Milan sealed a morale-boosting 3-1 home triumph against Serie A newcomers on Frosinone on Saturday evening. Injuries and suspensions decimated Stefano Pioli’s squad, but Rossoneri came out on top to maintain a four-point deficit on the table’s summit.
Apart from Fikayo Tomori, Milan had no other out-and-out center-back for tonight’s clash. Pierre Kalulu, Marco Pellegrino, and Simon Kjaer are long-term absentees. Like that wasn’t enough, Malick Thiaw picked up an injury against Borussia Dortmund in midweek Champions League action, further depleting Pioli’s options.
Many expected Rade Krunic to take Thiaw’s place alongside Tomori at the heart of Pioli’s backline. The Bosnia and Herzegovina international replaced the German in that match against Dortmund but failed to impress. His underwhelming performance might have forced the Milan coach to reconsider his options.
However, strapped for reliable defensive alternatives, Pioli faced a selection headache before Theo Hernandez came to the rescue. According to the Milan boss, the Frenchman came up with the idea of partnering Tomori at center-back on his own. Seeing the 26-year-old that deep was a surprise, yet he passed the test with flying colors.
“It was his idea, he spoke to me and told me that he could play in that role. He did very well in the defensive phase and also in the build-up. He played a great game, he demonstrated a great desire to help the team in a delicate moment,” Pioli said after Milan posted their second consecutive league victory, as quoted by TMW.
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