Monday October 21 2019
Responsibility is on Milan players

There were flashes of genuine improvement for Milan, even from their most-maligned players, but Vijay Rahaman ultimately saw the old problems emerge.

Stefano Pioli's birthday coincided with his first match in charge of Milan, but two of his former players had a nasty surprise in store when scoring in Lecce’s 2-2 draw.

Unfortunately, the same issues reared their head again for the Rossoneri, as the night started off well, but then they collapsed under even the tiniest pressure, so this is where the players’ mentality has to be questioned.

To be fair, the home team started off like a freight train with Rafael Leao, who was given the starting role at the centre of the attacking trio ahead of Krzysztof Piatek, having a couple of very good chances early on. He was flanked by the much-maligned duo of Suso and Hakan Calhanoglu, and it was the latter that got the party started at San Siro.

The Turk collected a pass from Lucas Biglia (basically the only good thing the Argentine did on Sunday night), swivelled and hit a stunning strike into the upper part of the Lecce goal. His celebration hinted a man showing a sense of relief as much as joy in the goal. As dominant as the hosts were, they did not turn that superiority into a second goal and Lecce must have gained a measure of confidence as they headed to the interval just a single goal behind.

Fabio Liverani is no stranger to overcoming the odds, as he took over the Salento club just over two years ago, when they were struggling in Serie C and led them to consecutive promotions back up to the top flight. The former central midfielder employed a diamond shaped 4-3-1-2 formation, which interestingly is what the now former Milan manager Marco Giampaolo was well known for favouring. 

He made a telling change at the start of the second half, as he brought on Diego Farias for fellow striker Filippo Falco, and it was the Brazilian's cross that earned the Southerners a penalty after Milan's right-back Andrea Conti’s outstretched arm caught the ball. Khouma Babacar's effort was brilliantly saved by Gigio Donnarumma, but the Senegalese striker who played under Pioli at Fiorentina followed up to bundle home the rebound, much to the disappointment of the home crowd.

It seemed like a night for vindication, so when Calhanoglu showed another wonderful piece of skill and initiative, it was to set up substitute Krzysztof Piatek for his first goal from open play this season.

Surely, with just 10 minutes to go the points were safe for the seven-time European champions, right?

That killer instinct that made the club win all those European Cups and a plethora of other trophies in its illustrious history has seemingly disappeared over the last decade or so. Into stoppage time and another one of Pioli's former charges, Marco Calderoni, drove his laces through the ball and gave the visitors a point. Two of his former players had ruined Pioli's debut match on his birthday.

Milan showed flashes of improvement, but too easily they petered out into the usual problems. As soon as the tempo and intensity drop, they become predictable in attack and resort to ball-watching in defence. There comes a time when the Coach can only do so much and the players simply have to step up.

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Have your say...
is that the list of players to sell?
on the 26th October, 2019 at 2:36pm
Gigio - Conti,Caldara,Romagnoli,Theo - Kessie,Bennacer,Paqueta -
Calhanogli - Piątek,Leao.
on the 26th October, 2019 at 12:19am
Maldinis heir, Suso peaked. I beleieve suso peaked. thats why he topped the assists. he had a 2 month peak of hes carreer. Assisting vs terrible teams. He had 1 assist vs napoli and 2 vs atalanta. in the first two months, very good suso. But then he had 3 assists vs relegation bound chievo to pad hes stats. good if he had continued. he then went 6 months with 2 assists 1 goal, vs parma, genoa and udine. then in the lst month 2 goals and 1 assist with viola being the only noteworthy opponent.
on the 22nd October, 2019 at 3:23pm
Maldinis Heir, sorry, you can throw any striker at milan at me and the argument is irrelevant. Ive said it numerous times. Milan are two sides. 10 outfield players playing for togehter, and a one man side of 1 player in the striker feeding off scraps. We are never built do our strikers strengts. Bacca, Kalinic, Piatek etc etc. So Piatek not scoring is down to us not playing to hes strengts. He hardly gets the ball in a dangerous position.
on the 22nd October, 2019 at 3:10pm
Maldinis Heir, sorry, you can throw any striker at milan at me and the argument is irrelevant. Ive said it numerous times. Milan are two sides. 10 outfield players playing for togehter, and a one man side of 1 player in the striker feeding off scraps. We are never built do our strikers strengts. Bacca, Kalinic, Piatek etc etc. So Piatek not scoring is down to us not playing to hes strengts. He hardly gets the ball in a dangerous position.
on the 22nd October, 2019 at 3:10pm
@Maldini's Heir. Indeed, they have been popular with our last 4 managers. And except for last year we've also not achieved our goals. My eyes don't lie, I don't think yours do either. Lecce might have been Calhanoglu's best game in red and black to date. So suddenly he's justified? It's not fantasy football to create a lineup of players that are on the team. Do you see Mbappe in there? Good players would have taken "the silent treatment" in stride. Past Milan sides have dealt with the same.
on the 22nd October, 2019 at 1:08pm
@ AC Milan Fan Sure, fill your boots. We can play fantasy football. Personally my team would be the one I mentioned in my previous posts. But back in the real world we need to support the players that actually play. That means probably Suso and Çalhanoğlu who seem to popular with our last (count it) 4 managers. So they must be doing something right. Milan probably would've won the game had the home fans not given them the silent treatment because of some stupid protest.
on the 22nd October, 2019 at 11:57am
@ mario milanista Yes Suso topped the assists charts once. So the question is why is he not topping the charts now? Same with Piątek. Same with Kessie. Same with every single player who is not playing the best football of their career right now. I'm sick of talking about how this player is not good enough and that player is not good enough, And even when they were once good enough, they're no longer good enough. The only problem that needs fixing is how to get the most of these players.
on the 22nd October, 2019 at 11:42am
i have to make two corrections, we were never 2-0 up that should be when we were in the lead. and **Concieded***
on the 22nd October, 2019 at 2:19am
My crazy starting lineup L-R:

