Tuesday November 28 2017
Milan problems beyond Montella

The Rossoneri were right to fire their Coach, but Gaby McKay still sees no clarity within the chaotic club.

Vincenzo Montella can have few complaints after being fired by Milan yesterday.

After taking Fiorentina to three fourth-place finishes in a row and an admirable rescue job at Sampdoria, his first season as Rossoneri Coach was a qualified success.

With a serious lack of investment in the squad in the latter years of Silvio Berlusconi, and an on-and-off takeover hanging over the club, l’Aeroplanino moulded a team of young, exciting players like Gianluigi Donnarumma and Manuel Locatelli into a side which challenged at the top of the table in the first half of the campaign, and lifted the Supercoppa against Juventus in Doha.

Hindsight may offer warning signs in the second half of the Diavolo’s season, where they limped into the final Europa League place after one win in seven, but most Milanisti understood that their Coach was doing his best with kids and cloggers.

This season though, after a €200m transfer campaign financed by the new Chinese owners, Montella has looked utterly lost.

Where last term the 43-year-old made the best of what he had, this year he has looked spoiled for choice, unsure how to accommodate his expensive new players into a cohesive system.

In his 23 matches in 2017-18, Montella picked 23 different starting XIs, using - among others - 3-5-2 to suit Leonardo Bonucci, 3-4-3 to get the best out of Suso and finally 4-4-2 in this weekend’s draw with Torino.

Despite winning just six of 14 games, the former striker continued to insist his side were playing well, even in a run of four winless games across September and October.

Given that the Rossoneri’s minimum aim this season is the Champions League, Montella’s declaration today that he “didn’t suspect anything” about his imminent fate drew snorts of derision from Milanisti across the world.

Despite Montella’s failings - of which there have been many this season - though, his sacking appears to expose a strange lack of proper planning in the red and black half of Milan.

Why now, with three winnable games against Benevento, Bologna and Atalanta to come? Why replace him with Gennaro Gattuso, a man whose coaching record thus far is patchier than Gabriel Paletta’s hair?

CEO Marco Fassone was at pains to stress last night that all team decisions are taken by the sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli. Yet Montella believes the decision to sack him came from China, and Fassone admitted the owners had been complaining about the Coach.

For his part, Mirabelli insisted the decision was a collective one, while adding Montella was still “a great Coach”. Of course he did that, in part, to defend his own summer transfer policy, which again seems a tad scattershot.

One could argue that if you have the chance to sign Bonucci, you damn well sign Bonucci, but was he the player Milan needed, with Mateo Musacchio and Alessio Romagnoli already on the books? The former Juventus man’s arrival prompted a switch to a back-three, limiting the impact of Suso, who was arguably the standout performer last season in a 4-3-3.

Gattuso’s appointment also seems a strange decision. Fassone and Mirabelli have been at pains to stress that he’s not a caretaker. Ringhio is the Coach, but he’s not guaranteed a job beyond the end of the season. So… a caretaker then?

At his presentation today, Gattuso admitted he hasn’t even spoken with Yonghong Li, as the owner doesn’t speak Italian or English. Those who have watched the new Coach’s infamous rant while at OFI Crete may question his own command of English, although to be fair to Rino, he did learn to speak it in Glasgow.

One person Gattuso has spoken to though, is previous owner Silvio Berlusconi, with whom he discussed the importance of two strikers. There is even talk Il Cavaliere may once again visit the team at Milanello, like some perma-tanned version of Banquo’s ghost. If Banquo’s ghost had a helicopter and a facelift.

So what are we left with?

Today Fassone was forced to affirm his confidence in Mirabelli, who were both at pains to stress their faith in Gattuso, who hasn’t spoken with the man who owns the club, but has talked tactics with the previous President. Clear as mud then.

Milan were right to sack Vincenzo Montella, but he’s far from the only one at the club who has looked confused this season.

Have your say...

