Monday January 20 2014
Seedorf’s winning start

All eyes were on San Siro to see if Clarence Seedorf could turn around Milan’s season. Giancarlo Rinaldi examines his winning start and the rest of Week 20.

The new regime started with a trademark of the old one. Last season, Milan enjoyed an impressive second half of the season surge thanks, in part, to the penalty-taking skills of Mario Balotelli. And he welcomed his new boss, Clarence Seedorf, with another vital spot-kick in the Rossoneri’s first League game since bringing the Max Allegri era to an end.

It was a deserved victory but one which looked to be slipping away until an ill-timed intervention by Verona’s Alejandro Gonzalez upended Kaka late in the game. Despite a couple of recent blunders which spoiled his perfect record, Super Mario regained his composure to secure three precious points. The delighted look exchanged between the striker and his manager suggested that they might work well together.

This was no panacea performance, however, nor could it hope to be. Seedorf could not be expected to tackle all Milan’s problems overnight and it would be unreasonable to expect him to make much impact in a matter of days. What he did see, particularly in the first half, was an attitude which pleased him with the four attacking players in his notional 4-2-3-1 formation pressing their opponents deep in their own half.

“This is a group of players which deserves more than it has got so far,” said the recently retired Botafogo player. “This victory is dedicated to all Milan fans. There’s a lot of work still to do - but when you are winning, everything is a bit easier.”

There were two other less-heralded coaching appointments made during the week but neither did anything like as well as Seedorf. Attilio Perotti stepped in for Davide Nicola at Livorno with a pretty testing opening fixture, a trip to the Olimpico to take on Roma. If he thought his survival goal was achievable, he was in for a Rudi awakening from Garcia’s men.

The capital club was in killer mode with goals from Mattia Destro, Kevin Strootman and Adem Ljajic winning a game about as imbalanced as a see-saw being shared by an elephant and a dormouse. Even the Tuscan team’s new gaffer seemed glum about their prospects.

“I wasn’t expecting such a low-key performance even if we were playing a Roma side which is really strong, fast and lucky - given that they got a goal after five minutes,” he admitted. “I’m disappointed not to have seen more of a reaction from my team. I expected more determination - they enjoyed themselves and could do as they pleased while we simply struggled.”

There was no joy either, at the Stadio Massimino in Catania where President Antonino Pulvirenti’s will have to revise his masterplan once more - if he can decide exactly what it is. Having sent Rolando Maran packing earlier this season, he brought him back to replace Gigi De Canio after a Coppa Italia stuffing by Siena. The outcome was another Tuscan tanking, with their game with Fiorentina ending in jeers.

The match, of course, was a chance for Alessandro Matri to fill in for the injured Mario Gomez and Giuseppe Rossi as well as show he was not the dud he appeared to be at Milan. As an opening gambit, he did not do too badly. Two goals and an assist for Mati Fernandez in a 3-0 victory before being substituted with a calf strain were a good calling card.

“I dreamed about an afternoon like this, I wanted to play my part again,” he said. “I have suffered for six months and I want to thank everyone who stood by me - my family and my girlfriend - I dedicated my goals to them.”

Another reviving striker, Rolando Bianchi, also grabbed a double as Bologna held Napoli to a draw, a result which allowed the Viola to narrow the gap on that last Champions League spot. After slipping behind, Rafa Benitez’s side looked to have turned the match in their favour with a Gonzalo Higuain penalty and a Jose Callejon finish as slick as his hair-do. But the former Manchester City front man struck a late goal to deny them three points.

Inter suffered an even worse blow to their European hopes with a defeat to their old Coach Gian Piero Gasperini in a soggy Genoa. Walter Mazzarri is in danger of sinking like so many of his predecessors who have tried to rouse the Nerazzurri since the departure of Jose Mourinho. Erick Thohir must be starting to realise the scale of the job he has taken on since completing his takeover of the Milanese giants.

It was down to earth with a bump for last week’s heroes Sassuolo who found Torino a tougher prospect than Milan and lost out to goals from Ciro Immobile and Matteo Brighi. While a single strike from Giacomo Bonaventura was enough for Atalanta to win their midtable clash with Cagliari.

Elsewhere, goalkeeping clangers played a key part in deciding Udinese and Chievo’s fate. Both sides had the lead at one stage in their matches with Lazio and Parma respectively but both saw that vanish. An ill-advised Superman-style dive by Zeljko Brkic let the ball cannon off his Friuli teammate Andrea Lazzari and into his own net to kick-start a late recovery and a 3-2 win for the Biancocelesti. In Verona, Christian Puggioni went one better and punched the ball straight into his goal to give the visitors a 2-1 triumph.

And, of course, Juventus won again - but this is hardly news these days. In fairness to Sinisa Mihajlovic’s Sampdoria side, they at least had the bravery to have a go at the Bianconeri but the outcome was the same as almost every match Antonio Conte’s side has played in Serie A this term. There was the consolation of making the Bianconeri tremble, at least for a moment, but nothing else to take back to Genoa. They should not be too downhearted, however, as La Vecchia Signora has only twice let teams pick any points from her pocket so far this campaign. And, on the latest evidence, she has no intention of getting any more generous any time soon.

