Wednesday March 12 2014
Now to the Rossonero revamp

Following defeat to Atletico Madrid, Richard Thomas says Milan would be better off forgetting about results and giving youth a chance for the remainder of the season.

Tuesday night’s performance by Milan against Atletico Madrid, coupled with the end result, provided brutal confirmation of what the Serie A table has been suggesting all season. The Rossoneri, despite their rich history and pedigree in Europe’s premier club competition, are simply not good enough to grace it at the moment.

Ricky Kaka’s equaliser on the night at the Vicente Calderon briefly put this Round of 16 tie back in the balance, but from the moment Arda Turan restored the home side’s lead five minutes before half-time there was only ever going to be one winner. Clarence Seedorf’s side went on to concede a further two goals late in the second half before referee Mark Clattenburg’s final whistle mercifully brought the contest, and Milan’s European campaign, to an end.

The Rossoneri will be and already have been heavily criticised for the manner of the defeat, which is their third in succession in all competitions. Seedorf himself was particularly scathing of his side’s performance, citing a lack of resilience as the main reason behind the capitulation.

“You could see after the second goal that the team struggled to react psychologically, as they often do,” the Dutchman told the media following the game. “The period of difficulty [earlier in the season] lasted so long that it affected the team. They can react once, but after a second blow they can’t get back on their feet. In the second half the whole team no longer produced the right level of grit and determination to keep fighting. We sat back too much and in general it was not positive.”

It is clear that Seedorf’s honeymoon period at San Siro is now well and truly over. Since succeeding the sacked Max Allegri in January he has overseen, on the whole, a marginal improvement in performances and results. It must also not be forgotten that the Rossoneri were unfortunate to lose the first-leg of the tie with Atleti, nor that they put up a good fight in defeat against runaway Serie A leaders Juventus a week-and-a-half ago.

Those two performances, along with a few others, provide some evidence that Seedorf is taking his side in the right direction in the early stages of his coaching career. However, defeat to Udinese on Saturday followed by last night’s showing have highlighted the magnitude of the task that the San Siro legend faces if he is to restore the club to the sort of heights the tifosi have become accustomed to down the years.

So what next for the Rossoneri? They now have 11 Serie A fixtures left to focus on but with the side barely in the top half of the table and nine points off a European place, they have surely left themselves far too much to do to mount a serious challenge for continental competition. Seedorf has said that the Rossoneri still have ‘some very specific objectives’ to achieve before the season’s end, and one very high on his own personal list must surely now be to conduct a thorough and honest assessment of the playing staff he currently has at his disposal.

Indeed, if the club’s decision makers are certain that they have got the right man for the job in the rookie Dutchman, they would be best served to now write off the season in terms of results and allow Seedorf the opportunity to do just that. Poor though the season has been, Milan will not be dragged into a relegation dogfight so the Coach should be given license to use the upcoming games as a chance to experiment with youngsters, run the rule over fringe players, decide which of the more experienced ones to retain and try out new formations and tactics.

He should be allowed to do all of this free of the expectation of delivering good results that is normally a given at San Siro, so long as it is evident that he is building for the future. After all, it would surely serve the Rossoneri far better in the long term if they were to finish this season in say, 13th place, but having had a look at some of the youth players who so impressively won the Viareggio tournament in first team action, than it would to stick with the same set of players who have shown over the course of the season that collectively they are not up to the required standard and finish seventh or eighth.

The nature of Milan’s turbulent season means that they face the unfamiliar scenario of having to play two months of virtual dead-rubbers before the season is out. If they are used properly however, the upcoming matches may prove to be a rare and much needed opportunity to really take stock of where the club is at. It is an opportunity that, as demonstrated by events last night, the Rossoneri should not and cannot pass up.