I respectfully disagree with you on your point and this is why. Napoli in my opinion also don't have a super squad if one compares it to say City or Barcelona, yet win or lose they play some of the most amazing football in the planet and have created an identity for themselves as well as signature football. Sarry would have been smarter on transfer market, so you would have a different situation today. I was disappointed then and still regret that decision today! Milan will revive!!!
on the 1st December, 2017 at 1:40pm
Kuq e Zi
We would be having exactly the same conversation because comparing Milans team to napoli' is where you made the biggest mistake. Milan had and have a terrible team, dont fall into listening to Maldini heir about world class and no world class bottom line is Napoli have hamsik we have montolivo simply no comparison and that is the theme from top to bottom with Milan. Sarri could salvage Milan then or now. Milan are finished horrible to admit but they are done. It is just chaos.
on the 1st December, 2017 at 11:26am
Maldini heir... you are 'world class', no one can waffle as much as you, you go on and on around the houses n back again and still just waffle. You waffle so much you even confuse yourself. You should sit with Viktor and see if he can teach you how to talk rubbish in one box not the 6 you cover on every blog!
You, the fooball genius, the expert of football think Ventura should have been our coach haha that alone should be enough to ban you from this site forever!
on the 1st December, 2017 at 11:19am
To be honest, to date there's only two milan signings I regret, that of biglia, calhanoglu and kalinic. For the price and the way they're performing I wish we used that money towards aubemayang. Bonucci is finding his feet again rodriguez has been good musacchio has been the most consistent Kessie is young and will get better borini has over performed and Silva has world class potential. If better people will say that they are good again just like they did in summer then changed to bad.
on the 30th November, 2017 at 3:12pm
I think the biggest strategical mistake of Milan was made by Silvio Berlusconi and that is not to hire Sarri. I could not believe he hired Mihailobitch instead of him.

Sorry boss, I respect you a lot but if you had hired Sarri we would have been having another conversation today
on the 30th November, 2017 at 11:12am
To the Inter fan Polo - You should know that you will forever and ever be in the shadow of Milan. Sorry but that is reality and you know that!

Milan needed to change, Genaro is the right choice for many reasons in my opinion. Yes he doesn't have experience but he has personality which may change things this season.

It also gives Milan enough time to find the right coach for the next season in case Genaro doesn't work.
on the 30th November, 2017 at 11:09am
It's a strange carry on..Rino like Oddbodd from carry on screaming! Milan didn't need to buy so many in summer.Fair enough ya need a big squad 4 EL but Milan have some good Italian youth who'll no doubt b cast aside AGAIN.They only needed 2 or 3 top players,not a revolution.Maybe they should get in Ventura too.He'd fit in well.He'd promise to play youth n probably end up wi Montolivo as a striker. Wi Jack n Borini as W/B! Then blame San Siro pitch for being 2 narrow 4 his tactics once it fails!
on the 30th November, 2017 at 5:11am
I see a lot of similarities in what Milan is going through to what happened to Inter last season. Coaching changes, good summer window, and new owners. Aside from that I got to be honest and Milan should just go ahead and write this season off they are not catching the top 4 the pace they are setting is incredible and Milan would have to win them all to make a CL spot, maybe they can take EL but that's even a stretch. I'm an Inter fan but I really don't want Milan to fall completely apart.
on the 29th November, 2017 at 6:29pm
If he gets this team playing with passion and for the shirt then to me he's done his job. I just want to see a team I can get behind for the rest of the season and please please make Cutrone a starter, the kid is special. Kessie should develop well under Rino also seeing as he's a similar player to the king himself. Managerially wise Rino actually had an incredible defensive record at Pisa, hopefully he can do better going forward with a much better forward line.
on the 29th November, 2017 at 12:33pm
Agree 100% with Maldini's Heir. Montella was shambolic thus far this season and he had to go no matter what, the players had lost faith in him and he clearly had no plan seeing as he could field the same lineup twice in 23 games. Rino may not be a 'World Class' coach but he will instill a work ethic and grinta into this team and will at the least field a somewhat consistent line-up as opposed to the horror show that was Montella. T me Rino has all the traits to be a Conte like manager.
on the 29th November, 2017 at 12:30pm
What's done is done, we must just hope for an EL finish this season and press the reset button next season. My major concern with the team is a creative player. It is evident how toothless Milan gets when Suso is not running the show. The team they assembled is one for the future and I would not temper much with it. Areas that need to be tackled asap is a good creative player in the middle and an experienced striker. Hopefully that will solve our current struggles.
on the 29th November, 2017 at 9:33am
Come on Montella is really living of his reputation during his fiorentina days to credit his time at samp as a success is frankly absurd considering what gimpaolo is doing with a similar group of players.

