While the majority of the peninsula has their eyes fixated on the happenings in Turin following Antonio Conte’s shock departure and are now adjusting to the sight of former Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri addressing the Italian champions, a new era is beginning at Via Turati.
Pippo Inzaghi’s reign in charge of Milan officially began over a week ago, the former striker’s entrance into coaching first team professional footballers met with an array of tifosi and banners, hoping to celebrate a season that will be better than the last.
“I want a positive team who want to play from the heart in order to beat the opposition,” Inzaghi told Press as he was unveiled. “The Milan shirt must go back to mattering.”
While we’ll have to wait to see if Inzaghi’s Milan side will match the ‘heart’ of its famously enthusiastic Coach on the pitch, reports emanating from Milanello indicate that Rossoneri players will at least be expected to match SuperPippo’s discipline, a notorious element of his preparation as a player.
Former teammate Andrea Pirlo detailed Inzaghi’s attention to diet in Milan’s locker room in his autobiography, eating the same meal – salted beef with pasta and tomato sauce – over and over again.
Similarly, a strict diet has been imposed on the 40-year-old’s new charges at Milanello, as well as a mobile phone ban and an expected time of arrival at club training. For a team that lost veteran leadership in droves in 2012 and had leaked reports of in-fighting under Clarence Seedorf last season, Inzaghi’s mission to return professionalism to the squad can only be seen as a positive.
The changes haven’t stopped there. Tactically, it is thought that Milan and Inzaghi will be aiming to recreate the ‘German approach’, specifically regarding movement off the ball between the midfield and attack. The Rossoneri under both Allegri and Seedorf looked stagnant in midfield and Gazzetta dello Sport published some predictions of a Milan 2014-15 line-up that included trequartista Riccardo Saponara as part of a midfield three with Nigel De Jong and Andrea Poli.
Up front, Jeremy Menez is expected to start with the returning Stephan El Shaarawy either side of Mario Balotelli in a trident that offers the former Manchester City striker a little more assistance than he received during the frustrating 2013-14 season. Meanwhile, Adil Rami returns to the Milan defence to partner new teammate Alex, offering solidity to a shaky backline.
Robinho is set to exit the club, following fellow Brazilian Ricky Kaka, Alessandro Matri and Valter Birsa as a host of underperforming names are set to make way for new ones. A coaching change on its own is not enough to keep Milan from sinking further, and it seems that those in charge of the club have begun to recognise that.
“The objective is to qualify for the Champions League,” Barbara Berlusconi announced alongside Inzaghi. “Therefore, this is a positive moment and an emblematic one that should be remembered.”
For that ‘positive moment’ to be followed by several positive moments throughout the season and a happy ending next May, Barbara’s father and Adriano Galliani must deliver on their end to increase the quality of the squad. Enthusiasm and words about Milan ‘mattering’ once again are fine, but they must be aligned with financial investment.
Pippo Inzaghi may be starting a revolution at Milan, but he’ll need a little more firepower for it to be successful.