Tuesday May 7 2019
Why do Milan always bring the drama?

The Rossoneri beat Bologna, but the drama-filled affair was a microcosm of the 2018-19 season under Gennaro Gattuso, writes Matthew Santangelo.

For better or for worse, it has been yet another headline-grabbing, drama-packed soap opera season for Gennaro Gattuso and his Milan, with as many ups as downs.

Although three matches remain for the Rossoneri to reverse their fortunes once and for all, and secure Champions League football through a fourth-place finish, this entire season will be very difficult to put into words when the dust settles.

It was a “must-win” scenario for the red and black against a Sinisa Mihajlovic-led Bologna fighting for mathematic salvation at the bottom of the league table. But by now, Milanisti had learned to expect the unexpected. Last night was no exception, as the on-going situation surrounding Tiemoue Bakayoko continued to spiral out of control when Lucas Biglia had to come off for injury.

Gattuso looked to the Frenchman as his natural replacement, but to the surprise of just about everyone, it was Jose Mauri who relieved Biglia, not Bakayoko, in what can be best described as an on-going investigation between two professionals with a souring relationship.

Following Suso’s goal in the 37th minute to put Milan ahead (his first in over 1,000 minutes dating back to January), the squad labored after the interval and ran the risk of squandering the lead. Luckily for the hosts, Fabio Borini’s tap-in saw Milan in the driver’s seat heading into the final portion of the match, but sticking with a rather common theme of their season, they were immediately pulled back into a potentially catastrophic scenario.

Mattia Destro’s goal, compounded with yet another officiating controversy resulting in Lucas Paqueta ushered off the pitch in the 74th minute with a red card, made for a nervy finale that Milan ultimately came out of victorious.

But beyond the outcome, one must attempt to understand how a team not far removed from playing winning football - rooted in unity and ‘grinta’ - can spiral this much when it matters most down the stretch.

Prior to the Derby della Madonnina two months ago, Milan was the stronger of the two San Siro clubs on form alone. Despite glaring inconsistencies in creating chances for striker Krzysztof Piatek and static midfield play, Gattuso always maintained control of the changing room.

Since the scuffle between Biglia and Franck Kessie during the defeat to Inter, the squad just hasn’t shown the same level of fight and intensity that we saw over the better part of three months from late December to March that propelled the Rossoneri into third.

It is quite clear Gattuso’s relationship with Bakayoko has deteriorated beyond repair, as the tardiness to training earlier this week, along with the choice words in the exchange involving the two, encapsulated the pent up frustration all inside the Milan camp are feeling at the reality of an unforeseen fate outside the Champions League zone. Toss in the suspension Paqueta will face at the most crucial time of the campaign, and you have a side already running on fumes with their backs against the wall.

Winning often disguises problems from the media, but with Milan’s recent skid and the distractions becoming public, more fuel was added to the fire of Gattuso’s burning seat last night - a microcosm of the club’s turbulent journey to date.

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Have your say...
It's not Gattuso.Castillejo had one DECENT season in La Liga.Before that he was nothing.A.Silva had one good season in Portugal and Milan thought he was better than Bacca who gave us 2 double digit years.Hakan & RR are ok and try hard but they were never top class.Kessie was never better than Kucka & has always had a bad touch & pass.If anything he has improved under Gattuso defensively & maintained his scoring.Suso has always struggled to maintain form for a whole season.Nothing new.
on the 12th May, 2019 at 5:51pm
Years of the bad management are why Milan have a weak squad and no money.Yes,a weak squad.I don't understand people saying these players only became bad when they went to Milan.Why then have Donarumma,Romagnoli,Kucka,Jack,Bacca performed consistently well in different systems under different coaches?Simply,they're good players.The transfers of the past two summers were disastrous.It looked like someone superficially looked at the stats and a few YouTube highlights.
on the 12th May, 2019 at 5:21pm
Atalanta have problems in defence. But its not that surprising seeing they have sold all their talent, every year. Lets hope they manage to keep what they have and build upon what they have. With CL i think Atalanta may be a real positive representative of Italy. Certainly more so than Milan, Atalanta are miles ahead. Gattuso cant get the most out of our players, but neither has anyone before him. So may aswell just give it more time. New coach, a new cycle we've seen all too many times.
on the 11th May, 2019 at 12:44pm
@Jeremy You need to consider the situation Atalanta always have found themselves in. Always outside of top 4. Selling and rebuilding teams every single year. They crashed out of europe this year very early. But keep in mind they started the entire season very poorly, having set together a new side after selling Caldara etc. This is every year. Once Atalanta start clicking they can overcome anyone on a good day. With a top 4 and CL,maybe they can build on what they already have.
on the 11th May, 2019 at 12:39pm
Mario milanista
Atalanta will be eaten alive in Europe but thats ok because they play amazing football i guess?
Atalanta find themselves in this position because Milan are so bad!
I agree with you on sticking with a manager 100%. But average is average. If you have 11 average players you can play as amazing as you like you wont win anyhing. You need some world class players in the mix and Milan have nothing!
I don't blame Gattuso.
on the 11th May, 2019 at 8:08am
Everything has been tried? Who can we get? what can we do?

