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Friday March 21 2014
Lazio-Milan, Derby of Disorder

Milan upstaged Lazio in the chaos stakes, but must now do so on the field if they want to keep Clarence Seedorf in a job, says Richard Thomas.

When analysing the turmoil that has engulfed both Lazio and Milan of late it seems that just about any bit of bother the Biancocelesti have got themselves into, the Rossoneri have always found a way to go one better.

Take both clubs’ recently finished European campaigns. Edy Reja’s side were roundly ridiculed as they crashed out of the Europa League three weeks ago to virtually unknown Bulgarian outfit Ludogorets.

Enter Milan to steal the spotlight. A fortnight later the Rossoneri were horribly exposed as they capitulated to an embarrassing 4-1 defeat at Atletico Madrid in their Champions League Last 16 second leg. San Siro legend Arrigo Sacchi summed up the general reaction towards Clarence Seedorf’s side’s performance by describing it as “a disaster for Italian football.”

How about both clubs’ recent transfer activity? Aquile fans were left furious by President Claudio Lotito’s decision to allow star midfielder Hernanes to be sold to Inter in the final days of the January window, then failing to spend any money on a replacement nor anyone else of note when reinforcements were clearly needed. All in all, it represented yet another in a long line of unambitious windows that have left tifosi questioning the direction in which their club is headed.

Milan however again take the bragging rights for headline-grabbing for the wrong reasons. A string of cheap and cheerful (maybe not so cheerful) loan and permanent January signings was symbolic of a transfer policy gone horribly wrong in recent years. While the likes of Adel Taarabt and Keisuke Honda may come good long term, the Rossoneri’s insistence on shopping in European football’s bargain bins makes the decisions to allow the likes of Andrea Pirlo and Massimo Ambrosini to leave the club for free all the more mind-boggling. Throw in the relatively recent sales and lack of quality replacements for the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva and it is easy to see why Paolo Maldini believes his former side have “thrown away what was built with hard work over the previous 10 years.”

All of this has understandably led to frustration boiling over on the terraces. Lazio fans have had enough of Lotito and have voted with their feet by boycotting recent home matches. While the President insists he is willing to talk things over, Ultras’ hard-line stance of ‘you or us’ means it is unlikely there will be a happy ending for either party.

Over in Milan meanwhile things came to a head last week, with Curva Sud fans releasing a strongly worded statement attacking the club’s “host of useless overpaid players” and “horrible transfer policy.” This was followed by at the Rossoneri’s match with Parma at San Siro, a game which ended in a 4-2 defeat and the likes of Seedorf, Ricky Kaka and Mario Balotelli meeting with angry supporters in a bid to restore calm. 3-0 to Milan.

Speaking of scorelines, they are what ultimately matter and more importantly than anything else mentioned, Milan have outdone their opponents on Sunday in securing bad ones. Despite the turmoil engulfing the club off the pitch, Lazio have shown improved form on it of late. A run of three wins in four games has put the Biancocelesti back in contention for a Europa League place and in Reja they have a popular and well-respected Coach. By winning matches they have kept the negative headlines at bay, at least to an extent.

No such relief for the Rossoneri, who have now lost four consecutive matches in all competitions and six of their last eight. It is a run of form that has triggered a media frenzy this week with seemingly every Italian and his dog having an opinion on where it has all gone wrong for the club. It has also apparently put Seedorf’s job at risk barely two months into his tenure, with reports claiming he will be axed should his side show no signs of improvement on Sunday or next week against Fiorentina.

It is quite unbelievable how quickly it has come to this for the Dutchman. He has always viewed reviving the Rossoneri as a long-term project rather than a quick fix and so, surely, do the club’s decision makers. Nothing has changed in that respect since he was appointed, so it seems absurd that President Silvio Berlusconi would consider sacking him before he has had a chance to put his own stamp on the team. Then again, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised by anything Milan do anymore.

Rightly or wrongly the situation is what it is and while the Biancocelesti have more to play for from a footballing perspective on Sunday, the precarious position Seedorf finds himself in means most of the unwanted attention will be on Milan come kick-off, not Lazio…again.

