Sunday September 29 2019
Maldini: 'Players suffered under pressure'

Milan director Paolo Maldini defended Marco Giampaolo and felt the pressure of San Siro got to the players. “The quality of football is unsatisfactory.”

The Rossoneri were flattened 3-1 at home by Fiorentina, with Mateo Musacchio sent off and Federico Chiesa’s penalty saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

“We chose the Coach, we will defend him, it is right to give him some time. We knew there were some problems that we’d run into, although obviously we didn’t expect to lose four of the first six games, but also the quality of the football is unsatisfactory,” Maldini told Sky Sport Italia.

“Right now, it might look like a tunnel with no light, but as our Coach said, the way out is with hard work. We knew that relying on a young squad, during the period when we are waiting for the Coach to really become a leadership figure, there could be a risk of the pressure getting to them.

“Of course, it is the fault of the players, the club, the Coach, everyone. Last season, we finished one point off the Champions League places and they always supported us.

“I think the fans were right this evening to protest. The responsibility is to be shared around, otherwise it becomes too much of a burden to bear.

“We are only six rounds in, all is not lost. We know that in football, situations can turn rapidly. The worrying thing is that we saw such a downturn in performance from the Torino game on Thursday.

“It’s strange, because we played very well during pre-season and showed good organisation. There started to be some traffic in the central area of the field, causing some tactical problems and difficulty in moving the ball around.”

Milan had started with a 4-3-1-2 formation, but over the last two games switched to 4-3-3.

“Giampaolo has worked with many systems and the day we first met, we discussed the variables, that football cannot be reduced to just numbers and shapes. You must be ready to realise where we can change and find a way around the obstacles. That isn’t just for the Coach, but also the players, because they might be young, but they do have some experience.”

Maldini believes he has found a reason for why Milan played so well for an hour against Torino on Thursday and so badly this evening with Fiorentina.

“Explaining such a big setback in performance over three days is difficult, unless you realise that was played in Turin and this is at San Siro.

“This is a very prestigious jersey with a lot of history behind it and some of the players are very young, not yet able to handle the comparison with the teams of the past. That can be difficult.

“These are good lads and if anything, we sometimes expect a more determined reaction from some of them. As I said, we knew that building a young, inexperienced and talented team would run this sort of risk.”

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