AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has explained the reason Chelsea loanee Fikayo Tomori did not feature in the Rossoneri loss to Inter Milan on Sunday afternoon.
The Antonio Conte’s side defeated Milan 3-0 with two goals coming from Lautaro Martinez, while Romelu Lukaku scored the third and the goal in the match.
Before the Milan derby, Piola said: “He is doing well, he has different characteristics from the others.
“But for technical and physical characteristics, Tomori is better at playing against Lautaro and Sanchez, he’s aggressive but doesn’t have the physicality to counter such powerful attackers. I’m very happy with his performances, yes,” he said as cited by MilanNews.
But during the previous derby the 23-year-old defender made some crucial interventions, crucially blocking Lukaku from scoring.
Inter dominate the Derby della Madonnina 3-0 and go four points clear of rivals Milan, with a Lautaro Martinez brace, Romelu Lukaku, but also crucial Samir Handanovic saves.
This was the first time since April 2011 that the Milan Derby was played with both clubs in the top two, as last week the Nerazzurri made the most of Milan’s loss at Spezia to take the leadership by one point. These sides also met last month in an ill-tempered Coppa Italia quarter-final, which saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent off and Christian Eriksen score a last-gasp winner.
It took under five minutes to break the deadlock, as Romelu Lukaku broke down the right, his assist for Lautaro Martinez was crucially intercepted by Simon Kjaer. However, the move continued and the Belgian floated a cross for Lautaro’s header between the centre-backs from six yards.
After a period of Inter pressure, the Rossoneri came out of their shells, Ibrahimovic’s back-heel caught on the line by Samir Handanovic following a mad scramble.
Lukaku was inches away from tapping in an Ivan Perisic ball across the six-yard box, then Kjaer made a decisive interception on another Perisic assist for Lukaku.
Just before the break, Hakan Calhanoglu failed to make the most of an Ibrahimovic assist, neither shooting nor accurately setting up Ante Rebic, then Milan Skriniar’s header skimmed the bar on an Eriksen free kick.
Straight after the restart, Milan had three massive opportunities to equalise and were denied by three world class Handanovic saves.
The first was an acrobatic Ibrahimovic diving header on a corner, the second part of the same move from point-blank range on another Ibra header at the back post, then moments later he flew to push Sandro Tonali’s effort out from under the bar.
However, just as Milan were pinning Inter back, they conceded against the run of play. It was a well-worked goal, going from Hakimi down the right to Eriksen, Perisic and the pull-back from the left for Lautaro Martinez to tap in from six yards.
Milan continued to pour forward and were exposed on the counter by Lukaku, forcing a tough Donnarumma save, then conceded the third when Lukaku gathered in the centre-circle, sprinted through the centre and beat Donnarumma at the near post.
The Belgian becomes the first man to score in four consecutive Serie A derbies since Romeo Benetti in 1972-73, and the first Inter player to achieve it since Benito Lorenzi in 1950.
Nicolò Barella went off clutching his hamstring after over-stretching in the final minutes. Handanovic refused to give Milan even a consolation, fingertipping a Rebic daisy-cutter round the base of the far post and smothering the Soualiho Meite strike.
Thomas Tuchel blames himself for Hakim Ziyech’s lack of Chelsea game-time under him so far.
The Blues boss told Sky Sports: “It’s my fault, actually. It’s not his fault.
“It’s my decisions. It’s the same for some other players – there were some hard decisions to make. This is a good thing – it means we have quality.
“There are some decisions for other players that means Hakim suffers a little bit. I can absolutely understand and agree with that, so it’s my responsibility and my fault that he cannot show more of his potential.
“But when I look at the schedule we can be sure that we need all of our players. No matter how hard times are for you personally, I cannot say one bad thing for Hakim.
“He’s working hard and he needs to show that he’s ready because when the moment comes – I cannot tell you when the moment comes – but we expect the best Hakim Ziyech.”