Wednesday October 4 2017
Montella must stay at Milan

Despite Milan’s turbulent start to the season, Vincenzo Montella must stay on as Coach, argues Matthew Santangelo.

It’s no surprise that in the aftermath of Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Roma at San Siro, many Milan supporters ramped up their efforts in support of the ‘Montella Out’ campaign. Unsatisfied with a lacklustre product and the poor results that come with it, major questions have been raised as to whether the former Fiorentina boss is fit to manage this squad under the lofty expectations of a top four finish.

As we enter the international break, the Rossoneri sit seventh in the table on 12 points, four off a surging Lazio side for the final Champions League spot. Montella’s administered one aesthetically unpleasing performance after another, and with the Milan Derby looming against Inter in under two weeks, is now the time for ownership to pull the plug on the Italian before it’s too late?

When contemplating sacking a tactician this early, owner Li Yonghong, CEO Marco Fassone and sporting director Massimo Mirabelli must be sold on a replacement who can engineer a working tactical game-plan, gain the trust in the changing room and ultimately, play improved football that renders positive results – all within a matter of weeks.

Once Carlo Ancelotti was relieved of his duties at Bayern Munich last Thursday by chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge after falling to Paris Saint-Germain in the UCL and losing control of the locker-room, the Italian became the consensus number one choice by supporters to replace Montella in the event he was sacked.

Yet, while the idea of Ancelotti reclaiming his post in Milano seems logical given their successful past together, the 58-year-old himself on Monday downplayed links of a return, saying he will take the next 10 months off before deciding his next move.

Certainly, Ancelotti could change his mind at any point, as his words are not set in stone, but it’s highly unlikely he’d step in at this stage without the luxury of a pre-season to implement his own strategies.

So now you fall into that second tier of available Coaches with names likes Walter Mazzarri and Paulo Sousa who, let’s face it, do not exactly instill confidence. Neither is qualified to manage at this sized club, with a €200m project in place, and shoulder heaps of pressure to reverse their fortunes.

Sure, Montella’s failed to forge a true identity here by October with Inter and Juventus on the horizon, and is still juggling formations - troubling to say the least. But the reality is there are few, if any, Coaches on the market who bring a calming influence to the fanbase at this time, which is why Milan may be forced to ride this out and hope ‘The Little Airplane’ can weather storm and steer the Rossoneri back on course. 

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £9.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit:

Have your say...
Get rid... all that money wasted on a bunch of half wits when all we should have done to start with was get a real manager. An Ancelotti a lippi or a capello with 300mil wouldn't have brought a single one of the half wits we have brought in.
Sack this baffon before he completly ruins our season.
on the 7th October, 2017 at 7:07am
Those lamenting 3-5-2 because of Suso, it really shouldn’t be that difficult. Many teams are playing 3-4-3 now with two players playing off a single striker. I don’t see why Montella cannot simply play Jack and Suso off Silva. Actually I don’t why Montella won’t play Silva full stop. Our full backs struggle in a back 4 because they’re not good defensively and we have 3 great CBs.
on the 6th October, 2017 at 1:14am
@Beppe Rossi
I can take heart from the way we played against Roma, if we could just take our chances then that's a different story.
I'm not stressed about those 3 games (maybe a little for Napoli) - last season with a weaker team we performed well against Inter and Juve both home and away, I know we can lift for the big games.
Rijeka game was an outlier - Bonucci had a shocking match, and a few others performed terribly too. I'm not reading into it too much.
on the 5th October, 2017 at 11:59pm
You still have the Derby, Juve and Napoli. It could get really ugly. The results so far warrant a firing. The game against Rijeka was awful, and if it wasn't for a last gasp goal by Crutone, it would have been an even more embarrassing week for Milan.
on the 5th October, 2017 at 8:23pm
Montella needs to change the 3-5-2.It is not working offensively nor defensively.4-4-2 and 4-4-3 seem most suitable considering the players we have.If he doesnt change it,he should be sacked,but calls for Ancelotti need to stop.Stop living in the past.Historically second spells of players and managers have been unsuccessful at Milan and watching Bayern closely last season and this season,he was not doing a good job.I would hire Giampaolo of Sampdoria ahead of Ancelotti.
on the 5th October, 2017 at 6:02pm
Last season Montella's positives outweighed the negatives.The team had a settled formation and style of play.This season,the negatives are dominating.The transfers:apart from Kessie,Rodriguez,Musacchio, two wingers and a top striker were necessary and we got none.Letting Kucka and Pasalic go was insane.Formation:Three at the back is not working at all and is robbing us of Jack and Suso.Style of play:No style.Subs:I cant say enough.If Montella wants to stay he needs to at least change formation.
on the 5th October, 2017 at 5:43pm
Not a Milan fan, but here are plenty of available managers, Laurent Blanc, Carlos Bianchi, Francesco Guidolin (though he might be retired), plus all the legends whose managerial reputations that Milan haven't already destroyed (and those who have), like Oddo, Gattuso, Sheva, etc
on the 5th October, 2017 at 1:34pm
Not a fan of Montella as I was really disappointed at how Milan ended the 16/17 season. If Milan wanted to make a change in Manager is should have been in the summer. I don't really think there is a suitable replacement at this point in time if Montella did leave. Conti is the dream - Ancelotti is not the answer for this team. Milan needs to pick a formation, pick a starting 11 and stick to it. Give the team and Montella to a chance to establish a way of playing and an identity.
on the 5th October, 2017 at 1:30pm
@rusdi you must really be hoping bonucci fails the idea that anyone would want to leave juve is too much for some of you to comprehend. Like my namesake you live in a glasshouse be careful that someone doesn't come along and smashes your illusions.
on the 5th October, 2017 at 11:30am

