Saturday November 25 2017
Mihajlovic deserved better at Milan

Considering how Vincenzo Montella has done this season, Sinisa Mihajlovic deserved better treatment from Milan, argues Matthew Santangelo.

For most of the season, current Milan boss Vincenzo Montella has been heavily scrutinized for the results he has earned, or not earned, after a summer spending spree that saw nearly a dozen fresh faces arrive to San Siro in a €200m squad overhaul.

The ex-Fiorentina Coach should be credited for his efforts during his first season at the club last year, leading the team to an Italian Super Cup victory over Juventus and a return to European competition with a sixth-place finish.

Now Montella hosts Sinisa Mihajlovic’s Torino and the last few months have seen the Serbian’s reign re-evaluated.

Mihajlovic arrived in Milan in the summer of 2015 after managing Sampdoria the year prior, and jumped into a very difficult role at the club, as President Silvio Berlusconi and Thai businessman Bee Taechaubol worked to reach a deal on the sale of the club – to no avail.

Supporters were expecting a massive summer market with the likes of Jackson Martinez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Geoffrey Kondogbia all heavily linked – none of which materialised. Still, the Serbian boss welcomed nearly €100m in new players - both for the present and future - including Alessio Romagnoli, who was specifically requested by Mihajlovic, Carlos Bacca, Luiz Adriano, Juraj Kucka and eventual €20m flop Andrea Bertolacci.

Star ‘keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, 16 at the time, launched his career under Mihajlovic, replacing veteran Diego Lopez at the end of October. Since taking over in between the sticks, the imposing shot-stopper has quickly become the future heir to Gianluigi Buffon’s throne with Azzurri.

With the exception of a few, Mihajlovic managed to get the best from his team throughout the campaign, including Kucka, a €3m consolation prize in the midfield who eventually became a fan favorite over his two-year stay with the Rossoneri. He was gritty, hard-working and a player who embodied everything Mihajlovic demanded from his players.

M’Baye Niang also took massive strides forward, becoming a regular starter and showing why he was ready to be a mainstay in the starting line-up. Together with Bacca up front, the two formed a steady offensive tandem that buried their share of goals.

Over a nine-game stretch from early January 2016 through February, Mihajlovic had Milan in sixth place and just a few points off a dream goal of finishing in the Champions League positions. During this period, the club picked up impressive results against the best Serie A had to offer, including draws away to Roma and Napoli, a 2-0 victory over Fiorentina, and a blowout of city rivals Inter 3-0. Although Mihajlovic’s men also booked their spot in the Coppa Italia Final against Juventus, Berlusconi sacked the Serbian in April and replaced him with Cristian Brocchi, who fell to ‘the Old Lady’ in Rome 1-0.

Aside from the decline in performances from March, and the pushback he gave Berlusconi with regards to managing his players and tactics, Mihajlovic did a fairly decent job all things considered. Sure, perhaps maybe he could have allowed Stephan El Shaarawy a chance to play his way back into the picture after a bad spell with Monaco before he was sold to Roma, but hindsight is 20/20. Now that he’s performing well under Eusebio Di Francesco, it’s almost impossible to predict he would’ve regained his form under the pressures of playing at Milan.

Long-term, Mihajlovic was certainly not going to be Milan’s answer at the post, nor would he have been able to win over a demanding fan-base like the Rossoneri’s. Most felt he should have, at the very least, been given the opportunity to manage the team in the Coppa Italia Final and finish out the season. Given the circumstances, Sinisa seemed to project a bit of hope that perhaps a shift was coming at the club and better days were ahead – something that cannot be overlooked. 

