'Too many mistakes' – Pioli demands better as Milan suffer another defeat

By Sports Desk November 28, 2021

Milan head coach Stefano Pioli admits he is seeing diminishing returns from his team after they crumbled to a 3-1 defeat against Sassuolo at San Siro.

A dismal day for the Rossoneri was bookended by moments of mixed fortune for Alessio Romagnoli, who scored the opening goal to put Milan ahead before being sent off late in the game, by which time Sassuolo had their winning lead.

Gianluca Scamacca and Domenico Berardi scored with excellent strikes for Sassuolo, either side of a Simon Kjaer own goal, as Milan struggled to keep pace with lively visitors.

Pioli's team finished second last season, after being overtaken by an Inter side who were relentless after chasing their city rivals off top spot. Milan went unbeaten for their first 15 games of the 2020-21 Serie A campaign and similar looked on the cards this time when they avoided defeat in their opening 12 fixtures.

Successive defeats to Fiorentina and now Sassuolo have checked that progress though, and Inter are on their heels, with Napoli right in the mix too.

Speaking about his side's performance against Sunday's mid-table visitors, Pioli said: "We lacked clarity, we made too many mistakes, especially in the opposition area.

"In the first half we got into their area many times and we missed the last pass. Clearly we had to manage the lead better. The first few minutes after scoring the goal were very important and instead we made a mistake for which we paid dearly."

Milan stood off Scamacca, who from 25 yards sent a scorching drive into the top right corner, finding the net off the underside of the crossbar.

 

A 4-3 defeat to Fiorentina last week was a jolt to Milan, and this was every bit as concerning. Pioli signed a new contract just days ago, committing until 2023, and he will expect more from his players in future. Mike Maignan made three saves, as Milan could have lost by a wider margin.

"If we conceded seven goals in two games, it is clear that something went wrong," Pioli said. "Mentally we weren't so lucid in our choices and so it becomes easier to make mistakes.

"We are aware of our qualities and our defects and we must continue to work to improve. We started very strongly, but in the last few games we have all done a little less, both from a technical and tactical point of view."

Pioli said there were "no justifications" for Milan delivering such a display, which came four days after they won away at Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.

"We have been built to face these double commitments and we hope to carry them forward," Pioli said, quoted by Sky Sport Italia. "Today five players who did not play in Madrid played in order to have the right mental and physical energy."

While Milan toiled and came away disappointed, Sassuolo savoured the moment.

This was Milan's second successive home league defeat to Sassuolo, after a 2-1 loss in April. Until this turnaround, that April game had been the last time that Milan dropped points from a winning position.

Sassuolo head coach Alessio Dionisi enthused about the performance of Italy international Berardi, who scored for a third successive Serie A game and now has seven goals for the season.

Dionisi even said the 27-year-old, who helped Italy win Euro 2020 in July, should be a target for elite clubs.

This was Berardi's 250th Serie A game for Sassuolo, becoming the second player to reach that milestone, after Andrea Consigli.

"His qualities are indisputable, he deserves the attention of the biggest clubs," Dionisi said.

"Because he has not yet gone to a big one, maybe he is proud to play for Sassuolo."

Related items

  • Malan hits 91 as South Africa keep their cool to seal ODI series win over India Malan hits 91 as South Africa keep their cool to seal ODI series win over India

    South Africa kept their cool against the India bowling attack and the intense heat in Paarl to win the second ODI by seven wickets and clinch the series on Friday.

    Having lost the first match by 31 runs on Wednesday following a defeat in the Test series, the tourists posted 287-6 after Rishabh Pant smashed 85 off 71 balls - including 12 boundaries.

    Yet any hope India had of avoiding consecutive daytime defeats for the first time since July 2018 against England was crushed by some imperious batting from the Proteas.

    Janneman Malan top-scored with 91 in a 132-run opening stand with Quinton de Kock (78), who was playing in his 50th ODI on home soil.

    Shardul Thakur trapped De Kock lbw but South Africa sustained their chase for another 13 overs until Jasprit Bumrah (1-32) crashed an off-cutter into the stumps off Malan's gloves just as a century looked almost certain.

    Captain Temba Bavuma (35) was brilliantly caught and bowled by Yuzvendra Chahal in the next over, but although temperatures were pushing 40 degrees Celsius, there was little hotting up of the contest.

    Aiden Markram (33) and Rassie van der Dussen (28) strangled the life out of India's bowling, the former hurling himself to safety to secure the winning run with 11 balls remaining, as they celebrated back-to-back victories over India in the 50-over format for the first time since December 2013.

    India will look to avoid a whitewash in the final ODI at Newlands on Sunday.

    ODI dominance

    South Africa were on a three-game losing run against India in this format before this series, but their recent prowess overall is something to behold.

    This is their fourth bilateral ODI series win out of five against India, while they have won 13 of their most recent 16 men's ODI matches at home, with their only defeats coming to Pakistan (twice in April 2021) and England (once in February 2020) in that period.

    It's no lie: Pant's on fire

    Pant was India's star performer with his superb knock, hitting 10 fours and two sixes to help to build a promising total until the Proteas assumed control.