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Have your say...
Im pretty positive you dont have a clue what your talking about!
Another "GREAT" match tonight!

Bonera has to go, it needs to be top of seedorfs list he is bad beyond words! Please viktor tell me you see at least this??!!
on the 2nd February, 2014 at 1:32am

Im pretty positive you're not a milan fan. I believe we have a fairly good team at the moment yes. Bring in a good central defender and were up top 3 in Italy for sure.
Patience. You seem to have none. It's a new world, were not old milan but we still have our pride and we will rise again. Don't tell me bout not being a fan, I rooted for them longer then you. Believe that.
on the 1st February, 2014 at 2:32am
Anyone have any opinions on the latest great player we are bringing in... taarabt!
on the 30th January, 2014 at 12:03pm
Viktor come back when you understand football!
naming old players doesnt make you an expert and you underline that fact!
Look at our squad, most of the players are here on loan, those that are not are average, injury prone, and very inconsistent. You are the exact milan fan that berlusconi's love, bcoz you buy into all the rubbish! The real fans are starting to see that we are a dieing flame! Less n less fans going to see milan, season ticket refunds thro the roof, to top it taarabt from QPR!
on the 30th January, 2014 at 11:52am

Great you just proved my point. That makes you what 16? Come back when you know bout jean pierre papin
on the 26th January, 2014 at 8:21pm
I'm not going to meticulously read the comments on this blog, although I have scanned them briefly. I agree with MM as he has just said everything I have been saying since 2007. 
on the 26th January, 2014 at 4:19pm
@Mustaafaa We got it. You don't like balotelli. Now let it go, as it's getting boring reading your hate and trash talk. When are you ever going to write a encouraging positive post? All you do is hate and talk down on players, team and coaches. Based on what you write and share, football doesn't seem to be the right sport for you. Seriously, reconsider a sport that brings you joy and not the direct need/urge to alway write something negative. It's quite sad.
on the 24th January, 2014 at 7:47pm
And for zero money I don't mins t at all. Just get rid of muntari, bonera, and noccerino. Essien could prove great if he plays half as good as he use to do. Still we need center defender.
on the 24th January, 2014 at 5:53pm
@ mm if Balo is really this bad apple how come he's had no issues with any manager since he left Mancini? Prandelli, Allegri and now Seedorf all have had no issues with him. We know Mancini was not exactly the best man manager. Do you think the stories you read about his tantrums might be similar to the stories you read about him paying for petrol for everyone in a petrol station. Or picking up truant children? Other than the fireworks story (which you have to admit is quite funny) most of the
on the 24th January, 2014 at 5:50pm

Why are you always so wrong? Jesus.
on the 24th January, 2014 at 5:45pm
I would like to know exactly what the point is in bringing in essien??
Milan over the last few years have had had major injury issues, so please help me to understand thw point in bringing in a player that has been plagued by injuries for chelsea to milan and to top it off sell nocerino who might not be the greatest but atleast he can play a session without being injured! This is exactly what I mean when I say milan need a manager that can stand up ans speak out at ridiculous ideas like this!!!
on the 24th January, 2014 at 2:06pm
Why always Balotelli ? Because he's no brain and I agree with Ancelotti 100%. It's only shameful that you link Balotelli to De Rossi personally and professionally. And it's a shame that Italy are relying on such an irresponsible maniac.
on the 24th January, 2014 at 1:51pm
Of course hes our leading goal scorer id be really worried if he wasnt, he takes everything, most of goals have been penalties, 24mil I would call it a bargain! Hes a striker hes hardly setting serie A alight tho is he?! You also have to consider that we have to put up with his tantrums, ego and attitude which wouldnt be so bad if he actually backed it up with quality! Im sick of hearing the excuses for him and his attitude, he is young, so??? De sciglio is young to we arnt waiting for him!!!
on the 24th January, 2014 at 12:17am
Im sick of berlusconi and im not going to sit a be fooled into thinking all these "great" free players we keep getting are actually any good. We are milan and we are being mocked by the owners, they keep unveiling these great players yet I havnt seen 1 do anything! On balo the guys a fool he acts like the world owes him something, he is overated and average at best, he brings unrest and unbalances the team, we have no great players, de sceglio is 18 prime example of everything balo isnt!
on the 24th January, 2014 at 12:05am
@Maldini's Heir

100% with you on the balo statement.
on the 23rd January, 2014 at 8:56pm
But despite all these things Ancelloti desribed him as a liability and somebody who could let down Italy. He said that Italy could rely on players like De Rossi. A week after De Rossi had lost his head and got sent off against Juve not to mention an unfortunate incident with the elbow in 2006. So what exactly is it with Balo that gets everyone talking and the media making up stories (and the media has made up stories some very amusing)? Why always Balo?
on the 23rd January, 2014 at 5:56pm
I know people love to slag off Balotelli but if you want to ring the changes at Milan with a small budget would you really start with Balotelli? Really? He's our leading goal scorer. Our best free kick taker. And is probably our most useful at defending corners. He's shown levels of frustration this season matching the levels of the teams' performance including his own. He's got a similar disciplinary record to players like De Rossi and it seems Monty this season.
on the 23rd January, 2014 at 5:53pm

Never said we had same team as on the 80s nor the 90s. Still believe we have quality players. I'm promised you call yourself a fan yet you talk down on your team like no one else.

