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Ignazio Abate with AC Milan U19 2022/23

AC Milan U19 2022/23: How Ignazio Abate is helping to develop the Rossoneri youth – scout report

Soon, former renowned athletes will begin coaching careers with state-of-the-art facilities at their disposal.

Here, we get to witness the iconic Milan right back in the early stages of his coaching career.

It was announced in July 2022 that Ignazio Abate, a former AC Milan and Italy right back, would be taking over the Milan under-19s following a successful run with the under-16s.

Abate, back in the day, was a lightning-quick maniac who could out-run practically everyone in Europe. According to his coaching tenets, an offensive mindset is essential to success.

Despite Abate’s squad’s impressive showing in the UEFA Youth League, they now hold the thirteenth spot in the Primavera. They have scored 35 goals but allowed 37 in 24 games, earning just 27 points.

In the youth league, they are undefeated with the most goals scored and the fewest goals allowed. They blew through their group games with ease and are now in the semifinals.

As a result, there is a great deal of inconsistency between their various positions, and this article will examine all the complexities Abate must take into account before proceeding.

This tactical analysis will look at how Milan’s under-19s play in and out of possession and how they’ve preferred to approach since Abate’s arrival. This analysis presented as a scout report will also look at how and what part of tactics Abate needs to focus on and what’s next for the Italian manager.

Formations and how they approach

Abate, in contrast to Stefano Pioli, deploys a 4-3-3 with two traditional fullbacks, two wingers, and a poacher. Abate’s development as a coach will benefit greatly from his liking the traditional setup.

He has decided to play with just four defenders instead of five. Here’s a visual breakdown of what formations Abate has utilised this season.

Ignazio Abate with AC Milan U19 2022/23

About half the year, or 49%, he has used a 4-3-3 formation. The 4-2-3-1 configuration is his second favourite, and Milan uses it often. We can also see that he has sometimes strayed from his standard formation, opting instead to utilise 3-4-2-1 for only 2% of the games.

Hard effort and luck carried Milan to the semi-finals of the youth league last week when they defeated Fernando Torres’ Atlético Madrid.

Ignazio Abate with AC Milan U19 2022/23

Milan’s low block defence is shown in action in the top photograph. They benefit from the triangle formation in the midfield during transitions and in some challenging situations. Their compactness aids them in avoiding opponents in the half-space and prevents them from using it to their advantage.

The Primavera team Torino, presently in fifth place, is just seven points behind the league leaders, and Abate’s thoughts on the second phase of attacking are clear as day against them.

Ignazio Abate with AC Milan U19 2022/23

During the build-up, we can observe how the defenders (red lines) and the midfielders (yellow lines) are spaced apart. The right winger and centre striker for Milan both drop back to create space and play the false 9 roles. As a result of the midfield spreading out to help the crowded areas so play can flow more smoothly.

In possession: What they do and what they don’t

Here, we will analyse Milan’s performance when in possession of the ball. What may need to alter to make the team more dynamic is also something that will be discussed in this section.

Milan is not as awful with the ball as their defence would have you believe. After moving to Milan to join the youth programmes, Abate found that creating more and more 2v1 scenarios helped him adjust to Italian standards.

Currently, in fourth position in the Primavera, Fiorentina was shown in the illustration to be at fault because of the centre-back’s movements.

Ignazio Abate with AC Milan U19 2022/23

At the outset of the build-up, one of the central defenders is tasked with getting in front of the pressing wave and scouting out possible passing possibilities for the midfielder.

At this point, it seems like the opponent’s pressing is fruitless. Abate is enjoying the newfound freedom that came with his decision to go against conventional wisdom about the role of a central defender in a defensive formation.

Under a manager, the team’s dynamism and competitive potential might benefit greatly from a change in attitude and approach to playing. The aforementioned scenario illustrates how to rapidly alter a strategy based on impulsive decisions.

Ignazio Abate with AC Milan U19 2022/23

During the subsequent phase, which takes place within the opposition’s half, the left back adopts an overlapping position to create a 2v1 against the fullback of the opposition.

