot of strong players in the squad and I can choose from time to time who to send on the pitch. André Silva played well, I don’t know if he will leave but he’s a professional player. For this reason, I know I can count on him and I let him play.
“Piątek is a great player, but if he doesn’t play the world doesn’t end. Players must think only of giving the best for Milan, then I choose. Perhaps I saw him less sharp during the week or someone else in a better condition. Today, Silva had characteristics more suited to the game than Piątek. They have different qualities, maybe they can even play together.
“We have to learn to be a team and play with each other. I know what my players are like on an individual level, but we still need to grow overall. The team has worked little together so far, the guys haven’t been able to be in the group at the same time yet, so there’s still a lot to be improved.
“Paquetá as a trequartista? In my way of looking at things, he can become a great mezz’ala. He must learn to be less ‘Brazilian’ at times, be more concrete and less playful. He has the technique and the engine to become precise and attentive in his role. For me he can he a mezz’ala and then in the last 10 minutes in some moments he can also do that role there, but I like a player there [as a trequartista] who has characteristics of a striker.”
Speaking in the post-match press conference, Giampaolo said: “I liked the game for as long as we were in control and had the physical energy to do it. When we lost control we stretched and the game opened up. In those spaces we also created some more opportunities. I liked the spirit and willingness to do things, I liked the aggression on the ball and the defense away from goal.
“The games are all difficult, many times the differences are made up of details. Today we didn’t risk big things. Brescia had left a good impression on me against Cagliari. If this was revenge on Brescia [he became their coach in July 2013 and left in September]? There’s no revenge to get, I must do my job well at Milan.
“What Milan are missing and how we get to Verona? Something will always been missing, there’s always room for improvement. Time will tell what is missing. We’ll get to Verona in the best possible way. I will lose 16 players to the national teams. I only like to talk about work, because only work can give me reason over time.
“The exclusion of Piątek? I needed a player to come and connect and André knows how to do it, but he has less deep-game compared to Piątek. The condition of André Silva? He’s conditioned [by the mercato] in the sense that he’s in standby, but he didn’t give me this feeling of precariousness in training. He’s physically better than Piątek at the moment. The choice was purely technical. Leão? He is a player who has different characteristics than Silva.
“The identity of this Milan? I like having an identity and then the players have to surprise me within that identity. I congratulate Brescia on their match against Cagliari, they surprised me. For some things they remind me a lot of my Sampdoria. We were good at preventing them from playing with their offensive game strategies. We need to have players offensively who are always fresh. If I could always substitute three forwards then I would. That’s why there isn’t a starter in that department.
“Paquetá playing closer to goal? He’s licensed to go there, a midfielder must be rational in his duties. He’s licensed to dribble and go. He’s an asset in that role [mezz’ala]. He can also play as a trequartista, depending on the game. The trequartista is a fake striker. I like a player who can play there with the qualities of a forward, which is different from of a midfielder.
“A type of player like Castillejo for the trequartista role? I like to see a player there with offensive characteristics. Then, there is a need to go deep, but there is a path that we are coming to. We must not make the players lose points of reference. I’m a symmetrical coach, I have to find the right angles.
“Bennacer as the leader of the play? The leader must be the game, the common idea. The players must interpret things to the required level. The interpreters in that role are Bennacer and Biglia, because they are two excellent players. The change in formation? We didn’t change the formation, I’ve worked on the same concepts. I just moved two players.
“What percentage Milan are at and if they can fill the gap with Inter? I don’t know the percentage, but the derby is in 21 days. We’ll certainly be better than we are today. We’ll have a full week to work together before the derby. Now, however, the most important game is in Verona in two weeks’ time.”
Speaking to MilanTV, the coach said: “The performance? I liked the game until we checked out. That means keeping the ball, going to steal it after a loss of possession and keeping a high line. I liked it less when we lost control, it was also the result of fatigue. Paquetá up front? He served to fill a void, I had Borini do a task that he’s done well so far because he’s dedicated and has good legs.
“André Silva and Piątek? Silva has different characteristics than Piątek. Today I decided to play Silva from the start because I considered his characteristics more appropriate [for the game]. From time to time I reserve the right to choose, just like I chose Kessié and Bennacer. Milan have many players of level, more of less on the same level, I want to take advantage of everyone’s characteristics. You can also be on the bench, nothing happens… it can be a stimulus for the player himself, a strong motivation. Piątek then came on with the right attitude. He’s physically a bit worse than André. Time can only improve the situation.
“Bennacer? We actually risked him a little for his physical condition. He’s trained very little. He’s a player of a role. I didn’t feel like playing him in Udine because I would’ve risked losing him like Biglia, he only had one training session. After a week I saw him better, he played that role at Empoli, in the national team he’s a mezz’ala, but he has more properties compared to others. He’s an attentive, alert guy, with very ample room for improvement.
“The changes made? We have to do much better. It’s not this game that changes things. Yes, it creates more confidence and it allows us to continue on our way but it doesn’t change. The players are committed, it’s also important to verify the right attitude of those who were substituted on. We cannot speak of exclusions. In 2020, there are no longer 11 starting players but 23. I want to create this awareness in the players, knowing that someone will play more and someone less.
“Çalhanoğlu got a yellow card due to the new rules regarding substitutions [players are now supposed to leave the field from the shortest path rather than from the middle]? We went to listen to the new rules. Hakan’s yellow card is the result of a habit.
“Set-pieces? In every game we use a strategy, based on the opponents. Today, Brescia left two ahead, every game we use a strategy that is based on how the opposing team defends. We adopt strategies to contain the opponent’s defense.
Giampaolo also had an interview with Sky Italia: “My opinion on the game? There’s the will of the players to do things well, that’s the most important thing. There are a lot of things to improve and time is needed, the team is trying. They are very attached to the work and I’m confident.
“Why did I surprise with André Silva? For this game I chose the features of André, I considered them more suited to the type of game played by the opponents, he played a good game. Today’s midfield? Hakan plays better as a mezz’ala, but I didn’t have a regista last Sunday so he had to play there. We did well until we lost control of the game, then as a result we did less well. Suso played on the right and it felt like a homecoming? Suso played as an attacker, then he finds the most suitable position on the pitch.
“Playing at San Siro? The fans were wonderful. I dream of always being able to push the team to the end, to propose a fun and positive game. I asked the fans for a bit of patience to make this happen. How long does it take for a team to absorb my football concepts? It takes time. Next week I’ll have few players, they are all called-up by their national teams.
“The fact that Correa was not called-up for Atletico’s game tomorrow? I don’t know, you have to talk to the club about the transfer market. I coach the players that the club makes available to me.”