Monday March 26 2012
Wounded Milan under the microscope

Milan continue to lead the pack even if, as Rob Paton reflects, they are coming under significant internal reflection.

“We already have too many injuries and we must change something. It’s not good because this is the time of the campaign when we all have to be on the field giving our contribution,” lamented Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Milan Channel on Saturday evening.

The tone and choice of his words disguise the fact that, hours before, his double-strike at San Siro had put Roma to the sword and temporarily extended Milan’s lead at the top of the table to seven points, before Juventus played the next day.

Despite yet again proving the difference for his team and netting his 21st and 22nd goals of the season from just his 23rd appearance, Ibra’s focus was on the loss of Thiago Silva to a thigh injury. Indeed, for taking questions on how the Rossoneri turned around Pablo Daniel Osvaldo’s opening strike just before half-time to finish the game against a traditional bogey side with all three points, Coach Massimiliano Allegri also fielded as many on the Brazilian’s condition.

Primarily, it is because Silva’s misfortune – a thigh strain suffered in the pre-game warm-up that forced him off after just 10 minutes of the Saturday evening match and rules him out for the next month – is bad timing twice over. Not only does it rule the team’s most consistent and fittest defender of the past few seasons out of probably the next seven games – including both legs of the Champions League quarter-final with Barcelona – but it accentuates the recent debate surrounding the club’s injury troubles.

Allegri went into Week 29 without nine first team players through injury and with doubts on a further two – Kevin Prince Boateng and Alessandro Nesta – on the bench. The week before had seen a season high of 13 unavailable players – 42 per cent of the first-team squad – and not once through the season has Allegri had a fully fit squad to pick from. The past week began with the news of Alexandre Pato’s journey out to America to try to get a hold on recurring problems that have seen him suffer 10 muscle injuries in the past 27 months, and ended with reports of President Silvio Berlusconi scepticism of Allegri’s training methods.

Comparisons have been drawn between the workouts the Milan squad are put through under Allegri and those that they were put through during Carlo Ancelotti’s era, with the general consensus being that the current Coach is working the players too hard in sessions. Allegri has defended his work, first in suggesting that most of the injuries sustained this year are impact rather than muscular-based and second in suggesting that a major contributing factor could be psychology.

“When a player is under stress they are more likely to suffer injuries and this applies not only to Pato,” mused Allegri on Friday. “When there are so many injuries, errors may be behind it, but there is no scientific data to support the human psyche and that counts a lot.”

Silva’s injury, however, will only bring the issue back to how Allegri and in particular his fitness team are handling the players. It is under scrutiny because, as Ibrahimovic puts it, this is the time of the season when a majority of the players should be fit, not on the injury table. Silva’s injury was a misjudgement by management, more than anything else, only adding to the sense of frustration by the likes of Ibra. The MilanLab that was heralded not so long ago for prolonging the careers of Billy Costacurta and Paolo Maldini through ground-breaking fitness-management, is now drawing the ire of its biggest stars.

Even so, where Milan go into midweek without their best defender and with only two fit strikers to play, as they showed against Roma in a relatively-comfortable game against the Giallorossi, whoever figures for the Rossoneri on the pitch is still producing the goods.

Juventus kept pace with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Inter in the Derby d’Italia, though it wasn’t without calling upon Gianluigi Buffon heroics at the other end of the pitch too. The 34-year-old’s saves mainly came before Martin Caceres’ opening goal at the other end, which as Claudio Ranieri described, ‘ended Inter’s game’.

Elsewhere, Napoli-Catania and Genoa-Fiorentina provided entertaining 2-2 draws, although the first also carried a couple of strong penalty shouts that would have been in the Elefanti’s favour. Manolo Gabbiadini produced the type of performance and goal that Atalanta needed to wipe away fears that the team would miss top-scorer German Denis, with the Bergamo outfit not only inflicting just Bologna’s second League defeat of the calendar year, but moving into the top half of the table for the first time in 2012.

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Have your say...
Juventus have already beaten Milan in the League & Cup, plus knocked them out of the Coppa Italia. So obviously Juve are better, given the fact Milan have'nt beaten them in 4 games this season. Milan complain about injuries? You have a bunch of 35/38 year olds pack into your squad, what do you expect? At least Milan have broken the record for most penalties awarded in one season edto make up for the injuries..............
on the 28th March, 2012 at 10:08pm
Boss, it's not even worth responding to lol.. Thanks for showing everyone on this thread that you have no clue as to what you're talking about lol. Thrashed Milan lol.. You're funny dude! My conversation with you is concluded. I can't speak with 13 year olds who google things and pretend to know what they're talking about. Good day.
on the 27th March, 2012 at 8:00pm
@ Boss

Fair enough. Prove your worth. Enlighten us all and share some of your brilliant thoughts. State something actually accurate. More then the fact Juve beat milan twice this season.

How do you feel about the FACT that you have ONE player that has scored 10 goals, the runner up is Claudio Marchisio on 7 goals. In 23 games...

You have 14 draws(!). I rather have 4 loses and 6 draws and be on top of the table.

