Fabio Capello believes that AC Milan put in a much-improved performance during their Champions League game against Newcastle United, even if they didn’t get the three points.
Capello was part of the panel covering the match live on Sky (comments relayed by Radio Rossonera) and before the game the ex-Milan boss commented on Stefano Pioli’s team selection and something that he wasn’t expecting.
“I’m surprised by the absence of Reijnders, the only one who knows how to invent a vertical pass that makes the game spin quickly. In a home match that Milan must win I would have played him,” he said.
Also before the match, another criticism was aimed at Pioli on the topic of Zlatan Ibrahimovic who was at Milanello the day before the game.
“Ibrahimovic arriving on a delicate day like yesterday? If he came of his own accord and was allowed to talk to the players, at that point the coach’s leadership leaves a little to be desired.”
Moving on to the analysis of Milan-Newcastle, Capello admitted that he saw some positive things from the Rossoneri at least compared to the 5-1 defeat against Inter four days prior.
“I saw a Milan that finally didn’t concede counters to the opponent, because Newcastle are a team that when they counter normally in the Premier League are very dangerous.
“Usually Milan in the league when they lose the ball always allow the opponent to get in front of the goal or to be dangerous: this time we saw a Champions League Milan, just as we saw them last year.”
Capello also spoke about the injuries of Mike Maignan and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who came off in the second half, the latter with cramp.
“I have a theory about these two injuries. The great tension of the derby, the bitterness after the derby and the pressure of winning this match and putting on a great performance with your head consumes much more energy. This can lead to minor injuries. I’ve seen goalkeepers finish matches with cramps: the head counts.”
Capello closed by speaking on Milan’s opponents in the group, focusing in particular on Luis Enrique’s Paris Saint-Germain.
“Without Mbappe it’s a ridiculous team. They are not among the favourites for the Champions League, Manchester City are. I saw the first two matches and they showed ridiculous football, then Mbappé came back and we saw another team.”