AC Milan 0-2 Juventus: 5 Main Talking Points
We sat down with Claudio Perfetto to discuss the Milan-Juventus game...
Q. So first of all, what were your thoughts on today's game?
A. Thought it was a very good game. High quality on both sides, Milan controlled most of the possession and looked likely to score especially in the first half but at the end of the day Juventus was very strong and contained Milan and didn’t allow them to do much with their possession. Ultimately the difference was Juventus having Higuain to finish off two brilliant chances.
Q. I've been constantly getting told by AC Milan supporters that the performances have really stepped up as of late. Despite this they haven't had many points to show for it. With them sitting 9 points outside the top 4 how much pressure is Montella now under?
A. The performances have been better since the Roma match. They played well for 60 minutes in that match and then when they gave up the goal they fell apart. Against Inter they played very well in the second half but individual errors continued to cost them. At Genoa even though they played with 10 men for most of the match they were dangerous and couldn’t score and then obviously against Chievo they won 4-1. I don’t think they will replace him yet unless a big name like Ancelotti or Conte is willing to come. The performances have been ok so that certainly helps him and the team continues to play hard and for him.
Q. We spoke about the importance of Milan making the top 4 earlier in the season, they are now 9 points off the top 4. How much more important will the Europa league be to them now?
A. It becomes extremely important. They still have time to improve results and go on a run but I think this is a very competitive Serie A so I don’t see the top squads slipping. Especially because there are 5 teams way ahead of them - Napoli, Inter, Juventus, Lazio and Roma. Those teams are very strong so it’s tough to see them going through a tough stretch where they drop a lot of points. Also remember that they will need two of those teams to go through bad stretches in order to finish in the top four, so I just don’t see it. The Europa League looks to be there best shot at making the Champions League next season.
Q. So early into the season, must certainly be a blow. Shifting the focus on to Juventus then, how good were they today? Higuain in particularly?
A. This was the first performance where they looked like the Juve from last season. They weren’t dazzling or anything but they were very solid, didn’t give up many chances. The only clear one I can think of is Kalinic before the half, Buffon saved it and hit against the post. They contained Milan and when they had two chances they took them both. That leads me to Higuain who was simply brilliant today. His first touch and finishing were both pure class. It was a positive sign because Juventus really needs him to get going and his performances over the past few matches suggest that he is.
Q. What were your 5 main talking points from today?
A. 1. After all of the summer signings, Milan still heavily rely on Bonaventura and Suso. Bonaventura didn’t play today and it was obvious and Juventus took Suso completely out of the game and Milan suffered because of it. 2. If this marked the return of the traditional Juventus we know, it’s bad news for the top sides in Serie A. Juve has been able to hang in the top spots despite unconvincing performances, if they have found their compactness they undoubtedly make a run and they are so deep so it will be tough to overtake them. 3. Montella should learn to make changes sooner. It was obvious that Milan couldn’t break Juventus down in the final third and while he put Locatelli and Antonelli in early for Biglia and Abate respectively, it was obvious that they needed a Silva or Cutrone on to create a little uncertainty for Juventus and he waited until the last 15 minutes to put Silva on. 4. Rugani and Chiellini make a strong defensive partnership and that’s where Juventus might need to go going forward. I like the pairing because who better to instruct and teach Rugani than Chiellini? The youngster looked very solid today and it was nice to see Allegri trust him in a big match. 5. This may be obvious but Milan needs to start getting results. They’ve had a tough run of opponents here but now they play Sassuolo, and then another tough match against Napoli, but then after that they will have played all of the top 5 (6 if you include Sampdoria) and they will need to turn these performances into results going into the winter break.
Q. And as a final point I feel we must touch on it, in my eyes this has been one of the best Calcio's in years. Are we seeing the rise of Italian football again?
A. Yes for sure, it has really been a great season and hopefully continues to be. You could tell in the summer that the teams were getting stronger, normally we lose a bunch of top players in Serie A to the Premier League or La Liga, but this season most of the stars have stayed. The only person I can think of that left that was really one of the best players in Serie A is Salah, other than that the teams have all kept their best players and even strengthened. Napoli and Juventus are very top quality teams, while Roma is always strong and consistent. Lazio has been a great story and they are continuing their great work from last season. Then Inter spent a lot last year and hired a great manager this summer, while Milan has spent a lot and hopefully can get it together. Even squads like Torino, Atalanta, Sampdoria and Fiorentina have either kept their best players (Torino) or reinforced after selling their best. The top 10-12 is very quality this season. It should be a great season and hopefully we see a very close title race.
Completely agree. Look forward to the season ahead!