Yo, Marco! Don't be too harsh with Bonucci because your friend Viktor won't like it.
on the 5th October, 2017 at 9:52am
I personally would be more inclined to having a coach who can incorporate the best of the primavera into the first team successfully rather than a big name coach. It is up to the management to institute a long term vision for the club rather than a coach. As for ancelotti no he is capable of fulfilling this requirement besides the point he had his era at milan it was fantastic but it is the past, honestly milan have tried this with sacchi and capello and it failed for good reason.
on the 5th October, 2017 at 8:58am
I think a 4-3-3 is the best bet, it's Montella's preference too.

We have creativity up front and in midfield now with Biglia playing the Pirlo role we have missed for so long, plus Hakan and Suso out wide, we don't NEED Bonucci to hit those long balls from the back, we NEED him to DEFEND! It's that simple. Nesta is fondly remembered as a brilliant DEFENDER and LEADER - who cares that he couldn't spark attacks?
I think Andre Silva has done enough to warrant the starting CF position too.
on the 5th October, 2017 at 7:07am
@Mil_Int thanks!
Agree with most of @Maldini's Heir sentiments - consistency and conviction in decision making is critical here for Montella.
With regards to mentality - the Conti injury really screwed us up. Abate simply does NOT have the quality required. Borini is at the same level - just not good enough. You can't motivate some players to be amazing, I don't believe even Conte could get much more out of these two
on the 5th October, 2017 at 7:03am
This is what you get when you sold Niang, replaced him with Borini who's not even playing the same position, have 3 similar center forwards either fighting for 1 spot or forced to overlap each other when they play together, bought 2 players similar to the ones already on the team, insisted on playing a wide formation with no natural left winger available, only to realize changing it to other formation didn't work because you don't have suitable players for it.