As for a back 3 that is down to bonucci milan did spend serious money on rr and conti bit of a waste not to use them as wing backs especially considering the lack of wide options.

The issue was a lack of a settled team hopefully gattuso has a idea of his best starting 11.
on the 29th November, 2017 at 9:00am
Clearly he was not the right pick and I don't see a turn around with Rhino even tho he was a hero as a player BUT, WHAT IF.

And for all you cooky Inter supporters, let's see how the season goes. You are absolutely crap without Icardi, and believe me, he's gone next season.

Now for the actual topic.

I just hope gattuso realize how many promising player he have to hes displosal. USE THEM.
on the 29th November, 2017 at 7:12am
Apart from Bonucci, all the summer transfers were hype egged on by media: "oh, look at how much money Milan spending, they are really serious contenders!" Gattuso was a great player, but barely smart enough to organize a bachelor party...
on the 29th November, 2017 at 4:09am
unit. And if Milan are going to turn things around they need to become that. I don't want to see a single transfer in January (other than possible cover for Kessie). Whoever takes charge needs to take this team and make them work. And they will make them work by playing the same players week in/week out. 23 different starting line ups in 23 rounds is the reason were behind Sampdoria in the table.
on the 29th November, 2017 at 2:44am
Napoli as Sarri? Success and failure in football comes down to inches not miles. That's why Milan can beat Juve on the Saturday and lose to Genoa on the Tuesday. There's not this huge gulf. The reason Juve are successful is because everything about the club is run properly starting with the manager. In the time that Milan have been floundering around with different managers and hundreds of transfers Juve have had 2 managers and a handful of transfers. As a result they are tightly knit, cohesive
on the 29th November, 2017 at 2:41am
Who exactly is 'world class'? The Juve core that played a part in the various Azzurri failings since 2012? Does anyone ever wonder what happens to the 'super-human' Juve players when they go on national duty? Or even why Messi does not perform at the same level for Argentina? Might it be that actually rather than a team needing 'world class' players it just needs to be a team? A team that plays together week in/week out. Does anyone seriously think Montella would achieve the same results with
on the 29th November, 2017 at 2:37am
Never mind that last season Milan competed with the top teams and lost points to the small teams. The transfer market held the key to the success. But even spending 200m was not sufficient. No, because they didn't buy 'world class' players. It always comes back to these enigmatic 'world class' players. 6 times Serie A champion Bonucci clearly isn't 'world class' nor is World Cup finalist Biglia or even the most prolific free kick taker in Europe, Calhanoglu. Not 'world class'.
on the 29th November, 2017 at 2:33am
Bonucci. Oh wait he's lost his super powers since coming to Milan.In fact it'd be interesting to see how many of the super-human Juve players would fair at Milan working under such coaching greats as Seedorf, Inzaghi, Mihajlovic, Brocchi, Montella and now Gattuso. Milan are like kryptonite. It's a course this mentality which is responsible for last summers 'revolution'. The fans and media like Montella it seemed had such lowly expectations for their players that of course they needed an overhaul
on the 29th November, 2017 at 2:28am
Anyway it seems people prefer to focus on other problems like the players. It's always the players. We need 'world class' players. Bless, Montella did his best with 'kids and cloggers'. Apparently his best was to finish below Atalanta. And who says Lazio and indeed Roma, Napoli and Juve don't have their fair share of 'kids and cloggers' too? Do people really think that the Juve squad that has made a mockery of Serie A for the last 6 years consists of super-human players? Super-human players like
on the 29th November, 2017 at 2:24am
I posted at length yesterday about possible replacements for Montella including Ventura if we're desperate. It should be borne in mind that he did get his Torino side to finish 7th above Milan in 13/14. Compared with Gattuso's record Ventura is a better option. It's all relative. Anyway the reason I listed the alternatives was a) to offer solutions to the current predicament and b) to therefore question the thinking of the owner and directors who so far I have not criticised.
on the 29th November, 2017 at 2:13am
@GGG I think it's called "being unqualified" for the position. I love Pippo, Seedorf, and Rino, but the Milan job is easily one of the most difficult in modern football because the pressure is so high and the club is such a mess.
The job requires a proven world class manager at this point.
on the 28th November, 2017 at 10:50pm
As usual ShevaMilan echoes my thoughts.
Such a promising project fell to pieces so quickly. Everyone is to blame, from the squad to Mr. Li.
It's up to Rino now to instill the grinta and harmony the squad needs to prepare for a real coach come the summer.
Forget the big names, there's no getting into the top 4 now.
The goal for this season now should be to build a solid identity, a team with character. Take the EL seriously and qualify for Europe again.
on the 28th November, 2017 at 10:48pm
I find it very strange that Gattuso said he was going to use a back 3 after using a back 4 in Primavera and playing mostly in Milan teams that played with a back 4.It was the same with Seedorf who played a 4-2-3-1,a formation if I recall he complained about when used by Holland.Then you have Inzaghi,one of the best penalty box strikers,part of great striking partnerships at Juve and Milan,playing with a false 9 for most of his Milan tenure.I just find it strange.
on the 28th November, 2017 at 10:28pm
Greetings from Inter. In our side of town we enjoy football, life and the forthcoming christmas month. Everything is going great, atmosphere is calm and peaceful and the fans are happy.

