Tuesday June 23 2020
Milan finally get moving

The 4-1 triumph in Lecce showed what Milan can do when they play with pace, intensity and movement off the ball, writes Vijay Rahaman.

For the first time in what seems an eternity, Milan were efficient in front of goal, but it took till the second half in Lecce for the solid play to reap its rewards.

For too long the club's players have been accused of being too static, too slow and even lacking in intensity. There have been many times that Milan should have moved the ball quicker in recent years, either when in possession or on the counter-attack. It had allowed their opponents to recover and block off any potential danger.

Playing in a 4-2-3-1 formation, it was particularly noteworthy that Ante Rebic occasionally drifted wide to get involved in the play. Players can be creatures of habit and the Croatian (kung-fu kick in the Coppa Italia semi-final notwithstanding) showed his natural tendency to want to create. 

Similarly, Castillejo was supposed to be on the wing, but drifted inwards to keep the Lecce defenders guessing. It worked a treat for the goal when the Spaniard found himself all alone in the penalty area to redirect a low Hakan Calhanoglu cross-shot.

In addition to the lack of energy that has been levelled at the Rossoneri in recent times, the will to fight and lift their heads up when things are not going their way is another. ‘Weak mentality’ is the phrase most bandied about. Conceding the equaliser from the penalty spot for a clumsy Matteo Gabbia challenge could’ve broken their spirit. Instead, as the sun set in Southern Italy, Milan roared back and struck twice in the space of a couple minutes.

Intricate build up on the right meant that Calhanoglu, strongly rumoured to be a major part of the plans of the soon to be new coach Ralf Rangnick's new Milan, saw his snapshot only parried by Gabriel and Bonaventura buried the rebound. Jack is likely to leave at the end of this campaign, but a goal in his 150th start for the club should leave a good memory. Rebic was then given the freedom of the stadium to maraud towards goal to make it 3-1. He promptly hugged one of the Lecce ball-boys to celebrate, so social distancing be gone. 

He was replaced by Rafael Leao and the Portuguese youngster produced a diving header to finish off a once in a blue moon penetrative cross from Andrea Conti, and the romp was complete. The 21-year old wasted no time in making a 'stop talking' gesture to his critics, but it's going to take more than that one goal after so long to convince.

Following the lockdown of three months, Milan have held Juve in the Coppa Italia playing with 10 men for the majority of the game and beaten a relegation threatened Lecce outfit. Despite the seemingly daily drama and confusion at the club in recent times, with upper management, coaches and players all in limbo as to their status at Milan, it's time to set aside their own personal points and do what is best for the club.

Another 11 finals await and the possibility of European qualification must be the only thing on their minds now. 

Have your say...
@Luca. Good call on Pochettino, completely forgot about him. We should be in the thick of that kind of stuff right now, never mind the Euros! Anyway, I hope that going forward Milan also learns to appreciate the talent that comes through its own youth system. So many players out there right now, and through the years, could have been first team players saving the club a ton of money spent on transfers and wages. Just today I read an article about Locatelli possibly going to Juve. Good grief.
on the 26th June, 2020 at 8:46pm
@ AC Milan Fan

Very true regarding Lazio, they have been punching above their weight all season and in particular Ciro who will never have a season like this again. As much as I enjoy seeing the likes of Atalanta and Lazio doing well, I would much rather have a great Milan team in Serie A who have a far higher ceiling than those 2 or even Roma and Napoli. Lets hope this is finally the time they get it right.

Personally I see Pochettino at Juve if Sarri leaves but Inzaghi could also fit
on the 25th June, 2020 at 3:33pm
@Luca. I hear you. Juve, Inter and Napoli are definitely stronger and ahead of us. What happens at Lazio going forward will be interesting. If Juve move Sarri on I make S. Inzaghi the favorite for that bench. Then SMS might move. Then again, with CL football...Roma on the other is a club on the brink of financial collapse. I think we're better than them right now anyway. Then let's not forget Atalanta, heading toward it's 2nd consecutive CL season. The climb is steep but not insurmountable.
on the 25th June, 2020 at 2:29pm

I'd be surprised if Milan finish in the top 4 next season. I think we need to give Rangnick 3 seasons to start seeing the fruits of his labour unless it's a real disaster in the same way Liverpool gave Klopp plenty of time without winning anything
on the 25th June, 2020 at 8:58am
@Ac Milan Fan

