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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...
Take kessie;at atalanta he would drive forward, shoot, or recieve a pass and shoot. Atalanta had tempo and a lot of players attacking space. At milan, kessie drives the ball forward but is asked to play the final through ball. Its not his game. And hes the only one attacking space at times the rest of the team isnt moving forward. He has one option to pass to, the striker, and its not kessies game, he lacks this quality in the final pass. And ends up shooting from poor angles.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 4:45pm
When looking at what a player has done well for a previous club you need to look at what they are being asked to do for us. I think you are on to something and that is that very few if any of the players who come here seem to improve upon what they were. But we very often ask players who were brilliant at certain things at the clubs they come from to do something completely different at our club. It seems to be a recipie for failure.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 4:39pm
I think Gattuso took these players as far as he could. I dont think a proper manager will do much different. Suso of Genoa, or first seasons with milan is not the same suso as of today. The first season he had jack on opposite wing and both were fantastic. Then we unexplicably put jack in CM and Suso to bear all creativity forward and he developed into a very selfish, do-it-all without the ability to do it all mentality. Jack was decent at CM, he was FANTASTIC at LW. Easily our best player.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 4:36pm
“I believe in my ideas, but this Milan team looked like it turned up without ever having a training session together”.
If the coach has the audacity to publicly and squarely put the blame on his players then I’m not surprised of the Circus Milan.
Sounds like “don’t blame me, the whole team pulled off a mutiny”. Giampaolo, this is just utterly lame, unprofessional and a whole array of other shameful adjectives. You completely lost me and with this attitude you'll never be a leadership figure.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 4:19pm
@Maldini’s Heir
You are spot on. A truly elite coach could get the most out of these guys. It’s not a bad squad. If some fans want chopping and changing each season like we are all playing fifa then it’s time for those fans to start supporting PSG or City.
We sold our soul and dug our grave even deeper over summer, instead of building on a close final table position we pressed reset yet again. Formations become less important, a great coach can motivate any player to perform at a higher level
on the 1st October, 2019 at 4:18pm
“The players suffered under pressure” (Maldini).
“Tonight the pressure got to them” (Giampaolo).

Well my friends, you might be right about that but this wasn't exactly a CL final kinda match. If a player can’t handle a regular early season home game against a moderate team, not only he doesn’t deserve to wear a Milan jersey but he’s not fit to be a professional footballer.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 4:14pm
Agree with all of you.
This is maybe the worst farce I've been subject to as a Milan fan, and that's saying something. Selling Cutrone, like all of our other young talents over the years, was simply unacceptable.
This team has no heart. I feel almost nothing for them on the pitch.
Don't know how to fix this. We can try for a top coach but it's extremely unlikely.
Won't be surprised to see the likes of Gigio, Romagnoli, and Paqueta leave if this season continues as is.
Milan on it's death-bed.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 4:14pm
Its funny how most milan fans know before even the seasson starting. They sacked gattuso that was 1 point away from a Cl spot. Then replaced with a medicore sampdoria that placed way below. Then used 60M to bring in banechwarmers, then sold cutrone and silva, leaving no backup for a striker.
Played 4312 in the preassoson, and it clearly didnt work. After one game changed everything they learnd in preasson and wnt back to 433. Another painfull seasson coming. They need to do something drastic.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 12:38pm
to encourage patience. If they weren't prepared to back Cutrone why should we back them?
on the 1st October, 2019 at 11:48am
formation being 41212. So what are doing with all of those wide players. We have 3 sort of floaty players (Bonaventura, Çalhanoğlu and Paquetá). It's another mess. Too many of certain types of players and not enough of others. Forget about quality. If the squad is not internally consistent it doesn't matter. 23 Ronaldo's would be useless. The blame here falls on Boban and Maldini. Personally they lost me with the sale of Cutrone. And I'm sure many other Milan fans feel the same. So not a good
on the 1st October, 2019 at 11:48am
I've not mentioned the C word yet but Cutrone. His sale shows a worryingly lack of strategic thinking by everyone at the club. Not some kind of special strategic thinking mind. No. Simply the ability to count. We have only one CF: Piątek. We have no cover for him at all. Nobody. And apparently Giampaolo wanted to play 2 upfront. So who was No 2? Meanwhile we have give or take 7 wide players (Bonaventura, Çalhanoğlu, Castillejo, Suso, Borini, Leão and Rebić). This despite Giampaolo's preferred
on the 1st October, 2019 at 11:43am
and the thought that GATTUSO would improve this crock of shit is unbelievable... we expect people to work miracles because we expect to much from our glorious club... buts its time to wake up

our squad is WEAK, this will take a LONG time to fix -
on the 1st October, 2019 at 11:38am
then weve got SUSO (whose ONE TRICK is now known to ALL, the out wide cunt in on his left foot NO LONGER WORKS, that cross to the back post its awfully predictable and we suffer through his lack of pace!) then we move on to like like of Castilejo, Borini, Mussachio - all players who should not be playing on San Siro's turf...

