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Tuesday October 8 2019
Milan stick or twist with Giampaolo?

Marco Giampaolo is already facing the Milan axe, but Emmet Gates doubts the alternatives like Luciano Spalletti and Stefano Pioli are any better.

As Franck Kessie casually placed the ball past Genoa goalkeeper Ionut Radu to give Milan the lead – and the win - last weekend, many believed this to be Marco Giampaolo’s saving grace. Judging from reports leading into the fixture, a defeat against Genoa would be Giampaolo’s last in charge of the Rossoneri.

But the Genoa victory has only seemingly given him a few more days of reprieve, with the latest news being that the club are trying to lure former Inter Coach Luciano Spalletti over to the red and black half of the city before swinging the hammer down on Giampaolo’s short-lived Milan career.

But should Milan be so hasty in getting rid of Giampaolo? Is Spalletti, now arguably light years away from his peak Roma days of the late ‘00s, really a better option? Other alternatives include Stefano Pioli, who seems a more realistic choice.

Giampaolo hasn’t been helped by the Milan hierarchy, with whispers that there is a difference of philosophy as to how to bring the club back to the upper echelons of the Italian game.

Elliot Management believe that investing in younger players, who can then be developed and later sold for high transfer fees, is the more financially sound route. While sporting directors Paolo Maldini and Zvonimir Boban, in echoes of Alan Hansen’s infamous line in 1995, have gone on the record saying they’ve never seen a team of young players win the Champions League, or Serie A, before. Both Maldini and Boban believe in adding a sprinkling of experience to go alongside precocious talents.

This uncertainty hasn’t helped Giampaolo’s start to the season, yet it must also be said that the former Sampdoria Coach hasn’t helped himself either. Giampaolo, famed for his use of a 4-3-1-2 formation, doesn’t have the players to utilise the system. The Suso as a trequartista experiment was disastrous, as the Spanish player simply couldn’t interpret the role.

Giampaolo has been unsure of himself, following the dire opening day defeat to Udinese, he decided that the 4-3-1-2 wouldn’t work, and so reverted to Rino Gattuso’s 4-3-3 of last season. The decision to stick with the near immobile Lucas Biglia, light years away from the player he was at Lazio, in the central position of the midfield three, has done nothing for Milan except make them predictable and slow.

Undoubtedly however, his most head-scratching decisions have been to stick with Suso and Hakan Calhanoglu in the starting XI. Suso, especially, is fast running out of credit from his very good 2017-18 season, and it’s arguable that Calhanoglu has never had a single great performance since joining three summers ago. The pair, like Biglia, kill any dynamism in Milan’s play as they take an extra touch or five instead of moving the ball along.

Despite how truly awful Milan have been in the first month of the season, sacking Giampaolo isn’t the answer, at least not yet. Are the alternatives a genuinely better option? Giampaolo you feel is slowly understanding his best XI, and still needs more time.

In his first 10 games as Sampdoria Coach in 2016-17, they only won three games, and finished the season in 10th place. Whilst expectations for Milan are admittedly a lot higher, it shows that Giampaolo is a slow starter.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will Giampaolo’s Milan.

Have your say...
@AC Milan Fan
If you had been paying any attention instead of meaningless stats you would know Cutrone has been making mostly appearances off the bench and not getting much time to play. And if you take out penalties he has scored more from open play than Piatek. Stats don’t always tell the full story.
But I know you are a twitter fan with an agenda against Patrick so you can believe what you want. Your solution to our woes is to sign another 11 players next summer if we miss 4th. Kids smh
on the 10th October, 2019 at 9:50am
I think Leao and Bennacer have been fine signings. We haven't seen Rebic enough, but I think he'll also prove to be good. Theo has also been good. I see no real fault with the transfers this summer. Sorry, even Cutrone who has scored a whopping 1 goal in 7 apps for Wolves. Unfortunately MG was not the right coach. I think better coaches don't want a club that has to withdraw from Europe. This will change with CL qualification. Let's see what Pioli can do, and hope he sits Suso and Calhanoglu.
on the 9th October, 2019 at 4:31pm
A lot of fans are attacking Maldini & Boban.For me,a few mistakes in selling Cutrone,the unnecessary Rebic-Silva swap,& loss of Bakayoko.But it was the unexpected meltdown of the coach that was the problem.No one saw that coming.Having said that,Pioli's reign will tell a lot about Maldini & Boban.Giampaolo is gone becoz he didnt listen to them,didnt use the system they hired him for,didnt use the players they brought for him.Do they have the strength to make Pioli play the the way they want?
on the 9th October, 2019 at 12:25pm
@Forza :
legend status has nothing to do with the failure as board members, Nedved at Juve, Zanetti at Inter have been doing pretty good.
Totti was removed because he had disagreements with Pallotta & Monchi about the transfer policies.
Maldini & Boban are just not good at doing what they're doing now, simple as that and Milan's been in deeper turmoil than many think. Again, Rome wasn't built in a day but everyone at Milan doesn't have any patience.
on the 9th October, 2019 at 11:48am
Maldini never said he doesn't have faith in kids, he said you can't win trophies with "only" kids. And that's completely true. You can have 6 or 7 youngsters but those 3 or 4 veterans are needed at the very least if you want to win things. Modric, for example, would've raised this team to another level.

