One wonders how often both a Coach and youth team boss have been sacked in a week. With Milan Primavera boss Alessandro Lupi shown the door, many think senior boss Gennaro Gattuso may see the same fate should his Milan side secure a less than favourable result against SPAL this evening.
As turmoil returns to Milan for another season, with both present and future sides under-achieving, technical director Leonardo has been staunched in his support of his young manager, insisting there is no one else in the frame. But heading into the winter break, whispers of the potential arrival of Arsene Wenger or Antonio Conte persist.
A draw at Frosinone condemned the Rossoneri to their fifth game in a row without victory and Gattuso will point to the absence of key players like Suso, Lucas Biglia and Giacomo Bonaventura as key losses. Spaniard Suso in particular is a great loss, who still leads the league in assists.
But no salient argument can be made that he didn’t have the tools at his disposal to see off the relegation-threatened side, still boasting the talents of Gonzalo Higuain, Franck Kessie and Alessio Romagnoli.
Sadly, his side could not find the net against the weakest defence in Serie A this season and never looked likely to. The stalemate was the fourth blank Milan had drawn in as many games, the longest streak in the top flight for the club since 1984. And it is the profligacy that will concern most Milan fans.
Higuain, once a sure-fire goal-getter, is having his most barren spell in Italian football and few around him are stepping up. For all the
rumours of swap deals with Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata, the Spaniard too would have his troubles scoring consistently in this side.
Still, sixth place is far from uncommon for Milan in recent seasons, and just three points off fourth-placed Lazio there is still time for their Serie A campaign to be relatively successful.
Perhaps it was their endeavours (or lack thereof) in Europe that have forced the hierarchy at the club to reconsider Gattuso’s position.
A terrible week in Europe for Italian sides hit a new low when Milan were knocked out of the Europa League in a group containing Real Betis, Olympiacos and F91 Dudelange.
This came just months after the club fought tooth and nail to have their place in European competition restored after it was taken from them due to financial troubles.
When they take a step forward, others take two. When they spend big, others spend bigger or smarter. And when Napoli & Inter fall down into the Europa League, Milan fall even further.
While many misfortunes and misgivings are out of the control of any manager, the things he can control have not been up to par. This impotent brand of football needs to change quickly.
When Gattuso swaggered into a beleaguered Milan back in November 2017, he seemed exactly what they needed. As steadfast and bullish as he was in his playing days, he injected a shot of passion and enthusiasm into a lacklustre squad.
Now he has the players and the motivational skills but lacks the experience and tactical knowledge that comes with it.
Just over a year in charge, one can argue that he has had enough time to effect meaningful change at the club. And at a club as unstable as Milan, time may be what is needed, both for the team and him as a Coach. But other legends of the club like Clarence Seedorf and Pippo Inzaghi have not been afforded the same luxury, so why should he?
Gattuso is as sackable as many who have gone before him, and without any flash of promise or improvement against SPAL, he will find that out sooner that he hopes.