I agree with what you are saying. Overplaying, lost focus, tired legs, etc. are big factors and can happen to anyone, including the top level athletes, but what I am saying is that were not even trying. Not working out because of fatigue, injuries or other factors is one thing, but not trying to play football is something very different.Look, if anything with Pioli we're doing exactly that: sticking to a gameplan, no matter who plays. That's what the last two years have shown. Obviously you're loosing some quality without starters, but the plan remains the same, even with a badly played December.
Now you don't seem to have gotten my point yet. The problem with missing so many players over such a long stretch is not only loosing the quality, but that you're constantly running every element in your team into the ground. What does that mean? It means you're loosing fitness. You're loosing finesse. You're loosing lucidity. Your legs are tired. Your movements are slow. Your focus is off. Your concentration lacks. You're not playing like you should. You're doing silly mistakes you never would if you were at least decently recovered or fit. Just look at all the goals we gifted in December.
I didn't play football on the same high levels as you probably did but I played table-tennis for 15 years on quite some high levels and I experienced the very same issues: the moment I wasn't fit or rested well - or overplayed at tournaments that stretched from the early hours in the morning until the last sunrays in the evening - I began to commit extremely dumb errors I never would otherwise. I ruined matches for silly things, played the opponent into his hands, he didn't have to put much quality on the table because I was committing the errors for him.
Sounds familiar? Yes. That's basically been our December. And knowing extremely well where our lads were coming from fitness wise for me it's clear as daylight why the team was playing garbage it wasn't in the first few months of the season. My own experiences with that are probably why I can relate so much to what I've seen. Maybe you made other experiences and that's why your POV is completely different. But tbh I'm confused you didn't while you're saying you did play on quite some high levels .
I mean c'mon: If you look closely we've been basically in a constant injury crisis since November 2020. That being said, sure, other than me Milan players are professional athletes with a whole team around them checking their fitness. That's exactly why they could sustain playing with half the team for a couple of weeks, maybe even more back then. But it's obvious that they couldn't sustain this kind of increased workload forever. Hence the collapse in March/April.
The same happened again this year. We actually already started the season with reduced squad, but sustained the increase of workload per player until October. When the international break occurred we hoped to get our elements back, but in fact we even lost more of them than ever before. Our lads sustained that for a couple of more weeks but eventually collapsed as I've always preached and tried to prepare people for it to happen back then.
Again, I'm not saying that missing players is bad because we lack quality and can't commit to a gameplan anymore (Piolismo). I never did if you read my posts carefully. What I'm saying is that even professional sport athletes can't sustain the amount of workload that comes with constantly playing with half as many elements as the opponents (statistically, as I said in the other post). Hence why at a certain point the team will collapse, break down, will be less reactive, psychologically more fragile, prone to easy mistakes they'd never do, inevitably resulting in ruining the gameplan.
Just look at Tonali in December to make a point, runned into the ground, not the same player we saw early in the season, and now, after proper rest and rebuilding, against Roma, he probably played the best game for Milan ever. Coincidence? I don't think so. Imagine that for each player on the field. For all 11 of them.
The added quality of the starting players is only the icing on the top.