Have your say...
@christosmilan. For the last flaming time. This isn't the premier league. In serie a, managers DON'T sign players. Their responsibility is working with what has been made available to them. They can make recommendations when asked, but the task of signing romagnoli was galliani was the president. Romagnoli is 22 years old. He has certainly been better than the kak musacchio or zapata.
on the 28th November, 2017 at 10:44pm
Miha was OK, but even Brocchi played a wonderful final against Juve. What I did not like with Miha was two things. First, Paying so much money for Romagnoli was wrong. Honestly, how many times has that player played wel? Second, letting SES go first to Monaco and then to Roma was perhaps the worst decision made, not only by him but by Milan's directors too. By the way. Did you see Bologna and Andrea Poli yesterday? How many of you believe that Biglia with 20 mil is better this year?
on the 26th November, 2017 at 10:04am
players but it's all a waste until we have a manager that gets players to play beyond their abilities. That's what a world class manager does. Gets players to perform above themselves.
on the 26th November, 2017 at 3:39am
what level any of those players could reach. Chopping and changing players does nothing to clarify the situation. Very simply the likes of Sebastian Rossi, (yes) Tassotti, (possibly) Costacurta, Albertini, Evani, Massaro and Simone are no better than the players we have now but played together for so long that they were world beater. Seriously Ancelotti won the title with 39 year old Costacurta playing left back! He may have been a superb CB but was never a LB! We can spend a squillion Euros on
on the 26th November, 2017 at 3:38am
As others have said neither are good enough. Both are average managers at best. A manager makes all of the difference. World class players will perform like average players with an average manager (see Inter in the 90s) whereas average players can play like world class players with a world class manager (see Chelsea under Conte). Milan must have gone through about 200 players this decade (I don't think that's an exaggeration) but haven't had a top class manager since Allegri so nobody has a clue
on the 26th November, 2017 at 3:33am
Neither are good coaches. Not hard to see that. Gasperini, and Giampaolo are more successful with less at their disposal. Even what Di Francesco did at Sassuolo was impressive considering the injuries to the squad that he dealt with over a 2 year period, when they were playing at their best.
on the 25th November, 2017 at 10:56pm

I said HALF of the people are clueless based on a feeling. Seemingly, you are one of them.

Time will tell. Now go root/support for Inter, as I reckon you do, you're up one nil thanks to the one and only Icardi
on the 25th November, 2017 at 9:35pm
Mihajlovic sacking at the time was completely pointless all it did was effectively ruin milan run for the europa league spot that season. Still he wasn't the right coach for milan and i think his managerial form post milan proves this unfortunately montella as well doesn't seem the right man for milan and again sacking him at this point of the season would be completely pointless. as a fan i hav many aspirations for milan one of which is for milan to pick up someone like Giampaolo in the summer
on the 25th November, 2017 at 8:13pm
Miha requested the purchase of Romagnoli, and Kucka was a bargain under Miha with his work rate. Miha's football was not pretty, but it was effective. Under Miha at least there was a system, where players like Bonaventura knew exactly what he had to do - unlike now, where we have players who have no idea how to play the ball.
on the 25th November, 2017 at 7:48pm
The only person on here who is clueless is Viktor!
Montella is useless, he is only manager to spend and he spent on nothing short of overhyped players who are simply not good enough.
The only thing time will do is highlight further how useless Montella is and just how average these 'stars' of the future are!
As for you Viktor telling people they are clueless when you talk more rubbish then most is unacceptable.
on the 25th November, 2017 at 7:27pm
I get the feeling half of the people writting here are completely clueless.

What did Miha do well more then brining out Donna?

Again, if you bring on 8/11 new players IT TAKES TIME.

As for Bonucci yes he's been sloppy and not nowhere near what he use to be, but give it time, he too needs to get use to a new set up.

All I care about is to see more cutrone silva, that is KEY for us.
on the 25th November, 2017 at 5:32pm
If a loss to Torino gets Montella sacked then that's what I'm praying for.I don't see Milan finishing top 6 in Serie A or winning the Europa League with Montella.There are rumors now that Montella could sell/loan one of the right backs and Antonelli in January,condemning us to a back 3.Not to mention that management said they will sell one or two top players if we dont qualify for the CL with Suso,Romagnoli,Donarumma,Bonucci(hopefully him),Silva the only ones capable of bringing in money.
on the 25th November, 2017 at 11:58am
Considering what Montella is doing, all the previous coaches deserved better.Miha ranks top because he had relatively good results,defined a clear system for the team,managed to grind out ugly results,managed to bring out the best out of certain players & brought in Donarumma and Calabria.What's baffling to me is Montella did the same last season making this season seem like intentional sabotage.Strange transfers,changing formation,starting XI,playing players out of position,coddling Bonucci.
on the 25th November, 2017 at 10:43am
Are you kidding me?
He should have never sat on that bench, instead they should have hired Sarri and with money Milan spent since he was appointed we would have already been in Champions league and competing for title.
on the 25th November, 2017 at 9:37am
LOL Bonucci...

A former #LE6ENDS ends up as highest paid #CLOWN in Milan.
on the 25th November, 2017 at 9:34am
No, he did not.
on the 25th November, 2017 at 2:00am

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