Theo, Romagnoli, Duarte, Calabria;
Jack, Bennacer, Kessie;
Rebic, Leao/Piatek, PAQUETA

Why not try Paqueta on the right of the front 3? He's naturally left footed and has a better right than Suso. He can also drop into the hole in the middle. If the only thing Pioli has over MG is the balls to play the new players, then we'll be better off.
on the 21st October, 2019 at 10:22pm
@Maldini's Heir. I bet Bennacer would have been just fine. I know they need some old heads for leadership, but Biglia just doesn't provide it. I think Jack could. Despite Calhanoglu's performance I think it's a one time thing. Suso was the usual. Yes mentality is important. So why not play the new players looking to make an impact? Calhanoglu and Suso are like tired old horses trying the same tricks. Every now and then they pull one off, but otherwise it's just jaded sadness.
on the 21st October, 2019 at 10:15pm
I know coaches make mistakes and in the case of Giampaolo have meltdowns but the players have been a problem.Hakan,Kessie,Biglia. Suso has peaked and limits us to one style of play but and needs to go. But he,along with Jack,Romagnoli,Bacca have performed well with different coaches.There is a lack of quality and we saw it when players like Delofeu and Bakayoko came in and looked like superstars.Losses of Milanisti like Cutrone,Cristante,Locatelli,Abate also hurt us.
on the 21st October, 2019 at 8:52pm
Milan however made it easy to stop suso, hes an ego player, everyone knows he will cut in and shoot even if he has a pass or cross on. So stop that u stop milan. It is milans own fault for not creating runners and options so that opponents have others to mark, creating space for suso to do what he does. A good team around suso will make suso look a decent player. Suso will never make a team good. And that is where we go wrong, we put responsibility on one without the right characteristics
on the 21st October, 2019 at 6:04pm
Keep in mind we consided a terribly stupid penalty. And a screamer of a shot. We did do well. Not enough in the end but we did do look good at times. Not controlling enough when 2-0 up. As for maldinis heir, prev post regarding susos assist. He topped those charts for like 6 months. All of the numbers came at start of season almost, all of them. He was terrible once everyone focused in on stopping him.
on the 21st October, 2019 at 6:00pm
Fullbacks played higher up the pitch, automatically put us in a better spot going forward. Paqueta played around Suso creating opportunities for suso to do what he likes, cut inside and whatever end result he decideds to do. Suso doesnt pass enough but yesterday Pioli created alot of runners around suso so he had no other option. Really really well done Pioli. The late goal was a stunner. UL but otherwise a decent game from milan. Milan did put bodies forward. Its all you need to do.
on the 21st October, 2019 at 5:56pm
Same story as Gattuso drawing to Lecce late in the game. Hakan showed up that game for Gattuso, and now also for Pioli, but i will promise you all, he is a false messiah. Take nothing away from goal and assist, he did do brilliantly. Just every other decision he made and passes was poor almost. But credit where credit is due, he one brilliantly on two occasions. Suso wasnt great but best i seen him in a long time. Pioli did several things right.
on the 21st October, 2019 at 5:52pm
Well you can’t such scrape 11 players or even make whole sale changes. Part of a coaches job is to build up his squads mentality also... they just need a couple of wins to get going... I think Pioli is better then Giampaolo.. although I would start Bennacer over Biglia all day... Biglia is a back up at best now...
on the 21st October, 2019 at 1:57pm
@ Milan Fan Agreed. Not helped by their own fans giving them the silent treatment. The fans really are not helping. Sure the players have to perform. But the fans have to help give a home advantage rather than smother it. But some of the players really are struggling to cope. Especially Biglia. This is a player who has played in a World Cup final, he's played in over 150 Serie A games and has over 500 senior caps, and he looks terrified.
on the 21st October, 2019 at 1:20pm
I'm beginning to feel sorry for any coach willing to take on this job with Milan. How much is actually down to the coach when we easily should have scored 2/3 goals in the first 25min. And for all his efforts in taking on defenders, which is something we have been missing, Leao just decided to leave his scoring boots at home. Kessie is probably our biggest liability in the final 3rd, Suso too predictable and just not offering much. For once Calha showed up. The lads need to wake up.
on the 21st October, 2019 at 12:29pm
I give this manager until xmas.
He talks the same rubbish as the last one; "Milan need to learn" they have been needing to learn since August!
Bored of the same excuses. The players are terrible and there is nonwhere to hide that reality.
on the 21st October, 2019 at 10:49am
Exactly. It's a mental problem abover all. They were scared to death in those final 10 minutes when Lecce desperately came at them and just couldn't clear their lines. A good, healthy club ride those minutes out easily, but every time Milan get into that situation, they break. They are scared to challenge the opponents. They're afraid to give away a penalty. They're afraid to press and close down players and that's what happened on Lecce's second goal.
on the 21st October, 2019 at 10:35am

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