Oh, wait.. That's right we ARE on the top of the table.
on the 27th March, 2012 at 6:57pm
@ Rob Paton

I love how you allow post by infants who has absolutely no added value to the topic and ignore post from others, written in accordance to a objective point of view.
Why are you even posting Boss comments. Do you consider them add any value?
Do you consider it constructive comments that could lead to further interesting dialogs? I'm amazed as it seems like some people are allowed to write whatever trash comes to their minds while ignoring other peoples settled comments.
on the 27th March, 2012 at 6:49pm
Marc F why dont you tell me which Italian team can afford Ronaldhino, Robinho and Ibra and still suck. Juve are better then milan having thrashed them so many times this season and are undefeated. Boki ur defence is bad enough, sell Silva and you can start picking the ball out of your net more often. Viktoria, whats this laughing stock business? are u describing Milame and your own life? Iyiola i have obviously tocuhed a nerve by torturing milan and i love it :) i love debating with fools.
on the 27th March, 2012 at 6:15pm
@boss, I am adding my voice to many voices that have condemned your attitude, the fans here are serie A fans, if u are here to just say rurbish I suggest you go to sky sports or the sun, sites where only the english game is the best in the world forgetting that serie A had 3 clubs in the last 16 and the competition between Milan and Juve is more fierce than the competition between Utd and City....everyone knows Utd will win but no one can tell who wins the scudetto - forza MILAN!!!!
on the 27th March, 2012 at 12:40pm
@ Viktor. Didn't we just beat u 2-0, to knock u out of coppa italia! Oh ya... There's that Guy named Del Piero and that guy Pirlo, who picks Milan apart every time Juve plays Milan, & oh ya, there's that greatest keeper of all time , Buffon. Juve played Milan 4 times this season, & Milan didn't win 1!. Then Vucinic smashed a 30 yard goal 2 destroy yor coppa Italia hopes. & Juve r the only unbeaten team in all of Europe. & have the best defense in all europe. Learn footbal b4 u speak!
on the 27th March, 2012 at 10:53am
Injuries will always play a part, you cant help that unless you address the source of the problem. Past two seasons Juve have had 60+ injuries, it happens! Milan are going through the same but luckily have an exceptional player who can balance it. If you look at the aims of both teams they're doing quiet well, high profile victories along the way are a bonus. With many games to go, anything can happen. 4pts isnt so far away. Im more concerned by Napoli than Milan at the moment tbh
on the 27th March, 2012 at 9:49am
im a realist and with so many injuiries its not looking good already against barca.

however the likes of Boss need to shut up and stop trying to mock Italian football and its fans. Why are you on here you have nothing constructive to say but only outright rubbish????? Your knowledge of italian football can be compared to what my nephew knows at age 10! Anyway, milan are still in the champions league and 1st in the league, hopefully at the very least we will have the title so its not all bad.
on the 27th March, 2012 at 9:43am
Come on already,enough whining and moaning. Injuries were always a part of the game. Juve for champions!!!
on the 27th March, 2012 at 4:02am
funniest part is that the juventinos are attempting to thrash the milan side YET we are in the final 8 of the CL and leading the league. with so many injuries, that's nothing to be too sad about ;) it's all milan baby!

we'll take on barca. and you know what, we have a decent chance of getting a positive result.

keep your heads up rossoneros, juventus is nowhere to be found below us :-)
on the 26th March, 2012 at 11:29pm
Playing Silva after his strain before the game was a joke. Now it has probably cost them any chance of beating Barca. Messi will run amok if the likes of Mesbah and Bonera are playing. I'd imagine Milan will need to score around 4-6 goals over the 2 games to have any hope, so Ibra and Robinho need to show up for a change.
on the 26th March, 2012 at 10:55pm
@ Boss

Another round of applause for Boss increasingly smart comments. Son, you make more sense each day that passes. Oh,yes Thiago silva is faking an injury so he will be able to avoid playing for Barca. Doesn't bother you that all you write is jibberish and never accurate. In fact, it's not even close to accurate and this goes for all your post. It's like you dont know football, but take out your mediocre life on a italian football blog?

Son, your the laughing stock of this page.

No offense
on the 26th March, 2012 at 9:49pm
@ Soccer Expert

" If not for Nocerino, Ibra, & Abbiati (All former Juve players), Milan would be in the bottom half of the table"

First of all, calling yourself a "soccer expert" and stating such an utterly inaccurate statement aint exactly a good start. We've won lots without ibra. That's what this article is about. We've been facing injuries throughout last 6 month. Still doing well.

ps. At least we have some player to rely on, who do you rely on at Juve?

