Thursday May 2 2013
Does Mighty Max deserve Milan?

Milan’s victory over Catania came amid talk Coach Massimiliano Allegri could be on his way out. Luca Cetta examines the Clarence Seedorf rumours and wonders if a change is needed.

Milan’s fans shared their opinion of Coach Massimiliano Allegri on Sunday versus Catania with a simple message: “More respect for our Coach Allegri.” Likewise, Riccardo Montolivo offered a glowing response to a post-match question regarding the tactician. “A lot of the credit for the win goes to the Coach as he’s managed to find the right mix. He kept things together when we were in trouble and he brought us back. He’s a great tactician and I hope he stays here for the long-term.” Mattia De Sciglio was another to back him.

Allegri’s future has been called into question throughout the season. That he was close to the sack following Milan’s poor start is no secret. During the Rossoneri’s mini-slump – three matches without victory prior to Catania – his head returned to the chopping block. Still, with Fiorentina breathing down Milan’s neck it seems no Champions League means no more Allegri.

The Diavolo-related news of the day last Sunday was of Clarence Seedorf being named as a potential replacement. This is something, the Gazzetta dello Sport claimed, would be pushed through by President Silvio Berlusconi regardless of Milan’s final position. Allegri would then join Roma, with whom he’s been linked. It was a story reiterated by the Corriere dello Sport on Tuesday.

Adriano Galliani is said to be resistant, but did have this to say Sunday evening: “All those who made Milan history enter the conclave the day Allegri leaves. After that, who knows who will emerge as the new Pope?...The passion of the President for his great former champions is absolutely real and that applies to Seedorf as well as the other players who took this club to the top of the world, like Christian Panucci and Billy Costacurta.”

With that in mind – and putting aside unconfirmed reports of Roma talks – what exactly has Allegri done wrong in recent months? Yes Milan struggled immensely to begin 2012-13. Five of Milan’s eight losses occurred during the opening eight rounds. Their season looked over before it really began following a mass summer exodus. That wasn’t Allegri’s decision. Once he and the squad overcame the shock of losing such quality, they dug deep, settled into a rhythm and began their ascent up the ladder. Qualification for the Champions League was viewed as an outside chance at best. Now it’s a distinct possibility. That is thanks in part to the man on the bench.

They’ve clicked in the 4-3-3 formation, with Stephan El Shaarawy – and later Mario Balotelli – regularly amongst the goals, with Montolivo pulling the strings in midfield and Christian Abbiati, Philippe Mexes and Cristian Zapata eventually forming a solid defensive spine. Youngsters El Shaarawy and De Sciglio were given room to flourish. Others are to be integrated into the squad next season. While previously rigid in approach - tactically and personnel-wise - the one-time Scudetto winning Coach has proven anything but this term.

Assuming Berlusconi does wave goodbye to the Livorno native, would Seedorf really be the answer? It’s great Milan want their legends to continue with the outfit past their playing days. But the Dutchman is not there yet. And his coaching experience is non-existent. Imagine thrusting Seedorf into the pressure-cooker atmosphere of Milanello and expecting at minimum a Champions League return.

Galliani mentioned Panucci and Costacurta. The former is Fabio Capello’s assistant with Russia and Billy has limited Serie B coaching experience. Hardly glowing credentials. Perhaps Gennaro Gattuso or Filippo Inzaghi could one day lead the side, but for now they’re content in roles at Sion and the Milan Allievi Nazionali side respectively. They too have a long way to go. If Allegri must be replaced, Milan would be better served looking elsewhere. Luciano Spalletti would be a fantastic option if he can be lured from Zenit Saint Petersburg.

That suggests Allegri needs replacing. 2013 form says otherwise. Aside from the European exit at the hands of Barcelona – the second leg somewhat disappointing after Milan looked so good at home – they’ve performed well. The Rossoneri remain a point ahead of the Viola. Both have tricky season endings with matches against others who need points for Europe and salvation.

For his part, Allegri was thankful for the fans support. “The fans have got behind me since the day I arrived at Milan and they have also supported the team. They have really backed us this season which has been more difficult than the first two years I have been here.” Milan are building towards something and Allegri has been a part of that. Rather than part ways they should go forth together.

