It’s no surprise that in the aftermath of Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Roma at San Siro, many Milan supporters ramped up their efforts in support of the ‘Montella Out’ campaign. Unsatisfied with a lacklustre product and the poor results that come with it, major questions have been raised as to whether the former Fiorentina boss is fit to manage this squad under the lofty expectations of a top four finish.
As we enter the international break, the Rossoneri sit seventh in the table on 12 points, four off a surging Lazio side for the final Champions League spot. Montella’s administered one aesthetically unpleasing performance after another, and with the Milan Derby looming against Inter in under two weeks, is now the time for ownership to pull the plug on the Italian before it’s too late?
When contemplating sacking a tactician this early, owner Li Yonghong, CEO Marco Fassone and sporting director Massimo Mirabelli must be sold on a replacement who can engineer a working tactical game-plan, gain the trust in the changing room and ultimately, play improved football that renders positive results – all within a matter of weeks.
Once Carlo Ancelotti was relieved of his duties at Bayern Munich last Thursday by chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge after falling to Paris Saint-Germain in the UCL and losing control of the locker-room, the Italian became the consensus number one choice by supporters to replace Montella in the event he was sacked.
Yet, while the idea of Ancelotti reclaiming his post in Milano seems logical given their successful past together, the 58-year-old himself on Monday downplayed links of a return, saying he will take the next 10 months off before deciding his next move.
Certainly, Ancelotti could change his mind at any point, as his words are not set in stone, but it’s highly unlikely he’d step in at this stage without the luxury of a pre-season to implement his own strategies.
So now you fall into that second tier of available Coaches with names likes Walter Mazzarri and Paulo Sousa who, let’s face it, do not exactly instill confidence. Neither is qualified to manage at this sized club, with a €200m project in place, and shoulder heaps of pressure to reverse their fortunes.
Sure, Montella’s failed to forge a true identity here by October with Inter and Juventus on the horizon, and is still juggling formations - troubling to say the least. But the reality is there are few, if any, Coaches on the market who bring a calming influence to the fanbase at this time, which is why Milan may be forced to ride this out and hope ‘The Little Airplane’ can weather storm and steer the Rossoneri back on course.