Monday September 30 2019
No way back for this Milan

It’s difficult to see how Marco Giampaolo and Milan can recover from the abject defeat to Fiorentina, as Kaustubh Pandey analyses what went wrong.

In what was another harrowing night at San Siro, Marco Giampaolo’s Milan ambled to an embarrassing defeat against Vincenzo Montella’s Fiorentina. The 3-1 result, if anything, flattered the hosts.

La Viola came into the game after grabbing their first win in 18 rounds, beating struggling Sampdoria 2-1 in midweek. The Rossoneri lost to Torino on Thursday, but for an hour played their best football of the season, so maintained the same XI and 4-3-3 system, but with radically different results.

From the very first minute, it was clear that there was every chance Fiorentina would score two or three goals. La Viola resorted to man-to-man pressing when Milan had possession deeper in their own half. Franck Ribery and Federico Chiesa stuck close to Alessio Romagnoli and Mateo Musacchio in these situations, while Erick Pulgar and Gaetano Castrovilli marked deeper midfielders Franck Kessie and Ismael Bennacer.

As Milan came forward, Fiorentina dropped deeper. Chiesa and Ribery stayed close to Bennacer and Kessie and acted as two extra men in the Fiorentina midfield. The idea was to prevent Milan from building from the back and deny them any free passing lanes in midfield. Due to the Rossoneri’s tendency to rely on that one possession-based style, Fiorentina had an easy run on the break. Milan midfielders could hardly turn and pass to the forwards.

The possession was forced wide and while Rafael Leao impressed again, Fiorentina kept working hard to block passing lanes that led to him. And as soon as Ribery or Chiesa got possession in the advanced midfield areas, the brains of the Rossoneri defence were wracked with confusion. Romagnoli and Musacchio struggled to know where to go when playing against two False Nines. Even Pulgar and Castrovilli popped up in unexpected positions.

The first goal typified everything about the game - Calhanoglu lost the ball and handed a poor pass straight at Ribery. The Frenchman, who decided to turn into a 25-year-old speedy winger again, danced past a couple of defenders and had his shot saved by Gigio Donnarumma. Just when Chiesa was about to pick up the loose ball, Bennacer tripped the Italian to hand Fiorentina the penalty.

Pulgar slotted the spot-kick away and that played the game into Fiorentina’s hands. Giampaolo’s inability to make small changes to his system despite evidently being controlled at home by Fiorentina saw Milan face the same old issues - they couldn’t do much with possession. Ribery and Chiesa were on the centre-backs and deeper midfielders every time they decided to play it out to Calhanoglu or Leao.

The creation came from wide and Leao did give the Fiorentina backline problems, but Milan couldn’t find the final pass or didn’t make the runs into the box to meet his pull-backs. La Viola just seemed to have extra numbers in every position and were working harder than Milan.

At the start of the second half, Rade Krunic was brought on for Kessie. That left many surprised, as Calhanoglu was still on the pitch. From here on, San Siro looked almost lifeless. It was as if they had resigned to losing the game.

Musacchio’s sending off was deserved. The Argentine’s tackle on Ribery could have broken the former Bayern Munich man’s leg. It was careless, reckless and out of control. That left Milan in an even bigger lurch. From there on, the cameras kept zooming in on a seemingly dazed Giampaolo. It was clear that the Rossoneri were dead and buried.

Giampaolo went for a 4-4-1 shape with Leao up front, as Leo Duarte came on for Krzysztof Piatek. But the life was sucked out of the Milan players already. The fight that was often seen under Rino Gattuso was missing when it was needed the most. It seemed as though the players had given up.

Castrovilli got Fiorentina’s second and his first in Serie A. He also won a penalty soon after, but Chiesa failed to put it away as Donnarumma saved it well. But Ribery sealed Milan’s fate as Fiorentina caught the Rossoneri on the break and Chiesa set-up his French teammate, who slammed it into the bottom corner after a shimmy put two Milan defenders to bed.

While Leao’s sensational solo goal made it 3-1, that was all it was - a solo goal. He seemed like the only person who wanted to do something for the manager. The rest refused to work hard or track back. Leao could well have sealed his position as the central striker for the next game.

The San Siro crowd giving Ribery a standing ovation was probably the moment of the day - another reminder of how far Il Diavolo have fallen. For a vast majority of the second half, all you could hear was insulting chants aimed at their own players and the ultras packing away their banners to leave.

It remains to be seen whether this is the final nail in Giampaolo’s coffin, but the players don’t seem to be following any of their tactician’s orders or putting up a fight. When that happens, there’s only one solution.