Hoping for the best now that it's all done with Pioli. It's not that late to push for that 4th place if everything really clicks together. Unlikely but you never know.
on the 9th October, 2019 at 11:11am
People, Piolo is not a caretaker. He is on a 2 year contract..
on the 9th October, 2019 at 10:57am
I am starting to realized something, a good move by ROMA by not including legends in the management.
Maldini are legend (not boban) but that doesn't meant they will be a good director or coach or manager outside the field. Totti are legend, but he doesn't have that something to be a director. That's why he learn from Monchi even if it doesn't work out. Totti will be back at Roma someday when he is ready, same goes for De Rossi, etc.

I think Maldini and Boban destroying Milan at the moment
on the 9th October, 2019 at 9:09am
Milan fans are crying for nothing but trash. So pathetic. LMAO.
on the 9th October, 2019 at 4:02am
dona/reina

conti/calab duarte/caldara roma theo/rr

kessie krunic

bona paq benna

leao
on the 9th October, 2019 at 12:48am
the article & all comments are spot on. id like to add. milan are getting pioli as he is the cheapest there is & his track record (not that mg's was much better) greatly lowers expectations. in other words, this season is a write off. my hopes 1/maldini-boban go quitely in the summer. 2/Luis Campos comes in as sd with his team https://www.calciomercato.com/en/news/the-wizard-of-capital-gains-who-is...
3/pioli out 4/ bielsa in 5/elliot sell to qatar. FORZA MILAN!
on the 9th October, 2019 at 12:39am
Sack him and he should take Maldini and Boban with him.
Why this man was appointed in the first place is even more stupid than the question heading this article.
Maldini and Boban Milan legends but underline that they should have retired from football and let the thinking and business be done by those who specialize in that.
You wouldn't put Berlusconi in Defence so we shouldn't put ex-players in these positions.
Selling cutrone and hiring this melon of a manager really says it all!!!
on the 8th October, 2019 at 11:07pm
Given Giampaolo was planning on playing 4312 his sale even makes less sense. The decision to sell Cutrone is unforgivable. For that reason Maldini and Boban should both be sacked. It's that serious. They've sold Milan's future captain. As Calabria said about him: "You were the perfect incarnation of what it means to be Milan." Unforgivable.
on the 8th October, 2019 at 9:57pm
the squad so they have to really add something. Most of the signings this summer didn't add anything. Milan could just as easily have kept Zapata (with his experience) rather than wasting time and money signing Duarte. Hernández hasn't really added much to Rodriguez. In fact looking at the league last season it was not the defence that cost Milan the Champions League spot. It was the attack. In that context Leão and Rebić were good signings. But the sale of Cutrone ripped the soul from the squad
on the 8th October, 2019 at 9:48pm
The issue with the sale of Cutrone is not that he was the next Messi. The issue is that he was the next Gattuso. He was the heart and soul of this team. How Maldini, of all people, failed to see that is beyond me. Milan could've had a base of Calabria, Romagnoli, Locatelli and Cutrone around which they slowly added world class players. Now given world class players don't come along by the bucketload, you need to add a few players at a time with really targeted signings. Every signing disrupts
on the 8th October, 2019 at 9:44pm
How can a player who won so many titles alongside such average players like Dida, Sebastian Rossi, Galli, N'Gotty, Luigi Sala, Tassotti, Pancaro, Favalli, Kaladze, Albertini, Ambrosini, Guglielminpietro, Evani, Fuser, Serginho, Tomasson, Massaro and Simone think that we need 11 superstars to win titles? It is a total myth that Milan were wall-to-wall superstars in the glory days. The secret to Milan's success, much like Juve's, was the stability of the squad. We had the same players for years.
on the 8th October, 2019 at 9:40pm
However, we need to talk about Maldini and Boban. If it's true that they are the one's driving the chaos in the team by trying to buy success then that is very concerning. As the writer noted, their statements about not winning things with kids were reminiscent of Alan Hanson except he didn't have the benefit of hindsight. Ferguson creating one of the most successful teams in history with kids. And so did Milan. How can a player who was given his debut at 16 not have faith in kids?
on the 8th October, 2019 at 9:32pm
Secondly Pioli is not a bad appointment. His Lazio is one of the examples I use for how a team can miraculously change form overnight. Lazio finished 9th in 13/14 and then jumped 6 places to 3rd in 14/15 under Pioli with pretty much the same squad except they added de Vrij and Parolo (I know, superstars). So he has form. He also has had some shockers including in the very next season at Lazio where the same team fell to 8th. Shows you how random football is. As a caretaker he's not a bad choice.
on the 8th October, 2019 at 9:28pm
First things first - yes it was the correct decision to fire Giampaolo. His Milan produced the worst performances I have ever seen. Even in pre-season friendlies it was bad. We drew with Cesena and Novara and only beat the Kosova side, Feronikeli,, 2:0. The wins we did get this season were painful viewing; scraping wins against two newly promoted teams and struggling v Genoa. We were fortunate to win all 3 of those and struggled to get any shots on goal needing penalties against Verona and Genoa
on the 8th October, 2019 at 9:22pm
Saw these results and the firing coming from a mile away. I always laughed the blog posts written on this site (plus those that commented and agreed) praising the hiring of MG as a huge step forward for Milan. He's a nobody that has never finished better than 7th. When Juve have Sarri, Inter have Conte and Napoli have Ancelotti...how on earth did you expect to compete?