Have your say...
Anyone who plays Ambrosini and Bonera does not deserve to coach this team. I can't believe Noccerino sits and Ambro plays. Get rid of him!
on the 2nd May, 2013 at 1:07pm
Maldini's Heir you beat me to the punch with many of your points, you made some good ones. Like you, I have mixed feelings about him, & doubt whether he has the ability to take Milan to the next level. In his defence, I have a little sympathy for him, because Galliani has left him short of creative options in the midfield. IMO, Monty is the only player that they have that is calm on the ball, & can see a pass.
on the 2nd May, 2013 at 12:37pm
Okay so you want Max replaced? By who?!!! Who else can win scudetti and champions league with no money?? Don't criticise him if you have no solutions. None of you could do a better job.
on the 2nd May, 2013 at 12:32pm
Further: not giving Monty or Prince consistent positions could just as quickly reflect an adaptability and willingness to change things around when necessary. I'm also not convinced the games against Fiorentina and Napoli we badly planned tactically. In both games Milan overall looked like they had things well in hand. It was two stupid penalties that have stopped Milan being 5 points ahead of the Viola instead of 1, and that's not Allegri's fault.
on the 2nd May, 2013 at 12:31pm
In addition, I would contend that visits from the president during Milan's darkest hour for many years should not reflect badly on Allegri. There was a lot of doom and gloom surrounding the team at the time, none of which was his fault. And Berlusconi hasn't felt the need to pay visits since then. Allegri didn't have any trouble motivating the squad for their spirited home performance against Barcalona.
on the 2nd May, 2013 at 12:26pm
... and persisted, despite several players (Mexes springs to mind) publicly stating they had no problems with the coach and that the squad was disappointed with all the false stories about friction between the team and the manager. I'm not saying that the media is to blame for any uncertainty surrounding Allegri, but I think it has certainly exaggerated the issue.
on the 2nd May, 2013 at 12:17pm
Also, I'd like to mention the media's position in all this, which hasn't really been mentioned anywhere before now. In the Scudetto-winning season, Max was being praised for his cool head and down-to-earth attitude and was even named Serie A coach of the year (if memory serves). Then Conte came along, and he suddenly became the press' flavour of the day. Stories about discontent in the Milan camp because of Allegri became popular at the same time...
on the 2nd May, 2013 at 12:15pm
I'm completely for Allegri staying at Milan. There's been a lot of upheaval in the last year and replacing the coach is likely to only add to that. I'd also add De Sciglio to Maldini's Heir's good points (Prandelli publicly praised Allegri for giving him playing time and tipping him as a player for the Nazionale).
on the 2nd May, 2013 at 12:12pm
Allegri couldn't do much better than he has, given the squad isn't anywhere near the level it was before. A change in management is unlikely to get better results.

Give him some money in the summer. Consigli is on a Bosman, Benatia: 10m euro, Belhanda: 13m and a couple of useful squad players: Consigli, Abate, De Sciglio, Benatia, Zapata, De Jong, Montolivo, Boateng, Belhanda, El Shaarawy, Balotelli. Not perfect, but given the financial constraints it would be a decent mix of youth and talent.
on the 2nd May, 2013 at 11:09am
On the plus side 1)The players respect him, 2)Constant, 3)His willingness to change formations, 4)He delivered our first Serie A title since 2003, 5)The run of games since Christmas, 6) Niang, 7) So far his handling of Balo. This is a massive moment for Milan. We have some exciting young players. Juve could really stretch their lead with the number of Scudetti. We need someone else. Not Seedorf or the other names being mentioned. We also need to get rid of Galliani before he wastes more money.
on the 2nd May, 2013 at 10:51am
8)Not giving Monty a consistent position, 9)Not picking a consistant midfield,10)Not giving Boateng a consist position,10)Not giving Pazzo enough games,11)Over-using SES and then dropping him at the worst time when his confidence was faltering, 12)Not utilising Bojan enough,13)playing an overly rigid 4-3-3 formation which is quite predictable,14) needing the president to step in to motivate the team, 15) his poor record against the other big teams over 3 seasons.
on the 2nd May, 2013 at 10:47am
For me he has made the following glaring errors: 1) Failing to pick a consistant starting 11, 2) Not picking a consistent captain (it really should've have just been Abbiati or Montilivio who were going to play all the games), 3) Randomly dropping Abbiati around November time, 4) Delaying in pairing Mexes and Zapata, 5) Any games he has picked Bonera or Yepes where he had Acerbi, Salamon or Zaccardo, 6)Not doing enough to sort out Mexes' disciplinary record, 7)Not picking full backs consistantly
on the 2nd May, 2013 at 10:41am
I've been on here many times criticising Allegri (and Galliani) and I do have mixed feelings about him. I do think he exagerated the impact of the summer exodus which left him with a squad no worse than Napoli and better than Fiorentina. This has been shown in the run of games since Christmas. My No 1 issue is his absolute failure to pick a starting 11 and stick with it for a number of games. We have nearly had a full season and we are no closer to understanding what his starting 11 is.
on the 2nd May, 2013 at 10:36am
I think Allegri should leave. He always struggle in big games& head to head matches. His team never play attractive football& it lacks motivation. I think he is a very good mid-table coach. But Milan needs someone with more imagination.
on the 2nd May, 2013 at 10:27am

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