Wednesday January 27 2021
How Milan can avoid setbacks

After suffering back to back defeats to Atalanta and Inter, Matt Santangelo argues Milan must make the necessary preparations to bounce back and ensure they stay on course to finish top of the table. 

Suffering back to back defeats to Atalanta and Inter, Serie A’s Winter Champions Milan must make the necessary preparations to bounce back and ensure they stay on course to finish top of the table.

As Milan succumbed to a near-perfect Atalanta last Saturday in a 3-0 defeat, Inter followed up with a draw to Udinese that clinched winter champion status for the Rossoneri.

Though an impressive feat in its own right, and one that certainly serves as a good measure of the job Stefano Pioli and his youthful squad have done to date, the reality is nothing has been won. The focus must remain if Milan are to repeat their first-half success to finish what they have started.

On Tuesday, Inter presented the first of many difficult tests to come, with both sides valiantly attempting to knock the other off their course and stymie any momentum they’d wish to build.

For Milan, the response after the heavy loss to Atalanta was important, as they have not suffered consecutive defeats this entire season across all competitions, this despite ongoing injury concerns and the never-ending pandemic keeping players out of the squad.

Nevertheless, Pioli approached the Coppa Italia quarter-final clash against Antonio Conte’s Nerazzurri with clear intent to win, fielding a strong XI that was eventually dealt a blow early with the injury exit of Simon Kjaer.

While Chelsea loanee Fikayo Tomori entered to make his debut for the club in a pressure- packed situation and fared extremely well, the loss of the Dane perhaps served as a harsh lesson in the dire reality Pioli will face going forward in managing the workload of his most prized assets.

Last night’s cagey affair had all the fixings of a classic Milan Derby. From choice words and flared tempers between Zlatan Ibrahimović and Romelu Lukaku and chippy play on both ends to the dramatic Christian Eriksen free kick goal to ice the victory for Inter, this match was for the calcio purist reminiscing of Italy’s glorious past.

A win against a rival can always provide a boost and massive shot in the arm, kickstarting a key run or evoking a reaction that has significant carryover effect into another important phase.

But, after bowing out of the Coppa Italia with a 2-1 defeat, there is one less competition for Milan to allocate resources towards.

If you are of the glass half fully way of thinking, there is perhaps some consolation in the loss, though it is a bit more of a harder pill to swallow given the opposition. This all must be put in the rear view mirror for Milan now though as the next 19 league matches become the priority. How will Pioli prepare?

A well-timed, properly executed rotation may be in order. Bologna (A), Crotone (H) and Spezia (A) combine for the next slate of league matches for Milan, of which was swept by the San Siro side earlier this season.

To put it bluntly, these are must wins for Pioli, especially with Inter breathing down their neck and another Derby della Madonnina where revenge will be sought.

The upcoming fixtures, followed by FK Crvena Zvezda in the UEFA Europa League, present an opportunity to preserve an ailing backline and worn down midfield.

Hakan Calhanoglu, Ismaël Bennacer and Matteo Gabbia should be making their returns to duty very soon, almost becoming “new signings” as Adriano Galliani would say.

The Turkish playmaker’s absence has been sorely felt, with his final ball, creativity, efficient passing and harmonious play with Ibrahimovic set to be a refreshing sight once again.

Bennacer is ready to walk back into his starting role in the double pivot alongside Franck Kessie, together forming one of Serie A’s most balanced pairings. Gabbia, who began to find his footing and good form prior to his injury, can surely be an option for Pioli to utilize.

Spelling Kjaer and Kessie the occasional breathe and preservation, as they’ve been two of the main workhorses of the starting XI, must be a focus.

Barring any last minute additions, Soualiho Meïté, Mario Mandžukić and Tomori complete the market, adding the necessary reinforcement for Pioli to get to the finish line.

The preparations have been made by Paolo Maldini and the management to help the Italian coach and should be commended.

Now, with the pieces in place and a hopeful restoration of the squad from injuries and positive cases soon to follow shortly, the play on the pitch must do the talking and define a season that, if all goes according to plan, sees Milan as champions or, at the very least, back in the UEFA Champions League where they belong.

Have your say...
No one here knows Ibra, he could be a racist he might not be. Some racist are blatant some go under the radar. Defend him or persecute him know one here would be doing it with the right amount of knowledge. But using other people's culture as an insult leaves yourself open to criticism and being labled negatively
on the 30th January, 2021 at 10:21am

No, I didn't think you would get it haha

You tell me to "stay out of it" elsewhere, then when I tell you the same here, you react negatively to me saying it.

Double standards from yourself.

And whether I support them or anyone else has absolutely nothing to do with whether I comment or not.

That's the gist of social media. You yourself will have to put up with it or leave.

That's your only 2 options.

