Pioli questions AC Milan defender’s concentration in bid to become first-team regular

AC Milan fans are not loving what they are seeing from their team right now and Stefano Pioli thinks one particular defender must concentrate more to help the team.

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After AC Milan exited the Coppa Italia to fellow Serie A side Torino on Thursday night, coach Stefano Pioli hid criticism behind words of encouragement for full-back Sergino Dest, who has struggled since arriving on loan from Barcelona last summer.

The 22-year-old played in a more advanced role against the Granata but it was a solitary goal from Michel Ndary Adopo deep in extra-time that gave Ivan Juric’s side a 1-0 win at the Stadio San Siro, highlighting Pioli’s concerns regarding the youngster’s concentration.

Sergino Dest in action for AC Milan against Chelsea. [@acmilan]

Lack of concentration resulting in a lack of starts

It was an attritional game against Torino on Wednesday night for the Rossoneri and after the away side has been reduced to 10 players following Koffi Djidji’s red card, it seemed inevitable that the breakthrough would come in favour of the hosts.

That is not how it panned out though with Adopo netting after a swift counter-attack in extra time, sending the Torino bench pouring onto the pitch in celebration.

One of the players that Pioli chose to talk about after the game was Dest who is attempting to become the favoured right back over Davide Calabria.

“In my opinion, he [Dest] put in an excellent performance,” Pioli stated at the post-match press conference in Milan.

“I have told him that the only problem he has is his mindset. He has to stay concentrated and applied every day, because he has important characteristics. He must also be stronger in the defensive phase.”

Despite regular right-back Calabria missing six weeks through injury earlier in the campaign, the Rossoneri preferred to use centre-back Pierre Kalulu ahead of the United States international on the right side.

USMNT’s Sergino Dest. (Photo: Getty)

No future in Milan

Having made just six Serie A appearances and having failed to complete 90 minutes in a single league fixture, it looks unlikely that the Milanese giants will want to make his loan from La Liga permanent.

With Barcelona having parted with €21m to prize Dest away from Ajax in January 2021, though, Milan would look for a far lower fee for someone who has been a disaster at San Siro and would be no more than a squad player.

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