How are you guys doing in the Milan side of town?
Still booing world class striker Kalinic?
How is that expensive signing of Biglia turning out for you?
Can u guys afford the bus ticket to Benevento or do u need to take out another loan?

Merry christmas from Inter and good luck with tactital genious Gattuso.
on the 28th November, 2017 at 8:58pm
What Greaseman85 said!
on the 28th November, 2017 at 7:57pm
Last summer's transfers are the root cause of this problem, they should never have bought Bonucci, Biglia & Kalinic. That wasted the thick end of €100 million, which could have been used for a top striker or kept in the bank to stave off their financial problems.
on the 28th November, 2017 at 7:57pm
Thinking Ancelotti,Hidink,Tuchel,Mazzari would take over now is just as stupid.Worst of all,I read some fans suggest Ventura.Back to reality,Gattuso is now the coach & there's nothing anyone can do.Let’s see how he does.Unfortunately he said he'll play with a back 3.I'm willing to be proven wrong but I dont see why a team struggling to create and finish would sacrifice a man up the pitch for an extra defender.
on the 28th November, 2017 at 7:38pm
We all know Milan made illogical & unnecessary transfers.We all know that Montella undid all his good work last season by abandoning the players & tactics that helped him.The question is"What can be done now?”Montella needed to go & considering Milan's financial situation,Gattuso was the only coach available & willing to coach Milan.If you think S.Inzaghi,Giampaolo,Donadoni,Gasperini would leave their teams to take over this mess without transfers & a preseason then you're crazy.
on the 28th November, 2017 at 7:38pm
on the 28th November, 2017 at 6:42pm

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