And now Pioli,upper management continues to refuse to shell out the money to hire an established coach with winning credentials
on the 8th October, 2019 at 8:30pm
As others have said, blame falls on the shoulders of Maldini and Boban. The recent news report interview with them was very telling: expecting success "tomorrow"... Having a different vision from Elliott Management...

I am especially disappointed in Maldini, given the many years he has spent criticising the club from the outside.

At this point it is anyone's guess how the club can reverse its fortunes. Right now it seems very unlikely Milan will ever be a great club again.
on the 8th October, 2019 at 8:27pm
It seems MG has lost the dressing room. And this was assisted by the constant doubting of Maldini/Boban, his poor team selection, not tactics only. He seems an introvert as stated by several of his former players; questionable selections and poor results; the dressing room is gone. So he has to go. As for Pioli, i agree with most. He's unlikely to be a better coach but at this point Maldini/Boban are out of options. Either stick with a lameduck coach or hope for the best with Pioli.
on the 8th October, 2019 at 6:28pm
If the alternative is Pioli, then keep MG. BUT he needs to learn his best 11 immediately, which obviously requires dropping Suso, Hakan and Biglia. His persistence in continuing with them despite their clear failings, and especially in his unpreferred system, is what has me questioning him. If he sorts that out, though, then I feel we can still be hopeful of what we might see result on the pitch.
on the 8th October, 2019 at 6:06pm
What should happen is Maldini and Boban should resign with no severance package and then they get on hands and knees and recall Gattuso with an increase in Salary as a reminder that 2 good soccer players don't make 2 good directors
on the 8th October, 2019 at 5:57pm
meanwhile GP busy giving 5th chances to terrible players. But again, Bob and Mal can blame them selves, as they fired Gattuso who had come to that realisation already. A new coach will mean a 6th chance for the same players who failed the previous 5 times. Bonaventura wont be utilized on the wing which will hurt us more than any of you know. There is no way milan as a club benefit from any of this long term. We will have a new manager at some point next season too.
on the 8th October, 2019 at 4:52pm
Boban and Maldini i dont think lack a plan. i agree and i said the second we signed all that there are too many cooks in the kitchen, but if we sack GP now its not because of lack of a plan, rather the realisation GP is things unforseen. He might have been a decent pick of a coach, but maldini and boban will have seen how poor hakan and suso were and wanted them gone. GP came and wanted them to stay. Bob and Mal are angry they tried to fix the side but GP wont play any new signings.
on the 8th October, 2019 at 4:48pm
Shambles.
on the 8th October, 2019 at 4:41pm
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 8th October, 2019 at 4:39pm
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 8th October, 2019 at 4:39pm
The third to last paragraph starting with "Undoubtedly however..." is almost verbatim what I've been saying for the last 18 months. Whoever replaces MG, if he is replaced, needs to simply bench these players and have the guts to play Paqueta, Jack, Bennacer, and Leao in the same formation. Maybe even Duarte for Musacchio, who always seems on the verge of getting badly beat by his man or gets sent off all too frequently.
on the 8th October, 2019 at 4:31pm
Keep him. Firing a coach early in a season may provide a short term benefit but most often ends up in a step backwards. Management hires a coach and fires him only 7 games in. To me this tells me management just hired him for the sake of hiring him and never were convinced of him.No plan, no ideas, just probably woke up one morning and picked a name out of a hat. This club needs proper management to establish a foundation to build on and stay the course during the speed bumps.
on the 8th October, 2019 at 3:55pm

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