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Have your say...
@ snakeskin I agree to a certain degree. Defence is key. If you don't concede goals you don't lose matches. I wonder have Inter progressed this season from last season. I suppose a top 5 finish wouldn't be too bad (better than Milan can hope for!). The team is in transition and you might build on it next season. We do need other teams challenging Juve. It's getting embarrassing. I think they'll break a points record this season. Inter's 97 points from 06/07 is looking under threat!
on the 27th March, 2014 at 10:47am
@snakeskin

And this season inter is great? cmon man
on the 26th March, 2014 at 11:56pm
I am an inter fan but i see similarities in milans situation and that which inter had. Inter were pretty horrific last season they had spell where they played good but the biggest problem was defense teams were scoring at will and then sitting back granted 3/4 of the squad were injured but that's not the point. Fast forward this season its basically the same squad but the defense is more solid there were really only 4 signing who've had any impact 2 were defenders Rolando and camps
on the 26th March, 2014 at 7:09pm
@ Marc F Ordinarily I would agree that 10 players are too many but the problem is the first team squad has 30 players and there are a further massive 42 players out on loan and it gets better a further 9 players on co-ownerships! Glad to see Galliani has spent Berlusconi's 50m a season well! It gets even better: Galliani spent 27m this season, 55m in 12/13, 53m in 11/12 and 46m in 10/11. That's an impossible level of incompetence! Yes a lot needs to change beyond the players!
on the 26th March, 2014 at 5:51pm
And I've said in previous posts that there is a lot that needs to change in this organization above and beyond the players.
on the 26th March, 2014 at 2:14pm
@Maldini,

I don't really disagree with you but even you're saying to get rid of 10 players or so. That's a pretty big chunk no?
on the 26th March, 2014 at 2:12pm
@ Marc F If a business with 100 underperforming staff decided to get of 75 of them in one go there'd likely be chaos so why is a football team any different? You can't replace 75% of your squad. We need stability first and then to gradually change. The media loves talking about transfers and players coming and going but the reality is football clubs need stability. For me that means conservatively getting rid of maybe 10 players to reduce the size of the squad and signing 2 CBs. That's it.
on the 26th March, 2014 at 10:56am
@Maldini,

Comparing Milan to other teams is useless. And comparing this year to last year is just as useless. They weren't very good last year either. As I said they were able to go on a nice little run which helped but they're not nor where they a great team. They still lost to minnows last year too. As far as changing 3/4, I'd say close to yes. Bonera, Zapata, Mexes, Constant to name a couple. Their d is terrible. Not sure what you're contesting with me. They're a crap team now.
on the 25th March, 2014 at 9:15pm
@ Marc F but they finished 3rd? They were good enough to finish 3rd last season and are now terrible. Do you think that Allegri this season and Seedorf got the best of the players? Do you think that Sampdoria, Torino, Atlanta, Verona and Parma have better squads? Why are the higher in the table? And more to the point what do you propose doing. Changing 3/4 of the squad in one go and replacing them with what?
on the 24th March, 2014 at 5:23pm
@Maldini's Heir, my point is that there isn't any coach that will be able to help this team like some suggest at the moment. Many things need to change before anyone will have any impact. The second half of last year had nothing to do with Allegri. Sometimes a team will go on a run. Allegri ruined that team and the Milan brass let him do so. That's my point. Until changes are made from top to bottom no manager will make a difference.
on the 24th March, 2014 at 3:06pm
@Maldini's Heir