When the aforementioned occurs, the midfield becomes a double pivot with the other midfielder joining the striker. The midfielder’s job now, as he adjusts to playing higher up the field, is to look for openings to make runs through or to provide assistance for the winger.

By shifting positions, the offensive midfielder draws the attention of the centre backs away from the ball, giving the poacher a better chance to attempt a poach.

Ignazio Abate with AC Milan U19 2022/23

Following this, we will evaluate the team’s potential and their immediate future based on what they are capable of doing rather than what they have done so far.

In their match against the fifth-placed Bianconeris of the Primavera, Abate’s team displayed a lack of dynamism that limited their ability to make in-and-out runs. As a result, the opponents will have to be on their toes and can’t afford to sit back and defend it as they have been.

If they had been willing to make an effort, any of the four players pictured standing when the midfielder receives the ball may have opened up space.

Complicating matters further, two of the four players seem to be facing their own goal. If an incoming lobbed ball is headed towards the defensive line, the green lines represent possible routes of attack.

Ignazio Abate with AC Milan U19 2022/23

Since Chelsea’s defence is so tight, all of Milan’s attackers crowded into the half-spaces. It would have been possible for the black-marked defensive midfielders to break up and advance, drawing in Chelsea’s midfielder and opening up half spaces in between.

In contrast, they opted for the pass in the half-space, which ultimately resulted in a turnover. These nuances should be handled properly so that players know what they should be doing in any situation.

Exactly why Abate is worried about the press

Because of the energy it draws in and the complexity it imparts, pressing is always one of the most important aspects in the coach’s eyes. The coach’s pressing strategy receives the most of their attention and consideration.

Although the intensity is rising dramatically, Abate still has a lot to learn in terms of coordination and teamwork.

The goal Juve scored against Milan was completely unprecedented. This happened during a pressing scenario when the front four were expected to press the goalkeeper.

Ignazio Abate with AC Milan U19 2022/23

The waves of pressure should be coordinated and mutually beneficial. The yellow-marked midfielders form the second wave of the press. As a coach, you shouldn’t like seeing so much space between the two waves.

The gap between the midfield and the defence is something we are now unable to see. It was there that Juve’s striker was standing when the ball pitched and slipped directly into his path. He calmly slotted it into the goal.

Ignazio Abate with AC Milan U19 2022/23

This was a problem all game long, even against Fiorentina. The third line was not initially near the other two, but now they are. It was a man-oriented marking system which has to be altered depending on the situation.

Lecce, now leading the league, found a particularly sour method to let down the Rossoneri. They only won by a single goal, but they completely unravelled Milan’s defence.

Ignazio Abate with AC Milan U19 2022/23

As the midfielders didn’t do their part, the team suffered. The accompanying graphic shows that the midfield line had disappeared. The reckless pressing has opened up a tonne of space in the centre of the field for Lecce and caused a lot of problems for Milan.

Ignazio Abate with AC Milan U19 2022/23

Milan’s midfield displayed aggressive ability but lacked responsibility in the match against Internazionale. Aggression drove them to commit when they were ahead in the press by clustering more teammates around Inter’s buildup.

Any group spotted moving in unison is automatically guilty of a foul. Considering the time and effort put in together and the helpfulness of everyone involved, this is a disappointing outcome for Abate.


One reason why academies like Ajax, Benfica, and Salzburg have been so successful is that they model their practices after those of the first team.

The coaching philosophy is the same as that of the first team, and the goal is to inject additional energy into the group.

Abate’s dreams of winning the youth league championship haven’t completely collapsed. With a 2-0 victory against Fernando Torres’ Atletico Madrid, they will now play Hajduk Split of Croatia in the semifinals of the youth league.

Abate, who is at a crossroads in his management career, may get a lot of insight from Milan. His beliefs appear to have both positive and negative effects on the team.

The issues addressed in the analysis are likely what Abate is considering how to move on from.