Honestly, the only thing we havent done is stick by a coach. We have swapped, we have dealt, we have let anything of promise go.

But the one thing we havent tried is to stick with what we got. People keep saying average, average. On a global scale tell me Atalanta are not average. But they play amazing football. Its about getting things to click, an identity and plan. We should just stick with what we got. Hakan can go just
on the 11th May, 2019 at 1:10am
@maldini heir
I can't bring myself to argue with you anymore. i would take Rossi, Panucci, Galli, Eranio, Evani, Simone and Massaro over anyone of this team!
I'm done with you I can get more sense from a brick wall
on the 9th May, 2019 at 6:07pm
@Rian, I don’t think that even Jube would be able to steamroll Eitracht Frankfurt. LOL

Nice try inter fan.

on the 9th May, 2019 at 7:50am
@rian huh thanks for making me realize how Spurs edged the other awful Milan team to make it to CL final! But we all know Inter had they progressed would of went out in 1st round.
Now with ACM they can’t and don’t deserve to get in CL. I’m sorry but it would be an embarrassment, even tho we want it, it’s not just. Listen I don’t know what’ll it take for ACM to get back to past glory’s. Seems like every things been tried, and still in limbo. I just know...Gattuso got to go... Start over again.
on the 9th May, 2019 at 4:47am
My biggest issue with Gattuso is that he doesn't let the team play with freedom. The whole thing is so rigid. Players seem so uncomfortable moving the ball. If we qualify for the Champions League then those tactics will have worked. If we don't I'd be interested to see what another manager could do with these players. I wouldn't be surprised if a manager like Gasperini or Sarri got more out of this squad.
on the 9th May, 2019 at 1:48am
@ Jeremy Every side is AVERAGE because real football is not like a computer game. The great Milan sides had lots of very AVERAGE players including Rossi, Panucci, Galli, Eranio, Evani, Simone and Massaro. Most of these players would be playing in Serie B if they were around today having been loaned out numerous times to the point that their careers would have gone off the rails. The big difference today is the constant disruption which prevents sides establishing a rhythm.
on the 9th May, 2019 at 1:46am
@Maldini heir
Stop moaning! Great effort liverpool. Yes every single 1 of the players you called AVERAGE is AVERAGE. Of that was their starting 11 all season they would have gone out in the group stages. A freak night. Barca contributed by being shocking! Open your eyes, Milan have played 2 or 3 great games this season with this bunch but aside that they have been AVERAGE. If liverpool field this team game after game believe me the AVERAGE will shine. Milan have nothing to play against the best
on the 8th May, 2019 at 5:10pm
Come on, give Inter a break. They didn’t do that bad in the UCL group of death. They held Barca fairly well. It’s a shame indeed that Inter failed to reach knock out stage after 6 points advantage over Spurs but they did have the same point as them and only lost due to away goal rule. Now both Barca & Spurs reach the semifinal. I don’t think that even Jube would be able to steamroll that hell of a group.
Hopefully Inter will do better next year and at least reach the knock out stage.
on the 8th May, 2019 at 5:06pm

Did you just call Piatek and Paqueta not to perform? They players who value has doubled within 3 month?...
on the 8th May, 2019 at 5:05pm
Shame to see what was once such a great club that was packed with serious players and run so well from top to bottom become what it has - a laughing stock

They stumble from one disastrous season to the next, patched together with short-term players and plans

Some Milan fans need to waken up too, many of them in the "Italy needs the Milan teams in Europe again!" mindset

The Milan's don't belong in Europe ATM. They're recent records are far worse than the other failures representing the country
on the 8th May, 2019 at 12:19pm
So finally if i really want to blame someone for the mediocre season, I'd blame it on luck / injuries since the best creative player to offer balance on the left side went out injured (Bonnaventura). 2nd I blame it partially on Gattuso and mainly on the players who so far havent shown tendency to elevate their level. They are average, they were signed knowing as average with potential, and the best was on the potential. That potential didnt translate. You can blame Gattuso, i partially blame him
on the 8th May, 2019 at 12:08pm
Point is most of the problems are due to bad luck rather poor planning. Borini, Castallejo, Laxalt are all squad players signed to offer options off the bench and they are performing expectedly as squad members. The worrying fact is the stars that were supposed to carry the team that were/are not performing: Higuain, Suso, Piatek, Bakayoko (35m), Paqueta (not totally convinced yet but too early).
Gattuso is not at fault here. He is dealt a bad hand and trying to make the most of it.
on the 8th May, 2019 at 12:04pm
Strinic; Croatia's starting LB who was very effective in the WC Lost due to heart issue AFTER signing.
Biglia; was so good at Lazio. Came here and became less than average.
Hakan; prior to his suspension in Germany and signing with Milan, clubs like Bayern were after him. He came here and became average.
Kessie; i remember all top clubs in Italy were after him. He still shows flashes of brilliance but inconsistent.
No need to talk about Bonucci, he was signed as a worldclass defender.
on the 8th May, 2019 at 12:00pm
Milan's main problem is average players and bad luck, but a fundamental problem is the Academy. In 5 years, Donna Calabria and Cutrone have made it to the first team. And Cutrone and Calabria are really average, good squad players to have - objectively speaking
Bad luck in terms of signings; no one doubted Caldara's and Conti's quality prior to joining Milan. Both went down to serious injuries and i doubt they'll recover.
on the 8th May, 2019 at 11:56am
What is there to say that others havent, we desperately need players with heart and passion to play for milan especially a pacy left winger (yet we sold El shaarawy) and a creative ball playing central midfielder (yet we sold Locatelli, Cristante & Saponara). None of these are world class but they would fill the holes in this team enough to finish top4 in this mediocre league. Cutrone wil go this summer & in a season/2 when we sell Piątek we wil then need a striker & it wil be the same again.
on the 8th May, 2019 at 10:44am
Milan & Roma, with their current teams, may as well focus more in long term projects (if they have any). Let's face it, Gattuso sucks as coach, Roma's future coach is still in limbo. Even IF they manage to finish in TOP 4, they won't do much in UCL. Just adding another disgrace for Italian football.

