Friday February 2 2018
Finding Milan's identity

Battling an identity crisis all year, Gennaro Gattuso and his Milan must show who they truly are, writes Matthew Santangelo.

From the very beginning of the Serie A season, the buzz surrounding the retooled Rossoneri was prevalent throughout Europe, and a massively popular club spending north of €200m on fresh talent certainly will leave such a resounding effect on world football.

Besides splashing a ton of money, the purpose of sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli and CEO Marco Fassone’s urgent market activity was to ensure Vincenzo Montella was set up for success early with the luxury of time to forge a winning identity that could instill fear in their opponents.

Yet, as quickly as the success came for the red and black against provincial sides in both the Europa League and Serie A, Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio gave them a 4-1 wake-up call which exposed many of the flaws they would go on to have in 2017-18.

Since the defeat to the Aquile that was supposed to help Milan elevate their game, the Lombardy giants have replaced Montella with Gennaro Gattuso, traveled on a turbulent journey to their current seventh place position in the table, and remain a difficult team to read here in February

The inconsistencies of players like Nikola Kalinic, Lucas Biglia, Hakan Calhanoglu and Leonardo Bonucci make Milan unpredictable on any given match-day, although recent weeks have led to optimism. Franck Kessie has been coming to life over the last month with a string of steady performances, and has taken a liking to Gattuso’s ‘grinta-personified’ attitude that seems to be wearing off on several others. But while having the upper-hand in many statistical areas, narrowly defeating clubs like Cagliari and Crotone builds only slight momentum and tends to mislead.

These are lower-table teams Milan should have little problem handling, which is precisely why each must be looked at closely and taken with a grain of salt. Juventus and Napoli have been pushed to the end by provincial sides on several occasions, but the difference is these Scudetto contenders often rise up in bigger matches and give us a clear understanding of how they will turn up each weekend. That is not the case with Milan right now, who are a mixed bag of results.

On the surface, the Italian giants look a more unified group under the former World Cup winner, something Montella’s heavily scrutinized Milan lacked before his dismissal. Most would concede Gattuso’s personality and spirit have created an overall more cohesive unit – and one you get the feeling can show up to play against tougher opponents.

Since Gattuso took the post less than two months ago, Milan have fired the most shots on target in the top-flight, but now it’s capitalising on those chances that will ultimately determine where they end up come May.

Milan emerged undefeated from back-to-back meetings with Lazio in Serie A and the Coppa Italia. These were more than creditable performances against the surprise outfit of the season, but the fact remains the Diavolo sit a long way off a top four finish.

It remains unclear whether or not Milan’s true DNA has been established, as getting an accurate temperature is proving difficult. Are they the flat, uninspiring squad that lost 3-0 to Hellas Verona and succumbed to late-game heroics by Benevento ‘keeper Alberto Brignoli, or the lively Rossoneri we saw weeks ago rise up to beat rivals Inter in the Coppa Italia? 

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Have your say...

What makes it even more crazy is the fact that you wrote on post... gave it an hour THEN came back and wrote another about pretty much same thing... lol
on the 6th February, 2018 at 9:06am

Let me get this straight, you just felt messing around on a 6 day old blog? On a team you are not even supporting? How much spara time do you have? I support this team so I read the posts. Old and new.

After Napoli and Juve, Milan since mid December (23rd to be exact) has played with most consistency and against though opponents.

They are doing better and better, numbers dont lie. We basically have a completely new team

Patience is a virtually.
on the 6th February, 2018 at 9:05am
on the 6th February, 2018 at 4:12am
Get a proper coach, sell Bonucci, Kalinic and, if they can get a "pot of gold", Donnarumma, start from the basics, buy very well, and hope for the best!
on the 5th February, 2018 at 9:48pm
Torrid times ahead for the poor rossoneri, I'm afraid!
With "mediocre" coach Gattuso at the helm, there is only a faint hope to do much better than they are performing now!
on the 5th February, 2018 at 8:04pm
Interesting article it is, and very accurate. It is important to remember Milan is not the team is used to be. Instead of comparing this current squad to the successes of former squads, it is important for them to show their own identity and style. Against teams like Crotone and Cagliari, it is a good confidence booster for the team. Lazio and Udinese were both good tests for not only the players, but Gattuso as a manager. Milan is on the right track, but still need time.
on the 5th February, 2018 at 6:55pm
7 for 7th hahahha
on the 4th February, 2018 at 5:04pm

Interesting read. You may laugh as much as you want.

Thanks for the contribution anonymous.
on the 4th February, 2018 at 2:08pm
Nobody cares about whiney little girls like you vicky . Relax and let us laugh at your garbage team pls . Jeez cant take a dose of your own medicine.
on the 4th February, 2018 at 11:14am
@Maldini's Heir

Problem is I would like to see Conti as a starter, when fit.

Sadly, or happily Calabria been playing better and better and turning in to one of my fav atm in milan. Rodriquez is doing well but to be honest I dont see him starting for too long if either Conti or Calabria are fit.
on the 4th February, 2018 at 9:49am

What is actually the purpose in posting kids post below ? Please try keep it civilized FI and nevermind teenager on too much sodas.