I agree that buying 5-6 first team players in one summer won't work. What I meant is that Milan already have 5-6 players that are good enough to be at the club long term. They need another 5-6 players over the next few years to challenge though. I also think that the players you mentioned combined with the current crop wouldn't be enough to get 4th. Tonali is Inter bound and Juve, Inter, Napoli, Lazio and even Roma have better squads than Milan and will all strengthen.
on the 25th June, 2020 at 8:51am
As ac Milan fan said Definitely don't want redbull Milan. We need 2 or 3 key signing and may be few cheap youngster with potential. That's it, the league isn't that strong we don't need to be amazing to get 4th. Lazio, napoli and atalanta will all lose key players in summer probably to pl etc lazio may lose inzaghi. Buid on what we have with striker, cb and creative midfielder and we should have a solid chance. Id lik to see silva back but his wages sound ridiculous.
on the 25th June, 2020 at 8:43am
Cont'd. Then after CL qualification upgrade RB, RW, and maybe Kessie and you've got a great team. These don't even have to happen in the same summer as Samu is pretty decent and is like a lesser Callejon. So I'd say new RB in 2021, and new RW and Kessie replacement in 2022. The club is screaming for consistency and stability. The managerial/directorial changes coming up are going to be huge on many levels. We don't need another upheaval as happened in 2017.
on the 24th June, 2020 at 10:34pm
@Luca and Milan Fan: Sorry, I don't want "Redbull Milan". Also, 5-6 new players? Didn't we try that with Li and fail? No, we need 2-3 top players over the next two summers and that's it. New CB to partner Romagnoli, Tonali, and a new CF/ST to replace Ibra when he surely walks this summer. Swap Paqueta with Milenkovic of Fiorentina, pay the 35m for Tonali and the 40m for Milik. Gigio; Theo, Roma, Milenkovic; Conti; Bennacer, Tonali, Kessie; Rebic, Milik, Samu should be enough for 4th. Cont'd...
on the 24th June, 2020 at 10:26pm
Sassuolo says hi again! hahahahaha
on the 24th June, 2020 at 7:54pm
@I miss Luciano Moggi @ Juventus: when you generate 850 million a season like Barca and you got AC Milan Generating 220 million they have 4 times the spending power and 4x the quality that an AC milan's a fair rule.... you can't spend more than you make - unless you are a dumb Brit i know there's many people in the UK that spend more than they make but they are stupid if they do.
on the 24th June, 2020 at 4:19pm

“either figure out a way to increase revenue WITHOUT European competition OR lower your spending” is not going to cut it.
Be specific.
on the 24th June, 2020 at 3:38pm
@ Branca

“Milan has way bigger issues than winning.. for every $22 dollars they generate in revenue they spend $ 36 dollars ..”

I don’t know what your source is or if these numbers are correct-they look like textbook bankruptcy to me-but based on your statement, it seems that you haven’t spent much time making fiscal management decisions.
Please explain to me just how exactly the taking out of the winning games part will contribute to solving the revenue/expense disparity?
on the 24th June, 2020 at 3:37pm
@ Marco Branca - or call out FFP for what it is - put in place by convicted Rubenti criminal Platini to let Rubentus win everything In Italy. Only in Italy mind you! Of course FFP can be postponed for a year when it is hurting UEFAlona but thats another story.
on the 24th June, 2020 at 10:04am
@ Milan Fan

Yeah that's true, if Elliot want to get the best price possible then keeping hold of the star players will be more attractive to potential buyers. I'm not a Milan fan but I would love to see Milan come back to the top, they're such a glamours club. The league would be so much better with a great Juve, Inter & Milan sides and then Lazio, Napoli & Roma providing strong competition. It goes without saying that the stadium issues are the biggest thing holding the league back.
on the 24th June, 2020 at 9:03am
@ Luca

Agree with everything you said but I actually don't think Elliot will be looking to make a profit on player sales. I guess they will invest so that Milan can achieve better sporting results, which in turn will increase the value of the brand, then sell the company all together. Running a club long term and buying/selling players seems like a lot of trouble for them. Milan fans will never accept such a policy, too.
on the 24th June, 2020 at 12:36am
Milan has way bigger issues than winning....for every $22 dollars they generate in revenue they spend $ 36 can you ever resolve FFP doing that ? either figure out a way to increase revenue WITHOUT European competition OR lower your spending, and in the cause of this squad lower the quality of players you sign. It's better to be 15th and healthy FFP wise than where you are now !
on the 23rd June, 2020 at 6:30pm
terrible performance? come on! It was good performance. They fought back, they ran around, created a chances. After long time it was pleasure to watch their play. Its true Lecce did not play their best but...I wish they would play so terrible in every match :-)
on the 23rd June, 2020 at 1:09pm

There's plenty of deadwood in that squad which will have to be moved on but the skeleton of a team is in place. As you mentioned Donna, Romagnoli, Theo, Bennacer & Rebic are all capable players. Add in Leao & Calhanoglu and it leaves the coach with something to work with. Szoboszlai looks a great prospect to partner Bennacer and if Rangnick can add a few other gems as he seems to find regularly then it's a slightly brighter future. I would mind seeing Red Bull buying out Elliot tbh
on the 23rd June, 2020 at 1:08pm
@ Milan Fan

I agree, i'm excited for what Rangnick will bring. I'm not expecting anything other than purchasing and nurturing young talent who inevitably get sold on which is obviously not ideal but at least it's a plan and should be profitable for the club rather than the current philosophy which is buy a few over hyped youngsters for big money and then end up making a loss on them and buy a few over the hill players on big wages who are winding down their career. The new stadium would help to
on the 23rd June, 2020 at 1:02pm
Only 2nd game back so hard to judge much from it. Pioli has them playing alot better than they were with at least a shape and regular lineup. I am uneasy about Rangnick, he has no experience in Serie A and Milan are pretty cash strapped not a problem he had at Hoffenheim or RB. Pioli did well at Lazio surely he is good enough to get a 4 place finish with time? Rangnick unlikely to be an instant success and he will have no where to hide. Good luck to him.
on the 23rd June, 2020 at 11:48am
The result was good but the Milan performance was the same terrible thing we've seen all season. Lecce were horrible in their first game in a long time and by the second half they were walking around.

I can't wait for Rangnick to come. I'm afraid Milan need 5 or 6 new starters for next season. Only Donnarumma, Theo, Romagnoli, Bennacer and Rebic are fit to start for Milan. If we add Calhanoglu who Rangnick allegedly likes to work with, it leaves us with 5 empty spots for new players. Tall order
on the 23rd June, 2020 at 9:43am

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