De scigilio is great but not our best player( he's still a protege) their are other players worth mentioning that are top quality. Not saying as good as iniesta or ozil or whomever but still worthy for now.
on the 23rd January, 2014 at 5:01pm
We're linked with Essien again. We don't need another mdidfielder! Unless we plan on selling Nocerino, Muntari and one of De Jong Monty, Poli or Cristante why do we need to sign another midfielder if we are only 2 midfielders? Paying Essien's wages is a waste of money.
on the 23rd January, 2014 at 1:55pm
Top class..Balotelli is a top class marketing genius as a player we don't know yet as he is rarely on the pitch long enough! Honda who? SES well, we will have to see as he spends too much time injured and not enough time on the pitch, De sciglo has potential De jong is mediocre at best but not top class, Montolivo has never proven himself at the highest level again just above mediocre.
on the 23rd January, 2014 at 1:11pm
Well the honeymoon's over. Our defence let us down again. Another 2 goals conceded. Mexes was back but more due to a lack of alternatives. Clearly our defence needs to be sorted first. We can't win games if we concede goals.I'd like to see us sign Perin and Astori ONLY this summer and sell Gabriel, Bonera, Mexes, Emanuelson, Nocerino, Muntari, Robinho, Matri. That will bring the squad down to a manageable size and focus on the key area of concern.A left back would be nice if we can afford Santon
on the 23rd January, 2014 at 12:31pm
Please stop with kiddo. Based on your football arguments and the way you write this nonsense I think the only kid on here is you.
Iv told you before I have watched italy win 2 world cups, watched milan dominate european football so please less of the 'kiddo'. For someone who claims to know so much of milan you need to wake up, this milan is no where near any milan of the last 25years. We have nothing. Rivera, baresi, maldini, v bastan-2014 we have honda, balotelli n monto NOT WORLDCLASS
on the 23rd January, 2014 at 12:53am
De sciglio is the best player we have.
As for the rest, Balo is useless bar afew penalties I fail to see him how anyone can call this man world class. You bang on and on about balo growing and doing so much yet I dont see any of the world class you speak of. Je jong is hardly world class, montolivo is poor for a playef there to create he doesnt do very much creating. Mexes zapata pazzini are all useless. Kaka is a past great as for honda thats another galliani and berlusconi mistake!!!!
on the 23rd January, 2014 at 12:39am
Balotelli? Montolivo and Honda ! De Jong !! Ses & De Sciglo !!!, all are top class !?

You are a bonafide top class of stupidity and nonsense. Go to your bed.
on the 22nd January, 2014 at 10:22pm

Are you away that 5 of of our players are top class?? You trash our squad like they are all horrible, clearly you know very little but have a lot to say. Let me enlighten you some kiddo.

Balo (as inconsistent he may be is great and will grow even more under seedorf) kaka, ses, de scigilio, de jong , montilivo, Honda, are all class players.. You make it sound so much worse. Fan that you claim yourself to be. I'm realistic we don't have as good team as we uE to have but it's still good.
on the 22nd January, 2014 at 2:40pm
Was pleased enough with the performance. It was refreshing to see them press high and win the ball back. Yes, they were quite fortunate to get a late penalty but it was legitimate. Was good to see Mario shrug players off a few times without diving. We'll see how long it lasts. Don't agree that the squad is poor.I think they have a team that should be doing much better than they are - just need the confidence back. However, don't think Bonera should be 1st choice - he scares me!
on the 22nd January, 2014 at 5:13am

Doubt Seedorf's intention was to disrespect anyone. He's been fair player throughout he's career. There are WAY worse players to hold a grudge against then him. Think about all the nasty things certain players done, from bitting, grabbing, spitting, fighting, kicking, stomping, etc etc then not wearing a black armband for a Fan/DJ(who ever) that got shot by mistake no matter how horrible it was. Doubt he did it on purpose even.
on the 22nd January, 2014 at 2:50am
Just coz he won 4 champ. Leagues doesnt mean he can disrespect anyone.
on the 21st January, 2014 at 11:55pm
Rosario clearly knows what hes talking about. How can anyone expect a team that sold all that quality and pocketed virtually all the money to win anything!
The entrance of balo which was a waste of money along with matri, pazzini the freebies monto and the endless list of rubbish that wears this milan top today are the reason we are such a joke! Wev piled further rubbish on top with honda who is being pushed as our saviour like balo was its a joke. We sell youth and bring in overrated crap!
on the 21st January, 2014 at 11:21pm

Still a legend, 4 CL titles.
on the 21st January, 2014 at 8:20pm

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