Hahahhaha lazio is the best team in serie a sms sms hahahah hahahah milan is back with leo b and jessi and silver . Go for the 4th spot leo b if you captain your team really good and try real real hard you can do it hahhahajaaj bring in your personal motivator hahhahahabahjahajja!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!6"
on the 4th February, 2018 at 9:47am
Ugh I didn't know Milan have this... identity crisis. LOL From what I can see, in Summer, Milanisti ate all the they got from the Internet that made them express themselves with embarrassing manners. I remember one Milan fan admitted that he LITERALLY CRYING because he's so happy for Bonucci's move and started to insult Juventus and worst, he believed Calhonoglu is going to be A WORLD CLASS PLAYER and he would kiss Mirabelli for all his works. OMG! This is soooo funny! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL
on the 4th February, 2018 at 7:54am
@ viktor Conti can rotate with Calabria and Rodriguez or play on the right wing in a 442.
on the 4th February, 2018 at 1:49am
If Milan really are the only team on the planet that are allergic to 3 at the back then we could play 442 which will at least let us play Cutrone and Silva upfront who can make up for our lack of pace on the wings. Bonaventura and Suso could then play on the wings and Kessie and Biglia in CM. For now may the luck continue. We were due an upturn.
on the 4th February, 2018 at 1:33am
Hahahhaha lazio is the best team in serie a sms sms hahahah hahahah milan is back with leo b and jessi and silver . Go for the 4th spot leo b if you captain your team really good and try real real hard you can do it hahhahajaaj bring in your personal motivator hahhahahabahjahajja!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!6
on the 4th February, 2018 at 1:32am
Football is unpredictable and luck plays a far bigger role than people like to admit. Gattuso has had a lot of luck recently which has been the difference between winning and losing the last few matches. That luck has helped build confidence. The question is what will happen when the luck runs out. I've said numerous times that I dislike 433. We have no pace on the wings and for some reason Italian managers insist on playing 3 across midfield rather 2 and a trequartista like they do in Spain.
on the 4th February, 2018 at 1:28am
Vanity fair! hahhahajahajjaja haaaaaaaaa!!!!!!
on the 4th February, 2018 at 1:27am
Hahahahaj no no no leo lame . You are the first player to complain about trolls which really means you cant defend and are afraid. The end hahahahah trolls dont elbow players on purpose so they dont have to be humiliated by their ex team, they just troll lol You are just a sad little girl.
on the 4th February, 2018 at 1:22am
One gets the sense that Montella's head was in the clouds and daydreaming and that this approach rubbed off on the players in games. Most successful teams have coaches who hate to loose and motivate the players to win at all costs. Perhaps its best that Milan have no discernible playing style atm. That in itself would make it difficult for their opponents to play against.
on the 3rd February, 2018 at 2:41am

And when Conti is fit.. then what?
on the 2nd February, 2018 at 7:18pm
I think that Gattuso's presence has really lit a fire under some of these guys, however, I must agree with berlu regarding using 2 CF's up top. Ideal starting XI:



jack (LM)
Kessie (RM)

Andre Silva/Kalinic
on the 2nd February, 2018 at 6:51pm
Milan are a mix of the two, INCONSISTENT.
As far as the Cups go, in England, there have been teams who won Cups and were relegated in the same season.
Milan need a real top end coach and a lot of stability at Board level.Very good players are very difficult to buy these days, plus it's difficult to get them to join a struggling outfit. So the best policy is to steady the ship first and foremost.
on the 2nd February, 2018 at 4:56pm
@BIGDUKE6 funny how every time there is a blog about milan some one has to troll it

Even i think this blog is a bit redundant pretty much the same blog was written the other day.
on the 2nd February, 2018 at 4:33pm
It's hilarious how one of these articles pops up on here everytime Milan strings together two decent matches in a row.
on the 2nd February, 2018 at 2:12pm
Unlike Montella, Gattuso has established a formation & style of play, with the 4-3-3 with pressing the opponent. They have been marked improvements in players like Bonucci, Biglia, Cahanaloglu, Calabria etc...My ONLY worry with him, is that he is still NOT seeing the value in Cutrone & Silva, and only intends on using them, when Kalinic is injured, THAT, could be his down fall! Play Cutrone, Silva, Locatelli, Canhanlogu INSTEAD of Kalinic, Montolivo & Borini and Milan will grow.
on the 2nd February, 2018 at 1:39pm
If Gattuso finds out his line-up players and field the same 11 players that he used his last game against Lazio. Surely, he'll do impossible achievements for the coming months. Overall, The new AC Milan need a time and patient. I'm a lifetime AC Milan supporter and I'll keep supporting Roseneri. Forza Milan.
on the 2nd February, 2018 at 12:26pm
Gattuso is what we need now and if he can get us into top 4 end of the season then we should keep him.
on the 2nd February, 2018 at 10:28am
From what I've seen so far, I'd take Gattuso over Montella any day of the week. I was beyond skeptical over the decision to swap Montella for Gattuso mid-season, but Rino has proven me wrong.
Big improvements in players like Calabria, Kessie, and Biglia, plus Cutrone is still performing miracles.

Even if Gattuso steps down at season's end, if he's given the team an identity, he's succeeded.
on the 2nd February, 2018 at 3:30am

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