"Stay out of it" and the derisory "back of kid" mean absolutely nothing
on the 29th January, 2021 at 10:16pm
I don't know whether you're white or black, but I know for sure you're a moron. If it's not said to you then why are you giving your opinion? According to you your opinion doesn't matter so why do you feel entitled to argue about it? LMAO It was said to Lukaku and he's black and he never claimed he was attacked racially, if he had said something then OK it would be understandable, but since he hasn't I believe based on your own logic you should do us all a favor and shut the hell up.
on the 29th January, 2021 at 9:21pm
I am not backing ibra because he plays for Milan he is an absolute idiot for getting sent off. What I'm doing is highlighting stupidity from people who choose to make this absolutely non racial incident racial when it wasn't, it is absolutely unacceptable. Players taking the knee in all sporting events are booed for doing so because of events just like this! How can real issues be addressed if people like you highlight matters that are absolutely irrelevant to racism?
on the 29th January, 2021 at 6:17pm
The Derby of The Dishonest
on the 29th January, 2021 at 4:07pm

How am I suppose to know you support ACM hmm?

"And quit contradiction yourself by saying one thing, then doing the exact opposite"

What? I'm not even go further on that one. Good to know you at least root for a classic team.
on the 29th January, 2021 at 8:17am
win anything no how matter how many players we sign. Rather than wasting time and resources on pointless signings the directors need to get on top of the injury situation. If it keeps happening it’s not bad luck.
on the 29th January, 2021 at 8:12am
Milan’s other big problem is the growing list of injuries. Bologna who were facing this weekend have zero injuries now that Palacio has returned. Sure they’re not in Europe, but they like everyone have had to deal with the covid fixture list. For the past 10 years Milan have consistently struggled with injuries after a decade of avoiding them and prolonging careers of the likes of Maldini and Costacurta with Milan Lab. What happened? Is it the coaching? Is it the medical team? We’re not going to
on the 29th January, 2021 at 8:11am
talking point from Milan's perspective is why we played Meite when he's only been at the club for 5 minutes, instead of say Krunic who trained with the club in the crucial period during lockdown last year. That was the period where this Milan team was born. Each new addition (of which there have been many since) did not experience that period of bonding and cohesion. And players who arrived 5 minutes definitely didn't.
on the 29th January, 2021 at 3:38am
And yes the intention of the person who used the term is highly relevant because only they know the meaning they meant to convey. This focus on the recipient or the world at large leads to situations where there is an entire industry dedicated to offence which again leads to Trump. Because everyone's on edge constantly waiting to be outraged.

The other reason all this leads to Trump is because we focus on the wrong things. The main talking point is Ibrahimovic stupidly got sent off. The other
on the 29th January, 2021 at 3:35am
Is this still going?

Ibra is not racist and has been the victim of racism himself. And most controversially of all, using inappropriate or racist language is not necessarily racist. We need to move past words and focus on actions. A person is racist if they are racist in their actions. The reason this is so crucial is because attempts to police language has spectacularly backfired. We have united non-racists and racists because of misplaced accusations. It's what delivered Trump.
on the 29th January, 2021 at 3:32am
Yes of course who would trade our injury prone 39 yr old nonno for possibly the best striker in the world at the moment. You just sound jealous of them and make us look bad. Yes I hate inter but I’m also not gonna fan boy everything our team has and does. People backing ibra because he plays for us isn’t a reason to turn a blind eye. Again everyone has their own interpretations but end of the day unless you are black and it’s said to you, what you think doesn’t matter.
on the 29th January, 2021 at 12:58am
Careful milanista and gaja00 will 100% claim you don't want lukaku because he is black
on the 28th January, 2021 at 11:39pm
@Milanista the only person who needs to stop is you. I am a Milan fan and I most certainly do not need you speaking on my behalf. The only people who have made the scuffle between ibra and lukaku racist is a bunch on twits who think the minute a white man argues with a black man it's immediately race related. Do us all a fav and do one and take 'gaja00' with you. The world can never move forward when there are people like you creating problems that don't excist. Ryo hit the nail on the head!
on the 28th January, 2021 at 11:35pm
The amount of people who invent "racism" out of thin air is really alarming.

The donkey/voodoo thing has nothing in it - unless you WANT to make something of it, like GAJA00, who's judging people on here, then complaining about racism!

But the world loves being offended and jumping on any SJW bandwagon they can find in an attempt to feel good about themselves as they condemn people - ironically the very thing they're complaining about/pretending to care about.

At least MILAN FAN makes sense
on the 28th January, 2021 at 9:16pm

I support them too

And quit contradiction yourself by saying one thing, then doing the exact opposite. You make yourself look ridiculous...yet again

And don't call me kid in a desperate attempt to sound superior

This is social media, the concept of which you don't seem to grasp anymore than you do many of the topics on here. You don't get to tell people to back off on SM, Victor. If you're unhappy - you're the one who needs to leave

Clear enough?

Need me to write this out again?
on the 28th January, 2021 at 8:56pm
Now days even if you call someone chicken they will call you racist.....what a beautiful world to live in.....Ibrahimovic is a show man he is not a be honest Lukaku until this happened he has always been a gentleman...but I lost respect when he said something about Ibrahimovic wife that’s unforgivable...I know people going to say he said something about his mother he didn’t he said call your mother.

