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...
Last season and season before was as dreadful as this, this is just the toxicity in the team spreading. Fullbacks are always too deep when in possesion. Hakan, Biglia, Suso, RR, they always pass it backwards, thats the spine, they never take on a man, initiate a move with a forward thinking pass, its all cowards passing backwards, no initiative and its been like this for years, and its rubbed off on all. Jack only one who plays to make others better, and pass forward.
on the 30th September, 2019 at 4:49pm
I 100% think sacking gattuso was a mistake. I 100% know sacking GP wont improve anything. But that needs to happen because he refuses to play Bonaventura and Paqueta, also not benching Suso and Hakan, at this stage its grounds for dismissal. We were 1 point off CL last season. Thats a miracle, Maldini's heir is kidding himself thinking we had just a little to do to improve on that. Our core is rotten selfish players. Our key players dont improve teammates. They play for themselves.
on the 30th September, 2019 at 4:46pm
we need to stick as many new players in as possible and leave the old to rot, the old is broken, toxic, they turn everything they touch. NO ONE cand develop at milan cause our players are like poison. Bona may be the only player we can use from the old ones.
on the 30th September, 2019 at 4:44pm
New is definitively better. Because our old is broken. For my liking, Bennacer and Theo can get give away as many penalties as they want, I JUST NEED TO SEE SOMEONE PASS THE BALL FORWARD. and they do. What held us back yesterday was Hakan, and Suso. "old guard", they disrupt every play with lack of quality and slow possession/backwards passes. They have no creativity. GP should lose hes job for sticking with em. Get em out. if They play, you get sacked!
on the 30th September, 2019 at 4:43pm
It was sad to watch AC Milan play and I am not even a fan of AC Milan but a team with such great history and prestige play like they have been playing is sad. This is not a coaching issue. This is the lack of management and proper ownership. You can't get any great coach to manage this team because there is no plan from management to improve this team. Just awful. It must suck to me an AC Milan fan these days
on the 30th September, 2019 at 4:15pm
If this organization wants to get better tell Inter to re-hire Marco Branca so that he can help re-build your midfield. Also, Gattuso did nothing to deserve being let go (at least Milan played under him) and Maldini/Boban did nothing to deserve the postions that they are in. Giampaolo has never finished top 7 did Management ever ask why ??
on the 30th September, 2019 at 3:11pm
Good things need time. Let's give Giampaolo a time. As a Milan Fan, our problem is not the players. it's the tactical choice. The coach needs to drop Musacchio, Hakan, Biglia, and Suso. Please, and Please, Bring back Jack, Gabi, Maldini Jr, Redic and Crunic. If you decide to sack Giampalo, I think Gattuso will be good enough.
on the 30th September, 2019 at 2:43pm
The thing is, when you lose twice with a 4 3 3 and playing suso why do you play it a third time. After it all Im amazed that botch calhanoglu and suso have started every game. Every single player we've signed when played have looked a lot better then what we have. Was it a coincidence once suso came off we scored? While the game was already done, at least they looked more direct than to continue looking for suso. Sit suso next game or you're burying your own grave. Stubbornness. Use a 4 3 1 2
on the 30th September, 2019 at 2:36pm
Enough is enough, it's time to drop Suso and Hakan once and for all. Suso in particular is an absolute roadblock to allowing any coach to run a formation suited to the rest of the team, and Paqueta is beyond him anyway. Drop him, sell him, move on. Leao is so far the only bright spot of the season and should be brought in closer to goal than on the wing: 4-3-1-2 with Leao and Piatek/Rebic, Paqueta in the hole. I had confidence in MG leading into the season but now I fear I was mistaken.
on the 30th September, 2019 at 2:33pm
The shambles continues. Milan have been a disgrace for years now. Average coaches with average players on above average wages achieving below average results. How many times have Milan hit the reset button over the last 7 years? Frightening. The list of problems the club has is endless at the moment and I don't see it getting better anytime soon. This season already feels like a write off
on the 30th September, 2019 at 2:30pm
someone with experience. People say nobody would manage Milan. How is not having a job worse than managing one of the most successful teams of all time? Show some ambition (Maldini/Boban). Here's a list of currently available managers: Solari, Allegri, Spalletti, Mourinho, Blanc, Rudi Garcia, Pioli and Ranieri by way of examples. We need to try. At least try. For once give the players a decent manager and then we can work out which are any good and which re as bad as they're currently playing.
on the 30th September, 2019 at 2:06pm
wrong since? Well we appointed Giampaolo so that seems like the obvious place to start. How has Piątek gone from scoring 30 goals last season to being inept this? I've said numerous times on here that the manager makes all of the difference. If we swapped Giampaolo with Conte I guarantee the teams would be in the reverse positions. Conte can win the title with pretty much anybody. What has Giampaolo won? What has Giampaolo even done? So first things first we need a new manager fast. And we need
on the 30th September, 2019 at 1:52pm
This is the worst I've ever seen Milan play. It's not even the losing, it's the lack of shots. I need to see some shots. Like that's just a basic thing when you watch a game of football. That your team takes a shot on goal. Otherwise, what really is the point? Where to begin? Previous seasons I might have said a tweak here or there, but wow. The thing is this is pretty much the same squad that finished one point of the Champions League last season so surely that's the starting point. What's gone
on the 30th September, 2019 at 1:47pm
Calabria? Well, he fights.... thats all! Nothing else is to talk about his poor and absolutely limited performances week by week.In my view he has no authorization to play at that level (like others too...)
on the 30th September, 2019 at 12:27pm
Not to worry; Nesta, Shevchenko, Gullit, Oddo, Van Bommel, Yepes, Legrottaglie and a few more coaches I've probably forgotten are all available to each do a 6-month stint as Milan coach.