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Have your say...
Make no mistake tho, when i say sack giampaolo this is purely anger and dissappointment at the state of the club, its not even all hes fault. And there is no rational thought process gone into it, i just want to see the man punished for starting hakan and suso. Who actively destroy all positivity going forward, they are so slow, and lack so much quality.
on the 7th October, 2019 at 11:17pm
Giampaolo looks to be sacked for hes poor choices in personel, and rightly so. He seems to be the first manager to realise using Bonaventura on the wing will get you chances. THIS is the saddest thing, he found this out but at too late a time, bona sturggling with fitness too. the sack has to happen, because suso and hakan always starting. sad we wont see bonaventura on the wing under any other manager i dont think, and milan will suffer greatly because of it.
on the 7th October, 2019 at 11:02pm
MG made the changes at half time he should have started with! Never a penalty against Reina, it was justice that he saved it. I like Leao. MG is either stubborn or stupid. Can he not see which players make a difference and which players do nothing?
on the 5th October, 2019 at 10:24pm
Jack is the source of all good, first half. Second half helped by Paqueta and Leao, milan look like a capable side going forward. All this said, we should sack Giampaolo. I know we won and it was actually an entertaining match (2nd half) for once. But he started Suso and Hakan. He then took out Piatek. I dont think suso has passed the ball to a striker in the last to years. How is piatek supposed to do anything when only one who passes him the ball is jack. GP suso hakan out. Jack, paq, leao in.
on the 5th October, 2019 at 9:56pm
If bonaventura plays on the wing tonight, milan will win this game. 20.48
on the 5th October, 2019 at 7:48pm
Chanaloglu and Suso start! No place for Paqueta, Bennacer or Leao!? Is this guy for real?
on the 5th October, 2019 at 6:41pm
@a Varsavia
Well thats a terrible idea. I mean Maldini heir was adamant all Milan needed was a LW, if we sell suso and the other numpty we will need 3 players!
I must congratulate you though. How in this whole team you only see these 2 as a problem. I see rubbish from top to bottom.
on the 5th October, 2019 at 2:09pm
Please sell Suso ASAP, preferably in January.
Same to Calhanoglu.
So miserable players.
on the 5th October, 2019 at 10:08am
The bit i can't understand is why we sacked Gattuso to bring in this cluesless numpty. I mean Gattuso wasn't great but he was better than this. Gattuso at least got the players going, I mean sack a man for the a conte or sarri but to sack him and bring in someone that was always going to be worse makes no sense. It's like we are always trying to trick the opposition by taking a manager that 'could be' great, how about we get a manager that is actually great and start from there.
on the 4th October, 2019 at 8:47pm
@Maldini's heir: I would have loved Conte, or Sarri, or Guardiola, etc., but I think the problem is no top coach wants to drink from the poisoned chalice that Milan has become. Yes, Gattuso took us to 1 pt from the CL, but given your own argument about the right coach was our 1 pt miss due more to Inter NOT having the right man over us having played well under Gattuso? Look at Inter now. MG may in the end not be it, but neither was Gattuso. The form we're seeing now is the same from Feb-Apr.
on the 3rd October, 2019 at 2:30pm
the only way to fix Milan is let milan demote to Serie B, start from the scratch. when milan drop to serie B most of the player would leave Milan. and only True player with soul and Hearts Would remain...most of milan player dont have heart and soul to play for milan.
on the 3rd October, 2019 at 12:55pm
MG has to play with a trequartista, it serves two purposes, a) link between midfield and striker b) prevents Piatek from being isolated. Paqueta should be that man, although Bonaventura could do it too. Either his favoured 4312 or even better 4231:

Conti Duarte Romagnoli Hernandez
Kessie Bennacer Bonaventura
Piatek Leao

Calabria Duarte Romagnoli Hernandez
Kessie Bennacer
Suso Paqueta Rebic
on the 2nd October, 2019 at 10:35pm
Guys, watching Milan play I throw up. Is it normal?
on the 2nd October, 2019 at 1:11pm
This shows how good Gattuso was, the football may not looks beautiful but it workded, it wasnt broken. Never listen to playstation fans.
on the 2nd October, 2019 at 8:50am
Folks, Cutrone is gone. Let's move on. MG just needs the balls to bench Suso, Calhanoglu and Musacchio. Maybe even Piatek. At this point he has got nothing to lose.
on the 2nd October, 2019 at 12:25am
What I witnessed was a disgrace besides Leao. That kid decided to play his own game in the last 20mins & look at what he did. Bennacer played dmf at empoli & they got relegated. He played cmf for Algeria & got player of the tournament. So Mr Bean decides to play him dmf. Where's paqueta? Too Brasilian? Wtf does that mean? He starts at #10 for me. Why take Kessie off? Next game Dona. Calab. Duarte. Roma. Theo. Kessie. Krunic. Bennacer. Bona. Paqueta. Leao
on the 1st October, 2019 at 10:33pm
Chelsea his team went from 1st to 10th. This is why the Milan directors this summer should've focused on finding the best possible manager (e.g. Conte) rather than signing a load of players which were never going to add much by way of quality to what we already had. Otherwise we can forget it. None of this is to say that Giampaolo might not be fired by Milan and move to some other club where he'll work wonders. But as things stand it's quite obvious that things simply aren't working for him.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 10:32pm
So we haven't finished in the top 4. It's that simple. The right manager makes all of the difference. Man Utd went from 1st under Ferguson to 7th under Moyes. Chelsea went from 1st to 10th to 1st to 5th in 4 seasons with pretty much the same squad. Roma went from 6th to 2nd under Rudi Garcia. Lazio went from 9th to 3rd under Pioli. Juve went from 7th to an unbeaten 1st under Conte. The right manager in the right conditions changes everything. Even Mourinho, once he lost the dressing room at
on the 1st October, 2019 at 10:29pm
@ mario milanista I agree with nearly everything you've said particularly around the slow, backward and inaccurate passing. The thing about Cutrone was that he did everything quickly. It was all one and two touches. One thing people often overlooked was the number of assists he provided. He was actually the perfect foil for Piątek. I still think the biggest issue is we have not had a proper manager since Allegri. None of the other managers we've had have been in the top 4 managers in the league
on the 1st October, 2019 at 10:23pm
With a 4231, Kessie and Bennacer as holding mids; Paqueta in the whole; Rebuc Leaoa out wide and Paitek in the middle. Jack as a joker until he regains fitness. Why waste time with outdated 4312 and even 433. But ill pick 433 over 4312 as long as Suso is benched.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 8:40pm
Its not that bad with minir changes. Suso's place is the bench and Chala is back in Germany/Turkey.
Robust front 3 of Rebic/Leoa/Piatek with Castellejo and Jack as backup until he gains full fitness. Borini not to touch the field.
Midfield 3 of Kessie/Bennacer/Paqueta rotatable with Rade and Jack. Biglia in emergencies as a regista.
musachio, sometimes he plays like a God sometimes like trash. Duarte i cant judge him so give hima. Chance with Romagnoli, calabria and Theo.
Flat 433 or 4231.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 8:38pm
Milan is a freaking mess. Inter for the scudetto.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 6:58pm
The only thing MG is guilty of is playing the wrong players. I've been watching Suso and Hakan for 3 years and the former is good in spurts and the latter never good. Our 4-3-3 lineup left to right should be: Gigio; Theo, Romagnoli, Duarte, Calabria; Bennacer, Krunic, Kessie; Rebic, Leao, Paqueta. You guys see Leao's goal? Piatek can only dream of that. He missed TWO sitters. Paqueta needs to be unleashed further forward, and not in the midfield 3 with defensive duties (a liability).
on the 1st October, 2019 at 6:58pm
Piatek under gattuso atleast you saw milan attempt passes inbehind opponent defences. They lacked quality and we didnt score many but the intent was there. Has piatek had to run after one through ball this season? i dont think he as. Get bonaventura, Paqueta, bennacer in midfield. Suso and Hakan out of the team and suddenly you have a team a lot more capable of playing for each other. Its not a permanent solution but a very good start. Play to Piateks strengths please.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 5:11pm
Also Piatek, Kalinic, Bacca and Higuain, anyone. These are fantastic strikers. Everyone played better for other clubs because other clubs was built to their strenghts. Milan have 10 players and a seperate team, the striker. I have not seen a striker in unison with the team since Ibra. And is the reason why Menez (worst player ever) was the best striker we've had since. He never passed, he was hes own team, and then milan could roll the ball as they pleased elsewhe
on the 1st October, 2019 at 5:09pm
The reason for me, that gattuso was the right man to lead the team was the fact that he had had them for 2 seasons. Italians seem to give so many second chances but you could just feel Gattuso had had enough. I believe if gattuso would have stayed. Suso and Hakan would have been gone. End of the season he looked so defeated, he knew what he had, he knew what we knew. GP coming in giving all these awfuls another chance for the 5th time.. Crazy.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 5:06pm
Borini lacks so much quality. But why do you think all our coaches wants to play him. Cause he works for the team, noone else does. Bonaventura makes players around him better too but he was injured. Sadly borinis quality is so poor it negates any effect he has to play for others. A proper manager will not come because he would have seen what i have seen. No proper manager can change the quality of these players. Because what is needed is a change of culture.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 5:04pm
At other clubs players play for each other, they make each other better. To do this you need proper leaders, you need a few homegrown and you need players who care about the club. You need relible core players in the group. We dont have this, and we keep shipping the ones who can grow into it away. We have lost it all. Suso, Hakan, Casti, Kessie, Biglia doesnt seem to make others better. They just do their part. Cowardly.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 4:59pm
This is especially true in the midfield, all passes are unaccurate, always behind a teammate or just a weak pass. Hakan is the worst for this and teammats often lose the ball after recieving a difficult pass to control. A lot of this sounds like tactical issues stemming from poor managers i agree. But the fact that we've had 7-8 different managers without the players, or playstyle changing one bit, means the only option is the cowardice attitude at the heart of the team. Nobody dares anything
on the 1st October, 2019 at 4:53pm
RR was one of bundesligas best, Hakan too. At milan they look scared to pass the ball forward, in fact they never will pass the ball forward. Even when we are chasing the game. RR is positioned too deep on the pitch to be in a position to cross. So you take away all hes good at besides defending. Hakan is just, i dont know, lacking in quality. Hes passes lack quality, everything lacks quality. In fact, look at the passes milan make, no pass is ever ahead of a player, their always behind, always.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 4:49pm

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