For once I agree with you , this is getting silly. There is no real spine and day by day I'm losing more and more confidence in Seedors capability in doing something good with Milan. I still believe and have hopes but I don't like what I'm seeing. Like you said, why take off Honda in 55th?? Bonera, meters, muntari. please leave.
on the 23rd March, 2014 at 11:00pm
Seedorf made some very odd decisions again this evening. The formation was a mess with obvious weaknesses down the left. How could Mexes start after last week's performance? De Jong and Essien in midfield again? And then the subs. Why take off Honda on 55 mins? Why bring on Muntari for 3 DMs? Why bring on bonera at right back? I don't care about the result. Absolute mess.
on the 23rd March, 2014 at 10:42pm
Why did FT lead with the headline 'seedorf dropped balo'? How about 'balo rested for Wednesday' or 'milan drop their captain' or 'confirmed: Mexes is still a footballer' or 'exclusive: Poli's now a right winger' or 'Honda: yesterday!s trequartista - today where does he play?' Or 'do you remember kaka?'
on the 23rd March, 2014 at 9:24pm
Lotito is too stubborn to be moved in any way so the ultras should just stop wasting their time and get back to the Olimpico to get behind the team.
on the 23rd March, 2014 at 5:09pm
Giorgio I think it's because Lolito won't spend any money to make us competitive , let's be honest without the coppa last season we had another average season, also to let Hernanes go without replacing him was comical,
on the 22nd March, 2014 at 5:59pm
It's the players. We have talent, we could use a few more defenders. The only thing I have to say is christmas tree formation. We have those types of players for that formation.
on the 22nd March, 2014 at 2:09am
I`m Lazio fan from my childhood (for some 10-12 years) and still find hard to understand why the heck, fans protesting?!
on the 21st March, 2014 at 9:52pm
Berlusconi's era has ended, please sell up and take Galliani with you, Milanista's around the world wll never forget the legacy of the most SUCCESSFUL owner in football, from his creative ideas such as bringing the renowned Milan Lab, frm scouting Sacchi, Capello, Ancelotti to now the ruins o becoming a COMPLETE laughing stock,just sell the damn club, forza Milan.
on the 21st March, 2014 at 7:04pm
@ Marc F I am not sure what your point. Either the squad was good enough to finish 3rd last season or it wasn't. I was critical of Allegri and glad he went but at least he had experience and he did get the best out of the players in the second of last season. Milan should've built on that but instead they bought Matri and 10 other random players. What I don't want to see is Milan suddenly change 3/4 of the squad. That would cause more chaos and also in my view give up huge potential.
on the 21st March, 2014 at 6:57pm
Milan has no width, maybe 2 players who can perform average in wide roles and that includes the fullbacks. They plug themselves up in the middle of the pitch and if there not going to play with any width besides their fullbacks they better have at least 2 of the best midfielders in the world and they are a long ways off there.
on the 21st March, 2014 at 6:44pm
The problem with 4231 is the 4. You either need a defence that can stop conceding or a forward line that is completely clinical. AC have neither. So 4231 is a pointless adventure. It surprises me Seedorf cannot see that.
on the 21st March, 2014 at 5:49pm
The problem simply lies, as has been said, in the lack of continual investment. A car left alone, no matter how expensive will pack in. Berlusconi has built and destroyed his own club, and his on going political / private saga's only help to turn the club also into a mess. Everything bleeds into everything else. I do not support AC, but I wish for Italian football to have a great AC Inter Napoli Juve Roma Lazio Parma etc
on the 21st March, 2014 at 5:45pm
@Maldini, I didn't miss any part thank you very much. Last year's squad was really no better than what they have now. Yes they went on a pretty good run the last half but you can't take a portion of any season and compare it to the whole. They aren't a good team and what? They played so well the second half because of Allegri? No. Even his first season they won the scudetto in spite of Allegri, not because of him. I'm a Milan fan. It is what it is, they suck at the moment.
on the 21st March, 2014 at 4:34pm
I agree with marc f. No one would make an impact as the damage was done years ago when milan ignored the finance sheet and continued to pay huge sums of money to players that they couldn't replace like for like. But a sensible sale early and an eager youth project would have been the way to go. But they let it get in such a mess that the sale of kaka, ibra, silva and releases of nesta, pirlo, zamb, ambr were nescacary. Its a shame realy because I think it will take them long time to fix now.
on the 21st March, 2014 at 3:37pm
@ Marc F what part of the league table last season did you miss? The majority of this squad finished 3rd last season and picked up more points in the second half than Juve. They were miles ahead of Roma. Look how things changed. Roma get Garcia and signed DEFENDERS and guess what? They're challenging Juve. I'm so sick of the rest of the squad taking stick because we've a non-existent defence. Our attack has to score at least 2 goals in a game to draw. It's absolute farce.
on the 21st March, 2014 at 3:32pm
i agree with st ambrose: give inzaghi more time before promoting him to first-team manager. in the meantime, could we perhaps go for spalletti or prandelli (i don't know if that's feasible, but someone with a bit of pedigree!)? pie in the sky? possibly, but we need someone who can build something from the ground up... start from scratch...
on the 21st March, 2014 at 3:17pm
@ Maldini's Heir

I know what you mean about the results -- but our best performances this season (vs Juve, Atletico - 1st Leg, Samp, and Inter - only one win though) showed there is potential that can be worked with. Most called for Allegri to go but still he overstayed his welcome by far. The 4-3 defeat to Sassuolo was a step too far. The midfield is imbalanced, but it can be worked with. I would rather we did not qualify for the Europa League because it would take too much out of the squad.
on the 21st March, 2014 at 2:54pm
People people. It makes total sense to have brought in Seedorf. Milan are going nowhere this year so why not try him out. For those of you who really believe any manager could have made a difference you're out of it IMO. There's nobody who can get this Milan team going. They don't have players/talent. A manager can only do so much, the rest is up to the players. The true measure of how Milan will react to this horrid campaign will be the moves in the off season.
on the 21st March, 2014 at 2:33pm
Yes Maldini's heir I have that game on DVD. Van Basten scoring 2 penalties, Gullit and Papin also on the scoresheet. Beppe Signori and Fuser scoring good goals for Lazio. Gazza running around but very unfit. I also recall the 4-4 draw with great goals from Veron, Salas and Sheva. I wonder how many of the present crop would have got anywhere near these squads. The 5-3 had Rijkaard, Savicevic, Laudrup not even making the squad due to foreigner rules. Bossman really screwed Berlusconi.
on the 21st March, 2014 at 2:08pm
Inzaghi as a replacement? Wonderful. He has barely more experience than Seedorf at this point in time. The poor results will continue, Inzaghi will get sacked, and yet another loyal Milan legend will be estranged from the club.
on the 21st March, 2014 at 1:31pm

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