AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli made an interesting comment about Chelsea’s defending against them yesterday in the Champions League, suggesting that there wasn’t much intense pressure.
Group E in the Champions League was blown wide open last night with the two results. Chelsea produced a strong display to beat AC Milan 3-0 at Stamford Bridge. Meanwhile, Red Bull Salzburg edged out Dinamo Zagreb 1-0.
As it stands, group leaders Salzburg have five points and bottom of the pile Zagreb have three points, with Chelsea and Milan placed in-between tied on four points.
Pioli comment on Chelsea’s defending
Pioli made an intriguing claim in his post-match analysis with regards to Chelsea’s defensive work.
He thinks Graham Potter’s side weren’t “strong and continuous” with their pressure off the ball, something that Milan didn’t fully capitalise on.
“The game became difficult. There were situations in which we could have been more aggressive but I don’t believe our main problem was controlling the pitch without the ball,” Pioli said.
“We didn’t play well tonight with the ball. We didn’t move the ball well enough even though we had our chances to do so, given that the pressure applied by Chelsea wasn’t so strong and continuous. Then we went long and when you do that, you end up being stretched.”
Great game plan
For Potter, he can definitely be happy with the way he set his team up to comfortably beat Milan on the night.
The Blues defended well in a good shape when they had to, especially against some pressure in the first-half. It’s worth pointing out it was a switch in formation from a back four to a back three last night, too.
As for Pioli’s comment, Chelsea did sit in when they had to. However, you never felt like Milan were on top for large spells and it was measured from a Chelsea side that have struggled defensively of late.
On the flip side, there was definitely a bite and aggression from certain Blues players like Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Reece James. In fact, Rio Ferdinand highlighted afterwards just how aggressive James was in the second-half against Milan.
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