Theo Hernandez targets Scudetto as Milan score another Serie A win

By Sports Desk September 23, 2021

Theo Hernandez declared Milan are focused on going one better than last year as they bid to become Serie A champions for the first time in 11 years.

French left-back Hernandez was a driving force behind Milan's latest win, coming off the bench to set up Brahim Diaz's opener against Venezia before scoring the second himself in a 2-0 victory.

Milan were not at their best on Wednesday evening, but coach Stefano Pioli's team have four wins and a draw from their opening five Serie A games, and such form is a temptation to start looking further down the line.

Hernandez, who was afforded a break from the starting XI after a hectic start to his campaign, became the first Milan player to score and assist as a substitute in Serie A since Maxi Lopez pulled off the feat against Udinese in February 2012.

He has become a key figure for the Rossoneri, who started last season at breakneck pace too, but faded in the closing months as San Siro rivals Inter scooped the Scudetto, Milan finishing in second place.

Speaking about the Venezia game, Hernandez said: "We knew it was an important match and that it would not be easy, we've come from a series of very tough matches.

"Pioli gave me some rest, I went on trying to do my best. We work every day to improve, it is a season in which we are better."

Quoted widely in the Italian media, Hernandez said: "We have to win these games, all of them. A place in the Champions League? No, something more: we have to play to win the Scudetto."

Milan fielded the youngest starting XI in a Serie A match this season (24 years and 166 days), with Pioli shaking things up to good effect just before the hour mark by introducing Hernandez, Alexis Saelemaekers and Fikayo Tomori.

By that stage, Milan had not had a shot on target, and that remained the case until Diaz put them in front after 68 minutes.

Hernandez became the first Milan defender to both score and assist in a Serie A fixture since the 2004-05 season, the furthest point back at which Opta has collated such data.

Pioli does not mind talk of titles but warned they will not come easily, with the coach saying: "We have to ride this enthusiasm and empathy we have created with our fans.

"Everyone has the desire to win; the difference is made by those who prepare themselves best to win.

"If my players think they can win the Scudetto then let them make an enormous effort, this is the only way to win."

Related items

  • French Open: Three-time grand slam winner Kerber crashes to third-round exit French Open: Three-time grand slam winner Kerber crashes to third-round exit

    Angelique Kerber crashed out at the third round of the French Open as Aliaksandra Sasnovich claimed another scalp on Friday.

    Three-time grand slam winner Kerber headed to Paris as the 21st seed but in good form after victory at the Internationaux de Strasbourg last week.

    Kerber, whose last major title came at Wimbledon in 2018, made it seven straight clay-court wins for the first time in her professional career after defeating Elsa Jacquemot on Wednesday at Roland Garros.

    However, Sasnovich – who defeated US Open winner Emma Raducanu in the previous round – proved a step too far for 21st seed Kerber, who fell to a 6-4 7-6 (7-5) loss on Court Simonne-Mathieu.

    World number 47 Sasnovich next faces Italy's Martina Trevisan, whose best result at a grand slam was the quarter-finals at this competition two years ago.

    Trevisan became the first Italian female player to win eight or more matches in a row since Francesca Schiavone in 2017 by defeating Daria Saville 6-3 6-4 in the third round.

    Meanwhile, American teenager Coco Gauff negotiated past Kaia Kanepi 6-3 6-4 to tee up a fourth-round clash with 31st seed Elise Mertens, who was a 6-2 6-3 winner over Varvara Gracheva.

  • 'Wherever Sadio plays next season, he'll be a big player' – Klopp offers no Mane guarantees as Bayern rumours persist 'Wherever Sadio plays next season, he'll be a big player' – Klopp offers no Mane guarantees as Bayern rumours persist

    Jurgen Klopp said he "couldn't care less" about rumours linking Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich ahead of Liverpool's Champions League final against Real Madrid.

    The Liverpool manager could be poised to lose one of the most significant players in his squad at the end of the season.

    Mane said earlier in the week that he would give "special" news regarding his future after the European showpiece game in Paris.

    That and his suggestion it would be "the best answer" sparked speculation he would agree to stay at Liverpool, but it may not be quite so clear-cut, with Klopp having palmed away questions on Friday rather than offered any assurance that the 30-year-old will remain at Anfield.

    "This is the wrong moment to speak about that. Wherever Sadio plays next season, he will be a big player," Klopp said.

    Bayern raided Borussia Dortmund for talent during Klopp's time with BVB in the Bundesliga, with Robert Lewandowski notably prised away on a free transfer at the end of the 2013-14 season.

    With Lewandowski's Bayern future now in doubt, as he seeks a move, possibly to Barcelona, the Bundesliga champions are on the hunt for a goalscorer.

    Klopp said: "Sadio's in the shape of his life for sure. He's in brilliant shape. It's a joy to watch him at the moment.

    "Football has asked him a lot this season – an incredibly long season, a lot of finals and this kind of things, one of the most successful for him and for us.

    "The Bayern Munich rumours, I couldn't care less in the moment. We are all fully focused on the game. Sadio's completely focused on the game; he knows exactly how important it is to him and how important it is to us.

    "So no concerns, completely normal."

    Klopp said he could cope with the speculation surrounding Mane, who has helped Liverpool win the EFL Cup and FA Cup already this season.

    The forward has played 50 clubs games this term, scoring 23 goals, as well as helping Senegal reach the Africa Cup of Nations final, scoring the penalty that clinched shoot-out success.

    "It's not the first time in my career before decisive games that Bayern Munich rumours come up," Klopp said.

    "I'm not exactly [sure] what I did that [means] it happens, but no problem at all."

  • French Open: Nadal powers into last 16 with victory over Van de Zandschulp French Open: Nadal powers into last 16 with victory over Van de Zandschulp

    Rafael Nadal eased into the last 16 at the French Open as he cruised to a 6-3 6-2 6-4 victory over Botic van de Zandschulp on Friday.

    Nadal breezed past Jordan Thompson and Corentin Moutet to reach the third round, where the Spaniard had few difficulties on Court Suzanne-Lenglen against world number 29 Van de Zandschulp.

    The pair exchanged breaks to begin the match, but the 13-time winner at Roland Garros soon took control as he only lost four points on his service in the first set, all of which came in the first game.

    Van de Zandschulp continued to struggle in the second set as Nadal triumphed in a lengthy third game to break again, before following suit in the Dutchman's next service to further his advantage en route to taking a two-set lead.

    World number five Nadal again opened the third set by battling to break Van de Zandschulp twice and had the opportunity to go 5-0 up with points in hand.

    The Dutchman fought back to win three straight games before claiming another, leaving the set finely poised at 5-4 to Nadal.

    However, the 35-year-old Nadal regained his composure to wrap up victory and will next face Felix Auger-Aliassime, who defeated Filip Krajinovic.

    Data Slam: Nadal on course for Djokovic meeting

    Only Novak Djokovic (325) and Roger Federer (369) have more grand slam match wins than Nadal (301), who remains on course to meet the world number one in the quarter-final.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Nadal – 25/13
    Van de Zandschulp – 19/31

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Nadal – 2/1
    Van de Zandschulp – 3/3

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Nadal – 6/12
    Van de Zandschulp – 2/3

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.