Too much money, too little sense
on the 5th October, 2017 at 5:28am
@ Mil_Int Whether Bonucci was the right decision or not is irrelevant. That is in the past. I don't think anyone is suggesting that he be dropped or sold in January. At the time it made sense to go for him because he could provide that key leadership, experience and winning mentality. Frankly if Montella is struggling to accommodate Bonucci then the problem is more Montella than Bonucci. A great manager has and will win titles with Bonucci (and Giacherini and Victor Moses).
on the 5th October, 2017 at 1:57am
@Marco you are a knowledgeable person. Maybe now Milan are regretting taking Bonucci over a top 10 center forward.
on the 5th October, 2017 at 12:56am
Ancelotti. If Ancelotti is not available we could go for the professional interim-manager Hiddink. He's done this type of thing so many times. Next summer we need to hire Mr Titles: Conte. He'll deliver the title even after we're forced to exercise our obligation to buy Borini.
on the 5th October, 2017 at 12:44am
here were my long term concerns about Montella lie. If he couldn't get Milan to finish above Atalanta last season how's he going to get them to finish above Lazio or Roma this? How's he ever going to get a team of similar ability to finish above Juve? That has to be the measure. The author is right that we don't have many options right now but equally Milan cannot afford not to qualify for the Champions League. That's why if we lose to Inter then I think whatever money have needs to be thrown at
on the 5th October, 2017 at 12:42am
doing it with. That tiny gap between luck and success often comes down to single moments. And here decisiveness is key. No team has won anything without a consistent starting line up. Sure teams rotate but they rotate around a base. And players are capable of playing 3 games a week. Messi has played 594 games for Barcelona in 14 seasons averaging 42 matches per season. The reason he's able to reach the heights he's reached is because he doesn't have to think. He's mostly on autopilot. And it's
on the 5th October, 2017 at 12:40am
bothered concentrating that game). The technical differences between elite footballers are usually not that great and it's more to do with mental and physical. Mental is probably the single biggest difference which is why players like Zapata will never be good enough across a season. And good managers focus on the mental. A huge part of the mental comes down to certainty. Footballers need to make split second decisions on a football pitch and they need to know what they're doing and who they're
on the 5th October, 2017 at 12:34am
Average players can win titles with great managers (Giacherini, Matri, Cleverly, Djimi Traoré and Pepe can vouch for that). Great players win nothing with average managers. The manager is the single most important thing at a football club. A great manager gets more out of every player. The differences between levels of footballers is not as great as the media or computer games make out. Messi is not a 99 player and Zapata a 70. Zapata has actually marked Messi out of the game (he must have.
on the 5th October, 2017 at 12:31am
But he lost me in the summer. I still maintain that ultimately Fassone and Mirabelli delivered the transfers that he wanted. Bonucci was his idea. He wanted Kalinic. And he's clearly quite keen on Borini. Equally he wasn't forced to sell the likes of Kucka. But more to the point Montella clearly felt that the squad that had kept in the job in 16/17 was not up to his standards. And given his lowly expectations, it's no wonder they finished beneath Atalanta (yes Atalanta).
on the 5th October, 2017 at 12:21am
I supported Montella right up until the summer. I was willing to look past the fact that he failed to finish above Atalanta (not Juve, not Roma; Atalanta). I was willing to look past the fact that the team that started the 16/17 season and which got Milan into a Champions League place was not the team that finished it. His indecisiveness was a little concerning. Niang and Bacca featured at the start of the season (during Milan's most successful spell) and were frozen out by the end of January.
on the 5th October, 2017 at 12:17am
I'm not sure if Montella has even played the same starting Xl twice. This is the most worrying aspect to me so far. Montella needs to be decisive in time for the derby. If we manage to pull off a win against Inter our season could be looking entirely different. Can't help but feel Spaletti will get the better of Montella but perhaps the players will step up! I believe Milan's squad is still among the best in the league on an individual level.
on the 4th October, 2017 at 11:41pm
We need a 4-3-3 r 3-4-3 but suso and bona need to play
Y accommodate bonucci and leave out our best attacker and creator
if he's so good should command a back 3 r 4 with ease
Montella needs to pull it together quick r fire him
We are Milan to long we've waited to get back where we belong
on the 4th October, 2017 at 11:30pm
Signing Bonucci has been both a blessing and a curse. Montella had to abandon his preferred 4-3-3 from last season to accommodate Bonucci in the 3-5-2 (thus sacrificing Suso, our hero of last season). Now if we go back to a 4 man back line he will be criticized for "wasting" Bonucci's ball playing ability - its a difficult situation for Montella.
Kessie and Biglia are quality players, but they have been far too inconsistent so far. We must back Montella, but he needs to show more conviction.
on the 4th October, 2017 at 11:26pm
Signing Bonucci messed us up. He is guaranteed to be in the starting lineup now and it would be folly to bench either Mussachio or Romagnoli. So the best bet is not the 352 but rather the 3-4-3. In the way we do not have to compromise between Suso and Calhanoglu/Jack and both can be played with no problem. Kessie and Biglia are robust enough to hold the midfield down with both quantity and quality. Andre Silvia should start at forward with Kalinin and Cutrone as back ups.
on the 4th October, 2017 at 11:16pm
I believe that a 4-5-1 or 4-2-3-1, with Kessie and Biglia on more defensive roles, as well as having either bonaventura or calhanoglu in the middle and just having one of silva or kalinic (when together have not played good at all), we could really have more aggresive and faster creative plays. At the moment, there is a clear lack of creative plays when Milan gets the ball back. Long balls, like the one Bonucci keeps attempting, can be a good compliment but mustn't be the only option.
on the 4th October, 2017 at 10:46pm
I was speaking loud this summer, to keep him. Although I'm disappointed at him, I'm still not sure whether to replace him yet! After all, b4 the start of the season, everybody were on his neck to abandon 4-3-3 (that worked perfectly last season) & implement 3-5-2! And there you have it! Why? It's necessary to have 3 defenders in line? Nope! Or if it must, then 3-4-3 is much better! This team is suited for 3 upfront, mainly for 4-3-3! Look how Zizu does it in Real, or Sarri in Napoli! Rotation!
on the 4th October, 2017 at 9:54pm

Going back to 442 would make them even worse.

on the 4th October, 2017 at 9:53pm

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Your data may be made public and you accept our Privacy Policy. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.