The ex-players mentioned above will cover 4 years and give the club time to prepare for when they're actually ready to do something properly for a change.
on the 30th September, 2019 at 12:01pm
Personally I am glad cutrone left l think it will do his career good to leave this rotten mess of a club. Roma and Donna can't be expected to stay either or Calabria for the good of their careers they all should go. I pray our next coach is ranieri or spalletti, we just need some solidity and a consistently successful top 6 standard coach. Shev is the last thing we need. But maybe gianpoulo can turn things around in next 2 games....
on the 30th September, 2019 at 11:31am
One word to describe Milan: TRASH.
on the 30th September, 2019 at 11:10am
There was interview (in Polish) with D. Kownacki (Fortuna Dusseldorf), very negative against Giampaolo (as former Sampdoria coach), mostly no contact at all with the players.
No surprise they are playing against manager in Milan, but putting Suso and Calhanoglu as starters and withdrawing Piatek to "defend" 0:1 is even bigger story of unapt man.
on the 30th September, 2019 at 11:04am
Giampaolo abandoning his system after one game was a huge mistake.I remember when Montella changed system for Bonucci & really struggled.In that case it was player power backed by the board but now,it's inexplicable.Are Maldini & Boban allowing the likes of Suso & Hakan to call the shots?We have Paqueta,Krunic,Jack,Maldini Jr who have played behind the striker so why are we sticking with Suso.Two strikers is a must as well.Piatek is struggling alone and Leao looked more dangerous closer to goal
on the 30th September, 2019 at 10:58am
This club has to do a lot of things:
1) sack Giampaolo;
2) sack Giampaolo;
3) sack Giampaolo;
4) sack Giampaolo;
5) .....
on the 30th September, 2019 at 10:53am
One thing Milan are suffering from for many years now is too many players out of position. Again last night Hakan and Leao (before his goal) were playing out of position. Hakan made both mistakes that lead to first and second goals and contributed nothing in attack.

Also, 4-3-3 is not suited to these players. The only reason Milan play it is because of Suso and that's ridiculous. Just put Suso on the bench and try your 4-3-1-2 with players in their natural positions for once.
on the 30th September, 2019 at 10:52am
If MG gets sacked the problems won’t go away. Who do we get? Which top coach even wants the job, it’s toxic. We will likely go back to Gattuso, who at least got this bunch to fight last season. As fans that’s all we can ask for, passion and hunger and determination. So he never should have left, especially after we finally got a fast LW in Leão now. What a farce. The circus rolls on, stopping to embarrass us fans whenever they can.
on the 30th September, 2019 at 9:49am
Sad state of affairs at Milan. Once great club now being beat by all. Change of management at football (coach) level and director level has not brought about any change. Something drastic needs to be done to save this once great club.
on the 30th September, 2019 at 9:43am
Total total embarrassment. Curva leaving before the final whistle sums it up. The club sold its soul with Cutrone.
In what universe is Hakan better and more deserving than Locatelli? I hate to dwell on the past but these were crucial mistakes. These are the heart and soul of the club, despite lacking some quality last night Calabria was the only one still trying and showing some fight. That’s something money just cannot buy. Soulless, and under the watch of Maldini and Boban too. Even sadder
on the 30th September, 2019 at 9:43am

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