on the 26th March, 2012 at 9:45pm
"Boss" you are a tool :) with the 100+ year olds we are still +4 on Juve and we are sill in CL. If Thiago wants to leave for Barca next year good on him. They will pay big and if they do we will just buy someone else. It's happened before and it will happend again to any club not just Milan.
on the 26th March, 2012 at 9:44pm
Juventus don't realise how lucky they are that we have so many injuries, if we had a full squad, we would be well ahead, and would certainly smash juves run in the league! yet with all these injuries we are able to produce results, week in week out, and I hail Mr Allegri for that! Juve havent got nothing on us
on the 26th March, 2012 at 8:26pm
And what's with both Milan and Juve fans stating that players are formerly form their team's clubs? That's so stupid! Every player in the world is from some other team or other supporters clubs. Yes Ibra and Abbiati are formerly of Juve. Um let's see one of the major reason's Juve has done half decent is because Pirlo (former Milan)! So what? See how dumb it sounds?!
on the 26th March, 2012 at 8:01pm
@Boss, what excuses? Milan have been completely depleted all season long! Where is the excuse in that? It's fact. Really dude, quit while you're ahead, nothing you can say will show you have any sense at all! You tell me 1 team in all of Serie A who'd be able to do as well as Milan has done so far with 50% of a depleted team! Oh JUVE? Ya, sure bud!
on the 26th March, 2012 at 7:58pm
I am a Juventino 100%! But,Milan are the only Italian club left in the CL,so I am routing for them to beat Barca. I do agree, Milan have been disseminated by injuries, & fielded a medium level squad most games. If not for Nocerino, Ibra, & Abbiati (All former Juve players), Milan would be in the bottom half of the table. However, vs Barca, the 2nd best team in the world currently, They will fully exploit these problems, & I fear that Milan, can beat them without their full squad. Hope I'm wrong
on the 26th March, 2012 at 6:26pm
lol omg i was wondering how long it would take the milan fans to bring out the excuses "the sun was in our eyes, the weather was bad, nesta was injured, ibra our god and creator hurt his back". your players are injured because they are 100+ years old. Thiago Silva has faked his injury because he is anticipating milan getting whooped by Barca and he does not want to be part of such a humiliating defeat and he also wants to leave for Barca. You Milan fans are a daft joke
on the 26th March, 2012 at 5:50pm
its nor luck or bad luck people need to acknowledge the great managerial skills of Allegri with almost half the team missing for more than half the season the man gets the results week in week out.. all I can say is HAIL MAX ALLEGRI
on the 26th March, 2012 at 5:22pm
If Berlusconi had done what he should have done that means sell Pato during Christmas and bring Tevez maybe we would have a chance against Barcelona in the coming games. And reinforcements in midfield wouldn't be so bad either!
on the 26th March, 2012 at 5:21pm
If Ibra,Boateng and Van Bommel continue to keep getting injuries at this critical stage of competition, chances are Juventus will be able to catch up with them comfortably, no doubt about that.
on the 26th March, 2012 at 5:08pm
on the 26th March, 2012 at 3:30pm
People can say what they want about Milan or make a big deal about Juve's "unbeaten" streak, but Milan have easily been the best team in Italy this year by a long shot. They've been destroyed by injuries, haven't really been close to playing with a full squad this year and are still in front in Serie A and in the quarters in the CL. That counts for a lot. Even the most anti Milan fan has to give props for that!
on the 26th March, 2012 at 1:20pm
A great show from Milan, their squad depth and Allegri. Milan have showed they know how to win well, win pretty and win ugly when needed. Whatever the outcome of the Barca game we can be proud of our team this year. Never do they do anything since Arsenal without 110% determination. Milan vs Juve, a great game from 2 great teams both playing with their hearts on their sleeves.
Forza Rossoneri!
on the 26th March, 2012 at 1:19pm
Keep relying on highly injury prone players like Nesta, Aquilani, Pato, Gattuso and oldies, that's what you'll get, neither Juve or anyone else apart from Milan itself is responsible for this. If Milan had fully fit squad it would be a miracle with all those fragile players who spend more time on treatment table than training ground. Their crisis is not a result of bad luck or misfortune, but rather really poor risk managament by Allegri and Galliani.
on the 26th March, 2012 at 1:19pm
I have been frustrating for our injuries for recent years, I think the doctors should be evaluated and yes the training method has got to be more easier and lighter. It's not bad luck anymore, there must be something wrong in Milan and MilanLab. Please solve this problem, our players are falling like flies. I rarely see big clubs like MU, Barca or Madrid have their players Injured for so long. Look at Pirlo now, he is still fit for a whole season in Juve.
on the 26th March, 2012 at 12:49pm
all these injuries unfortunately hinders Milan's ability to go out against barcelona and show their trueworth. Without thiago silva, pato, (maybe abate & robinho) we risk exit. I hope we still play as we did against arsenal in the 1st leg and play with the desire and tempo that Milan can produce when at theitr best.
on the 26th March, 2012 at 12:46pm
I don't recall too much sympathy when Juve had it's chronic injury problems last year and the year before. We were told by all to stop moaning and get on with it. having said that, i do have sympathy having suffered the same. Juve looked into this last summer as a result and it has made a difference, whatever they did. Maybe Conte and his fitness staff are better than the previous lot so maybe this is Allegri's fault. Real shame for Thiago, i think thats their chances against Barca gone, sadly.
on the 26th March, 2012 at 12:28pm

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