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Have your say...
Great article.Youth is the way to go.Milan have a lot of talented youngsters and it won't cost Milan to bring them in.The Primavera have already beaten the first team this season.Cristante and De Sciglio are technically and mentally stronger than the whole squad and I'm surprise Cristante is not a starter.This is Milan's chance.I wanna see Gabriel,Pacifico,Iotti,De Sciglio,Cristante,Saponara play almost every game.Also,Honda deserves more playing time either at Kaka or Montolivo's expense.
on the 12th March, 2014 at 5:15pm
@ Daniel Giambrone Balo certainly divides opinion but my biggest issue at the moment is its a total distraction.We are not 10th in the league because we can't score goals (which is Balo's job). We're 10th because we've conceded 38 goals.Every game we are handicapped with our shocking defence.This requires our immediate attention. Once we have a defence and midfield then lets talk about why our strikers cannot unlock teams in the big games.Also Balo seems like the only player who really gives a..
on the 12th March, 2014 at 4:58pm
Id have rather lost with saponara, cristante, niang, patagna. Bcoz wed be able to sit here and say that we can see that milan are basing the remainder of this season on succeeding next season. Instead we lost with what berlusconi and galliani called 'world class' purchases who were going to bring us out of the slums yet 4-1 is a massive wake up call for those who are fooled by the 'propaganda'! In fact 3 of the goals we conceded were thanks to those very players! Disgusted by what we have become
on the 12th March, 2014 at 4:37pm
@a milan supporter
25 years a fan and you can still argue for this lot?! Dont buy into all the propaganda its all BS. I love milan (27years infact) but last nite was a joke! U go on about 1st leg and juve- WE LOST! We talk about service to balo and pazzini they miss atleast 5 chances each a game, now for world class thats alittle poor. The defence is horrendous midfield is even worse. (Sacchi said after CL game btw), seedorf picks the team so players playing out of position is his doing!
on the 12th March, 2014 at 4:21pm
There are so many variables with Balotelli. These result in him being such an unpredictable player, good & bad. I've probably never felt so ambivalent about a player. For the good of of Italian football I desperately want him to succeed.
on the 12th March, 2014 at 4:15pm
I'm not sure that Balotelli will ever have the potency & consistency of the likes of Ibra, Falcao. One reason for this is that I think that he spends so little time in the penalty area. What I think could really help his game is having a regular strike partner. There were some very positive early signs with Rossi in the Nigeria friendly. Having that extra body up there with him, & a skillful one at that, looked to ease the pressure on him and allow him to shine.
on the 12th March, 2014 at 4:06pm
Strewth, has anyone polarized opinions as much as Balotelli? I can see both sides of the argument: lack of quality service, state/direction of the club vs attitude, consistency, very low shots on target%. Balo has great technical & physical ability, but he isn't a deadly striker-he misses many bread & butter chances. He's been good for Italy, but not great-judge his entire Euro 2012 campaign, not just the semi.
on the 12th March, 2014 at 3:59pm
@maldini heir
What do I suggest- I suggest he acts like part of a team and not the lord of football! Hes lazy, hes never in the rite place, hes never in a goal scoring position and when he is which is rare he misses. No point telling me about the bologna goal- 1 goal thats all it was afew weeks have past now still only 1 goal. As for the rest of these half wit we have they can all go, essien, dejong, robinho, monto, bonera (should be band from football).. more???.. taarabt, honda.. endless.....
on the 12th March, 2014 at 3:57pm
Why did we sign Honda when we had Saponara? What does Robinho offer? It's not like we're talking about replacing world class players with youth teamers. We're talking about replacing duds. I guarantee you in the modern Milan set up players like Tassotti, Galli, Albertini, Evani, Eranio, Massaro and Simone would never have made it. None of these on their were world beaters. But they were a team. Could Paloschi have been as good as Massaro?
on the 12th March, 2014 at 3:46pm
If it's a choice between an average player and a youth team player who knows the set up at Milan we have to go for a youth team player. Players like De Sciglio, Cristante, Saponara, SES and Niang have potential (or else they wouldn't be professional footballers!). They just need the right manager and the right opportunities. Look at last night. Would Cristante have done worse than Essien? How could Emanueslon be picked ahead of De Sciglio? Why did we sign Tarabat when we had Niang?
