After a summer of optimism, with a new Coach, a host of promising young players and legend Zvonimir Boban returning to join former teammate Paolo Maldini in the sporting side of the project, that has turned to doom and gloom within five games. A record of two wins and three losses, with just three goals scored (two of which were penalties), and five conceded, is not pretty reading for the long-suffering fans of the 18-time Scudetto winners.
However, it's not just the results which are making Milan fans miserable, it's the poor performances on the field.
Last season, legendary player Gennaro Gattuso was let go because it was suggested the playing style was not in keeping with the traditions of the seven times European champions. His replacement was Marco Giampaolo, a man who cut his teeth at Empoli and Sampdoria. The Swiss born tactician had developed a reputation for his teams playing an entertaining style of football, using a mostly 4-3-1-2 formation. His teams pressed the opposition, moved the ball quickly and were generally a joy to watch.
Fast forward a few months later and all and sundry are asking, where are those performances? Last night's loss to Torino was a classic example of what is both good and bad with the Diavolo under Giampaolo.
Truthfully, the first half in Piedmont was the best 45 minutes of football that Milan played so far this season. They played at least 10 yards higher up the pitch, pinned back the Granata full-backs and midfielders, won back possession in short time and most importantly created chances. Just before the 20th minute mark, new recruit Rafael Leao won his team a penalty, after being shoved by Torino full-back Lorenzo De Silvestri. Krzysztof Piatek stepped up to give the away side the lead and all seemed well in the Milan camp.
There were more good things to come (I am getting to the bad soon enough), as a Suso cross took a deflection off the back-heel of Lyanco and Leao almost opened his Milan account with a header, but Salvatore Sirigu made a world-class save! Was that a sign of things to come?
The answer is most definitely not. Giampaolo made a horrendous mistake just after the hour mark that affected the game.
He took off the lively Leao and brought on Giacomo Bonaventura. Now, it's no problem bringing back Jack, but why on earth did he take off the Portuguese forward who was looking dangerous all game@ He made the same mind boggling mistake in the Derby della Madonnina, again, when the 20-year old was looking dangerous. Why was Suso, whose performance was frustrating yet again, not the one to go off?
It came as no surprise that Toro saw that substitution as a negative one from Giampaolo and went even further on the offensive, scoring twice within just five minutes through Andrea Belotti to bring home the points.
The away side did have two gilt-edge chances to score late on through Kessie and Piatek, but one missed from six yards and the other nodded straight at Salvatore Sirigu. Despite that, Giampaolo's in-game management was poor and that negative vibe he sent out was not why he was brought to the club. He only used two of his available subs as well, which interestingly was one more than he utilised in the Derby. Someone needs to tell him he is allowed three!
Whenever a team is not performing well, the responsibility not only lies with the manager, but the CEO, the sporting director, the entire coaching staff and the players. Ivan Gazidis, Maldini, Boban etc all have to continue working to turn this situation around and soon.
This week, the Diavolo and their city rivals Inter announced plans for a brand-new stadium, that is scheduled to open in 2022. Will Milan get their act together by then? The eyes of the world are watching to see if this legendary club can make new memories, otherwise Milan fans may just be confined to the great ones of the past which will make the misery that much harder to take.