PS: I'm just being realistic Romanista #sigh
on the 8th May, 2019 at 9:26am
Terrible transfers & management have brought us here,not Gattuso.Best example is last season,we abandoned the search for a left-winger to sign Bonucci,Biglia,Kalinic.Positions that were already covered with Romagnoli,Musacchio,Locatelli,Sosa,Bacca,Lapadula.Losing Kucka & Pasalic was also a blow.The way we dealt with youngsters like Shaarawy,Saponara,Cristante was just terrible.I have faith in Leo & Maldini to fix this but without CL money it won't be easy.
on the 8th May, 2019 at 9:19am
PS I don't normally criticise refs (because there's no point) but it's noticeable that Italian refs are doing nothing for the development of the game. They go easy on defenders for smashing into the back of creative players and then book the creative player for no reason (I'm talking about the first booking). Cutrone has consistently had decisions go against him. Not good for the development of the game.
on the 8th May, 2019 at 1:10am
Sassuolo and ensured that they had an obligation to buy just to be sure. So new MF is needed since Mauri's barely played 5 minutes in 5 seasons. We need pace, desperately. So a LW wouldn't go a miss. And we need a leader - any chance of re-signing Thiago Silva?
on the 8th May, 2019 at 1:08am
serving player next season when Abate, the one player who does play with heart, is released. Marvellous. It's not clear what we can do with this side. They may stumble into the Champions League and this might give them the boost they need. In terms of changes we're unlikely to see many. Bakayoko looks set to leave (I do love these loan signings, they cause maximum disruption). That means we need another MF. If only we had a MF who could score in the big games, Oh wait, no, we loaned him to
on the 8th May, 2019 at 1:06am
to sell 8 years ago. The main reason was because he displays a constant state of lethargy which was again on display when he, one of the most experienced players on the pitch, played 5 Bologna players onside for the goal. I've seen Zapata mark Messi out of the game so it's not ability. It's concentration and attitude. He said it himself - when he concentrates nobody can get passed him. Which begs the question - why the hell isn't concentrating more? But Zapata it seems will become our longest
on the 8th May, 2019 at 1:01am
become a big disappointment if they sign for Milan. The past few weeks have shown that the team lacks leadership. Our captain is 24 years old and having signed in 2015 he's one of our longest serving players. 18 of the first team squad arrived after him - 18. I've talked about the transfer stats but Milan have been in constant state of flux for 8 years. It's no wonder they lack leadership and direction. One our longest serving players is Zapata who remarkably was the one player I wanted Milan
on the 8th May, 2019 at 12:59am
What does it take to be a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious side?

Well Liverpool are in the Champions League final with such greats as Henderson, Robertson, Milner and Origi. Had these players signed for Milan they'd be written off as AVERAGE. Had these players signed for Milan they'd probably be AVERAGE. That's because every player that plays for Milan plays AVERAGE. No player signs for Milan and plays at a higher level. That means all of the players out there that we're drooling over will
on the 8th May, 2019 at 12:54am
Of the coaches we had in these dark years,Miha was my favorite and I regret losing him.I have my concerns regarding Gattuso tactically but I refuse to completely blame him for Milan's troubles.The squad is lacking in key areas namely the left flank,where the wingers and left-back rarely contribute offensively,and a quality offensive midfielder. We need the CL at all costs to invest in the summer. I also hope we get to play with 2 strikers again.
on the 8th May, 2019 at 12:26am
I am not sure where Milan should go from here. The character of the squad appears to be lacking, there are question marks over Gattuso's place as coach, and even at the directorial level, the transfer strategy has not been altogether successful.

The revolving-door policy certainly needs to end, but that leads us back to the question of the current squad's attitude, and Gattuso's ability to shape them...
on the 7th May, 2019 at 7:28pm

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