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Tuesday February 14 2017
Milan's Comeback Kings

Milan leave it late again with a resilience inspired by Coach Vincenzo Montella, Chloe Beresford explains.

Nothing was going right for Milan Coach Vincenzo Montella. Going into Monday evening’s fixture with Lazio, the Rossoneri had taken just four points from their last five outings. This run included defeats to Sampdoria, Udinese and Napoli as his side slid further down the table into seventh place.

Suffering a defensive emergency, the former Fiorentina boss had to do without the injured Alessio Romagnoli, Mattia De Sciglio, Luca Antonelli and Davide Calabria, in addition to Gabriel Paletta who was missing through suspension. Juraj Kucka, used as a makeshift full-back against Bologna, was also banned. With no other options available, he called academy products Raul Zucchetti and Mattia El Hilali to the squad.

Added to this were rumours in the morning Press that notoriously impatient President Silvio Berlusconi was unhappy with Montella’s tactics, the 80-year-old no stranger to putting his own opposing ideas forward in the public forum. Rumours of a move to China for Carlos Bacca had also resurfaced, after a reported rift with the Coach rumbled on due to a lack of playing time.

As the match kicked off, there was no let-up for L’Aeroplanino, his side facing the most shots (16) and the most shots on target (8) of any Serie A first half this term. On the stroke of half-time, Lazio finally took a deserved lead, Lucas Biglia converting the spot kick after Ciro Immobile was fouled.

But just as the Rossoneri left it extremely late to conquer Bologna with just nine men last weekend, Montella’s men fought against adversity and never gave up. After Manuel Locatelli was guilty of too many sidewards passes, Jose Sosa was brought on to replace him on 53 minutes, and it proved to be an inspired substitution indeed.

Completing 20 out of 27 passes in the attacking third, Sosa also provided the assist for Suso to fire in an equaliser after 85 minutes. With Bacca on the bench and some awful recent Sosa performances, it was not the obvious substitution to have made, but it was the right one by Montella.

Whilst he has taken a lot of flak over the past few weeks, the Coach has instilled a sense of resilience into the squad, having started at the beginning of the campaign by shoring up the defence that had shipped so many goals under his predecessors.

Back then he was being hailed for taking the Rossoneri back into the top three with extremely limited resources and even pulled off a victory in the Italian Super Cup with Juventus. It was inevitable though, that such a paper-thin squad was always going to struggle when injuries hit.

However through the criticism, lack of funds, and injuries, Milan have pulled themselves out of trouble with late comebacks time and time again this term. Montella’s side have scored four of their last eight Serie A goals after the 85th minute.

This suggests that the Coach has the faith of those who matter the most: the players. With his strength in getting the most from what he has available, he has been able to inspire those who wear the shirt to adopt this never-say-die philosophy.

This is sure to keep Milan going through turbulent waters ahead, if he is given enough time to see the job through. 

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
i really wish berlusconi would learn from his mistakes for me sacking mihajlovic cost milan European football for this season. montella record is better than mihajlovic with fewer financial resources and he is bringing primavera players into the fold at the same time. That for me is worth more than berlusconi philosophy of attractive attacking football. I am sad to see berlusconi leave but he is keeps mistaking these type of irrational decisions it is probably for the best.
on the 14th February, 2017 at 10:28pm
As a rival, this team inst as bad as I thought. Even with all the injuries and tough losses, they're still proving that something is working. Sacking montella would be amongst the stupidest things this management has done.
BBilan for 5th
on the 14th February, 2017 at 4:51pm
Too much criticism of this team so far, considering it's literally being held together by duct tape. Montella has done exceptionally well with what little he has (I'd recommend a 3-5-2 maybe). Berlusconi is a dinosaur with obsolete ideas at this point. But he's time has come and gone and I can't wait for him and Galliani to be out. Hopefully the Chinese money arrives soon and they can start acquiring better building blocks for this Milan, to bring it back to glory.
on the 14th February, 2017 at 3:46pm
@Jawad

Did you just say Gomez is class?
on the 14th February, 2017 at 3:45pm
I dont get the formation discusion, considering the squad this is the best attacking formation, we tryed 324 with sedorf and the midifield got overuned, and the wings couldnt handle the workload required to track back at times. Say what you want some of the points dropped by milan they dominated the games and should been up and closed the matches before the first halfs. With the C-team at the back and a zapata who after 5 seassons get worsth and worse the 1 point is a miracle, gomez is class.
on the 14th February, 2017 at 2:02pm
@Anonymous

Bahaha the bitterness is so revealing.
on the 14th February, 2017 at 12:03pm
I strongly disagree with everything Berlusconi has done or said over the past few years but I agree with him that this 4-3-3 with flat lines is unsuitable.
Montella is getting paid to figure it out so I'll leave it to him. But I agree the fighting spirit in the squad is much better than previous seasons albeit with limited resources and talent.
on the 14th February, 2017 at 12:03pm
The Achilles heel continues to be the full back areas. Milan were skinned down both sides time and time again. If not for anderson and balde diao being so selfish and wasteful, Milan would've suffered a lot more. But you have to hand it to the spirit within the team. Milan might be lacking in quality, but they certainly don't lack in effort, belief and balls. Last season, they'd have definitely lost this type of game. Lazio did well to crowd the midfield in the 1st half. difficult to watch!
on the 14th February, 2017 at 11:09am
Still a poor team who will finish outside European places again no matter how much money they spend on useless players although Montella is a decent coach.
on the 14th February, 2017 at 9:13am
Montella has done a wonderful job. The calls to sack him are just ridiculous. We have played great football the past few weeks and narrowly missed out some results which has made us look much worse than we are. We are definitely missing Jack though, I wasn't too impressed with Ocampos, though it was a difficult match for his first start. Deulofeu needs to play out wide and we need a proper number 9 up top, the attack was much more coordinated when Lapagol came on.
on the 14th February, 2017 at 2:08am

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