Clear head and man everywhere: Pioli enjoys the new Tonali

Sandro confirmed his great growth in the derby. And the numbers say that skipping it is very difficult. Now a week as a protagonist also in blue?

Request. Do you remember last year’s Tonali? The discontinuous, timid one, an insecure thread. What they said, “but is it worth all that money?”, “I’m not convinced”, and the like? Well, forget that. This year’s “Sandrino” is a The new man. The performances say so, but also the numbers, the statistics, the data.

In blue

Under the heading “security” there is his face, his number, his leadership. The last spark in the derby against Inter: de Vrij’s own goal comes from a free-kick kicked by Sandro on the trocar, a bit more secluded than the one against Cagliari, on his first goal against Milan. Tonali is the certainty of Pioli, Maldini and now also of Italy, because Mancini has called him up for the decisive match of the Olimpico against Switzerland. Verratti is out, Barella has muscle fatigue, so Roby could also field him from 1 ‘in the match that is worth a place in the World Cup in Qatar. Maybe. Meanwhile Tonali grows and stands out. Word to the data.


Its transformation is in an Opta chart, the one relating to the areas of the field covered from the end of August to today. Tonali has played 12 games in Serie A, 10 of these as a starter, going to get the ball in every corner of the green: obviously the most covered area is the center, two hundred and more touches are there, but the offensive area also emerges (almost a hundred along the trocar). Among all the 31 stand out along the right out, near the lateral area, the one in which there is usually the high winger (Saelemaekers). Symbol of how it has the disposition to manage, organize, lend a hand. Tonali goes to support, helps his partner, looks for one two. He has an average of 33 passes per game, the same as in the derby (among the midfielders he is second only to Kessie, at the top with 61). Curiosity: it is also difficult to skip it. In 801 minutes played in Serie A he suffered only 6 dribbles and lost 4 tackles. The only drawback are the lost balls, which far exceed those recovered: 122 to 62. Well on the unmarked throws though: at least 4 per game, 24 total, with 10 created opportunities and an assist. In summary: Tonali is the man everywhere.


When asked what has changed since last year, he remains vague. “Something clicked in her head, maybe she is freer since Milan bought me”. Tonali has no mental coach, he does not use psychologists, Ibra is enough for him: “When I saw him for the first time in the locker room I went back to being a child, it changes your mentality”. Today is that of the winner, even Pioli knows: “I saw another Sandro since the first day of retreat”. More concrete, more solid, silent. After all, it has always been like this. Roberto Boscaglia, the coach who launched him in Brescia, told us that he was on his own even during team lunches and dinners. Today he is the beacon of an unbeaten Milan and first in the standings (together with Napoli). The beauty is that he is only 21 years old. Pioli applauds, Mancio does the same.

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Clear head and man everywhere: Pioli enjoys the new Tonali

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