Leao is the ONLY positive and hes direct - takes players on and delivers.

how players of this quality help the cause of Giampaolo is beyond me -
on the 1st October, 2019 at 11:37am
Us as Milan fans need to wake the F up.

firstly. LOOK AT OUR SQUAD. if youre telling me Giampaolo is expected to play blitering attacking football where we squeeze teams to death with posession and create 10000 chances PER MATCH with players on the pitch like CALHANOGLU (who looks scared every. single. game. hes ever graced that number 10 shirt) or PIATEK (whos touch is like a BRICK WALL and as soon as its played into him its LOST) CONT.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 11:33am
terribly in Europe. Serie A is not tactically superior. It's tactically inferior. Because it fails to get the most out of players. And Milan is the biggest culprit. Hundreds of players have had their careers wrecked by playing for Milan. And while that keeps happening we can change the whole squad around again and nothing will change.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 11:25am
In fact to a man nearly every single player has played better elsewhere. Musacchio played better for Villarreal (marking Messi out of a game), Conti, Caldara and Kessie all played better for Atalanta and had less injuries, Biglia played better for Lazio, Çalhanoğlu played better for Leverkusen (and was the leading free kick scorer in Europe), Castillejo played better for Villarreal and over and over again. People claim that it's because Serie A is "tactically superior". But Serie A teams do
on the 1st October, 2019 at 11:09am
not surprised with the crap foriegners they keep buying when theres good cheaper italians who playfor the shirt and are not just there for the money
on the 1st October, 2019 at 11:05am
@ mario milanista I'm not kidding myself. I'm simply saying that we need a proper manager and then we judge the players once they've played under a proper manager. Otherwise we just add the current mob to the literally hundreds of players who have failed at Milan over the past 8 years. Again nobody seems to question how Piątek was able to score more goals for Genoa than Milan. Indeed nobody seems to question how Suso played better for Genoa.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 11:03am
The directors & the fans should be patient rebuilding Milan from scratches, they've been crumbling during Berlusconi's final years. And they should STOP bragging about their past glories (unless they prefer being stuck in the past).
What Milan need right now are a coach who can build a team with youngsters & experienced players from scratches. Give him time to implement his plan, his strategy coz Rome wasn't built in a day.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 10:58am
@ Victor That was not mean. FT for god sake do something about people impersonating posters.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 10:57am
@Viktor, you're an idiot.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 10:12am
you know its bad when the trolls don't troll anymore
on the 1st October, 2019 at 8:33am
@Anonymous

"LOL Trash lovers are crying here"

And sad little kids hiding behind an anonymous nick trash talking other ppls team on a football site. Gfto
on the 1st October, 2019 at 7:26am
@Observer
Very well said.
on the 1st October, 2019 at 12:32am
Giampaolo: 4 defeats in 6 games, lost last 3 in a row; 2 goals from open play, didn’t play Paqueta against Fiorentina; took top scorer Piatek off, keeps Suso and Chanaloguo in team but has dropped Piatek and criticised Paqueta in public, allowed Cutrone to be sold
on the 30th September, 2019 at 10:00pm
This is getting very sad. Get rid of giampaolo already and hire proper coach who is used to manage big club like milan. Blanc, R.Garcia and Spalletti are available. Wenger, mourinho, allegri are bigger coaches but it’s unlikely they would come to milan in this state. Gattuso is a step back and lacking experience. Pioli & Ranieri are gamble, not long term solution. Sheva and other ex-players are just no-no, haven’t milan had enough with ex-players? Or they’re just looking for the next scapegoat?
on the 30th September, 2019 at 9:52pm
A horribly mismanaged club getting what they deserve.
on the 30th September, 2019 at 8:32pm
And even then we are far from it, the players who have this mindset needs out of the club entirely, they are poison. We need a TEAM. Calabria lacks a lot but that figth makes him my favorite on the pitch. Cutrone had it, you need those sprinkled in the mix. These overpaid primadonnas. Ill give any new player a shot, but we need some more italians. we need some more milanisti.
on the 30th September, 2019 at 6:25pm
LOL Trash lovers are crying here.
on the 30th September, 2019 at 5:57pm
Jack is our start to a solution. Build your team around jack, he doesnt lose the ball, he always finds hes teammate and he can take on a man and score. Bench anyone thats been corrupted. Get Paqueta, Leao, Bennacer on the ball, play Theo, Calabria even, they want to go forward! We need to think forward. I went to Inter v Milan Derby last year we lost 0-1 in the 90th, first time at San siro and i fell asleep in the stands.. We are truly that boring. Gattuso was the right man, the players need out
on the 30th September, 2019 at 4:52pm

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