    His century partnership with Rahul had India looking ominous at 179-2 after 31 overs only for South Africa to pull the rug from under their feet with key wickets in successive overs.

  • Brady ready for challenge of facing 'tremendous' Rams defense Brady ready for challenge of facing 'tremendous' Rams defense

    Tom Brady has paid tribute to the "tremendous" Los Angeles Rams defense that he is tasked with getting the better of in the NFL playoffs.

    In one of the standout games of the Divisional Round, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host NFC West winners the Rams on Sunday.

    The defending Super Bowl champions were beaten by the Rams on the road in Week 3 of the regular season but have home advantage this time around after claiming the number two seed in the NFC.

    Tampa Bay eased to a 31-15 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card Round, while the Rams also encountered few problems in beating the Arizona Cardinals 34-11.

    A star Rams defense, which includes the likes of cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive tackle Aaron Donald, held Arizona to just 183 yards.

    It was the second-fewest total yards allowed in a playoff game in franchise history, behind only their 1989 Championship Game win over Tampa Bay.

    Brady does not need any reminders about how difficult it is to play the Rams, who have won seven of their last eight meetings against the Bucs.

    "It's a very, very challenging team," Brady told reporters ahead of the game. "Really good offense, tremendous defense, really well-coached, great specialists, so it can be very, very difficult game for us.

    "It's a very talented football team, obviously one of the great teams in the NFL.

    "This team does a lot of good things well. Obviously they rush the passer well, they cover you really well in the secondary, get a lot of turnovers - they sack the quarterback, strip sacks. 

    "They have a lot of dynamic players. Obviously, Jalen Ramsey is one of the great corners in the league. So between the guys that they have in the secondary as well as the front, you know that you have no place that you can take off. 

    "These guys are they can turn you over. They can make big plays like they did the other night when David Long got the pick six [against Arizona]."

    Brady and the Bucs will take lessons from the 34-24 regular season defeat, but the veteran quarterback does not believe it can be factored in too much due to both teams changing since then.

    He added: "All these games are a little bit independent from one another. 

    "Any time you know your opponent, that always gives you a little bit of understanding of kind of what they do well and things you wish you would have done. 

    "But it doesn't really matter what happened in October when we played them last. It's really about this game and what we learned from last game.  

    "We had a very different team and I think it was a little bit of a different team they had too. It is going to require its own individual performance."

    Last season the Bucs put a strong run together to finish the regular season that continued into postseason glory.

    Brady, who is now three wins away from winning an eighth Super Bowl, was asked how he always seems to find another gear once the NFL season gets to December and beyond.

    "For all of us, it's repeating good process – that is the important part about getting this time of year," added the 44-year-old.

    "You don't do much different, you just do more of which got you here. The things that work we do more of and you try to eliminate all the other distractions. 

    "I won't do anything extra this week. I just want to do football. That's all I want to do to prepare and get ready. That is how we should all approach it. 

    "This isn't the time for trips to the movie theatres, it is time to lock in on football because this is all we have - three days left [of the season] and we have got to earn more. 

    "So you just look at it like that, everything you can kind of put off till the end of the year. We just certainly hope the end of the year is not on Sunday night."

    The win over the Eagles was Brady's 18th career playoff win by double digits. 

    He has more playoff wins by double digits (18) and by single digits (17) than any other QB has total playoff wins (second is Joe Montana with 16 wins).

  • Tuchel expresses admiration for Barca outcast Dembele Tuchel expresses admiration for Barca outcast Dembele

    Thomas Tuchel has spoken of his admiration for Ousmane Dembele amid reports the Barcelona outcast could be a transfer target for Chelsea.

    Dembele looks to be on his way out of Barca due to a contract stand-off that has turned sour.

    The France winger warned the Catalan giants that he would not be "giving in to any blackmail" after Barca director Mateu Alemany ordered him to find a new club "immediately".

    Dembele is only under contract with the Blaugrana until the end of the season and Alemany declared he expects the 24-year-old to move on before the transfer window closes at the of this month as "we want to have players committed to the project."

    Tuchel saw Dembele's talent first-hand when he played under the Blues boss at Borussia Dortmund in the 2016-17 season before the former Rennes man joined Barca for an initial fee of €105million.

     

    The Barca contract rebel's chances created per game average of 2.36 this season is better than any of the Chelsea squad who can play in the same position, while his dribbles completed (6.69) also compares favourably.

    Dembele has also had more shots per game (4.46) and made more crosses from open play (6.69) than the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic.

    And while Tuchel stopped short of declaring his interest in his former player, the Chelsea head coach is well aware of what he is capable of.

    "He is a very good player when he is at his top level," Tuchel said. "I am very fortunate to have trained him in my time at Dortmund.

    "It was only one year; it should have been longer. I needed to leave and he decided to leave. From there we are not in closest contact.

    "We met here and there because of his duties for the French national team and of course I was in Paris so this was more or less when they were preparing for national duties."

    Chelsea face a big Premier League derby with Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.