@milanista I wouldn’t trade ibra for lukaku..../
on the 28th January, 2021 at 5:56pm
The team was built with the spine that could operate with any other players around it - Hakan in CAM, Kessie & Bennacer CDM, Kjaer CB. When that spine has been out of the team, it has suffered. We need to be more adaptive and have more of a game plan to us than just "Put Meite/Diaz in for Hakan and hope it works". The fact is that they are totally different players so a simple change won't cut it. Other teams that are more fluid and have more squad depth will pass us with ease if we cannot adapt
on the 28th January, 2021 at 5:55pm
Meanwhile, Juve signing all the young Italian talents, as usual. Scamacca and Rovella next. I was really hoping we'd get Scamacca, as he fits the profile of the type of player we need at that position both physically and age-wise. Now we'll have to get some rando that has now Serie A experience at a higher price for equivalent talent.
on the 28th January, 2021 at 4:56pm

Well it is an article about the team I support compared to you jumping in after 25 messages back and forth between others. Back off kid.
on the 28th January, 2021 at 4:52pm
One word: BENNACER... Hahahahahahaa
on the 28th January, 2021 at 3:12pm
@Saint Palmer I noticed you ignored the voodoo comment. I also noticed you say you're from Africa but don't say you're black. I'm a black African and tbh I didn't expect any better from privileged non-black folk like you on this platform who deny, deflect and are outright complicit when you're told a remark is racist. If players like Pogba choose to defend a racist remark that wasn't directed at them, it won't be the first time and they're just as complicit. Enjoy your forum. I'm done with this.
on the 28th January, 2021 at 1:50pm
Ibra is not God. He is not & didnt say anything racist. He is an idiot who gets on my nerves the same way Balotelli did but id still want them on the team. It was a penalty. It was not a sending off. Inter deserved the win. Milan better buck up their ideas. Too many lapses of concentration, while rolling on wave tide of confidence, is failing them against big teams. They need mental strength. Now is when the real test begins for them as other contenders catch up.
on the 28th January, 2021 at 1:05pm
I despair, I truly do. Rather than trying to imagine any racial link to fit your agenda, how about looking at it objectively.

Donkey: donkey is used as a normal insult in the UK, where Ibra has played. Trying to call it racist "because slaves were used as donkeys" is the definition of reaching.

Voodoo: initially it may appear racial, why else would he say it? Oh, because there's a footballing story involving Lukaku and voodoo. So there's a good reason to use it when insulting him.

on the 28th January, 2021 at 12:44pm
@gaja00 Tell me, didn't white or any other race of slaves around the world in history also use to carry load?!

Over the top people like you make everything worse. There's a long list of racial slurs on Wikipedia, hundreds of them, some of them dating back to other centuries, and among them apple and banana. I advise you to go and memorize them all. Mind you, donkey and voodoo are nowhere to be seen, but then maybe you can edit and put them there?
on the 28th January, 2021 at 12:35pm
@Milanista If I'm making us look bad you're making us all look downright retarded. No sane Rossonero is condemning Ibra for racism here, not least the club - run by American owners - who decided there's nothing to fine him for. Anyway you're probably just an Inter fan using the name Milanista. Go support your thug Lukaku and take your trading skills with you. Maybe someday he shoots you in the head as reward for uncovering racism against him that even he didn't know about himself.
on the 28th January, 2021 at 11:54am
So, you guys are gonna tell us what they use donkey for during the slavery hun? people just like creating drama when there is not, I`m from Africa so I know what this all about, tension flare up during a match and the guys boiled up which is normal, is what Lukaku said to Ibra any better than what Ibra said? Nobody on the field or in the stadium says anything about racist, it's you guys from outside that will blow everything out of proportion, pleaseee..
on the 28th January, 2021 at 11:30am
(cont)... If you read books on it, during slavery they literally used black people as donkeys to carry load. And clearly some of you never saw the racist memes by far-right extremists of Obama's head superimposed on a voodoo man that went viral. I wonder why they would use that specific imagery. As I said maybe Ibrahimovic didn't realise these terms would be viewed as racist but that doesn't make it any less egregious. If you all choose to defend him, that's on you. I've said my piece.
on the 28th January, 2021 at 10:42am
Wow. The outright defence of Ibrahimovic's remarks, I guess it shouldn't surprise me and is the reason why these campaigns against racism go nowhere. Fans and team mates just end up defending their players with strawman arguments - saying Lukaku was being racist towards Romagnoli just blew my mind. Because white people can call each other donkeys and monkeys doesn't make it any less racist when directed at a black person. (cont)...
on the 28th January, 2021 at 10:35am
Too much overgeneralisation. Milan chose not to fine Ibra, and they were the first to speak out against racisim when it happened to other clubs. Lukaku never mentioned Ibra being racist after the incident, neither did ANY other player on the pitch. Even Pogba chose to voice his opinion, which he stood up for Ibra. Other igborant fans choose to hate because the papers report false news and they take it as facts.

Maybe use your brains a little?
on the 28th January, 2021 at 10:23am

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