on the 12th March, 2014 at 3:43pm
@ Adam fair point about Milan's Primavera. Logically Atlanta and Inter should probably do well since they usually have the best youth teams. Milan's Primavera are not the best in Italy and have been well beaten in the youth CL BUT I believe that with the right appropriate and mixture of youth and truly world class signings you can have a team that challenges. It's not about having 11 world class players. It's about having a team. Milan should only be signing 1 or 2 decent players each summer
on the 12th March, 2014 at 3:39pm
6. Yes, some changes need to be made and players let go but as for ‘end is nigh’ with Milan and complete overhaul you all need to sit back and question yourselves as Milanistas. I was so proud while watching the 1st leg v Atletico, the Samp game and the game v Juventus (mainly the 1st half)...Not easy suffering with the club and team at this time but Milan will rise again. Show some perspective.
on the 12th March, 2014 at 3:06pm
5..all season in the league-their last league loss was in May 2013. Show some perspective and don’t come across as so football illiterate! We played extremely difficult teams and outplayed them but lost. These are the games we should be building on and trying to improve on finishing off those chances. Tough luck that we lost but we gave a good account of ourselves and should see the glass as half full.
on the 12th March, 2014 at 3:06pm
4. 1st goal by Costa 2nd leg-Essien was woeful in possession and Rami lost Costa; 2nd goal 2nd leg-deflection; Juve’s goals-incompetence by left sided defence and Tevez brilliance. Details! Details! Overall a very good collective performance in those 3 games and credit must be given to the level of opposition that we played (both Juve and Atletico (were)) top of their respective leagues. Juve still only have 1 loss under their belt all season in the league; and Atletico at home haven’t lost...
on the 12th March, 2014 at 3:05pm
3. I singled out these games as they are the most recent games in which we played our best. We against Atletico and Juve due to isolated errors, player incompetence and lack of depth. A whole team doesn’t need an overhaul when you look at the performances of the 1st leg; Samp & Juve. Surely Sacchi didn’t make those comments after those games as he would have been chastised. He made it after Seedorf’s 1st squad rotation game v Udinese. 1st leg Costa goal-Rami lost him;
on the 12th March, 2014 at 3:04pm
2. At every one of these games I felt like I was watching the BEST Milan for the season. Not only were we giving our best performances of the season-we were BETTER than the opposition. We ended Samp’s 6 game unbeaten streak at home; battled with the best of La Liga giving a good account of a game we should have won; and pinned down the top of the table team in Serie A, Juve, who were unbeaten in 17 games when we met. In case you all forgot these games were in the last 2-3 weeks.
on the 12th March, 2014 at 3:04pm
1. As a Rossoneri fan for approximately 25 yrs I feel compelled to reply to some of the misguided statements written here today. Firstly, when Seedorf came into his position he couldn’t just wave a magic wand and get results-he also had to work with the resources at his disposal. The players had to get to grips with his NEW philosophy, systems and balance whilst building team cohesion. This happened around the 1st leg Atletico game at the San Siro, away to Sampdoria and at home to Juve.
on the 12th March, 2014 at 3:03pm
Except gabriel, all goal leakers shud go, we nee 2 oda goalkeepers, retain de sciglo and offload other. At midfield, poli, saponara, kaka, jong, honda, essien shud stay and d others shud go. We shud retain balotelli and have a send forth for the others. We also need maldini as sporting director, stam and davids as fresh brains to assist seedorf.
on the 12th March, 2014 at 2:30pm
Milan need to retain rami and de sciglo, get rid of other defenders. Abbiati amelia and coopola shud go, buy a quality goal keeper or give gabriel a chance. In midfield, saponara, poli, de jong and essien b retained d others should go. Balotelli, pazzini, robinho, matri all have to go. We need fresh youthfuj quality players. On d bench, we need a fresh brain to assist Prof seedorf. We need stam and davids, maldini as sporting director. We can build a team to chalange for europe and scudetto.
on the 12th March, 2014 at 2:18pm
If Balo has no supply what is he supposed to do? Its the same for Pazzo when he plays, the supply has got to be better. Players like Urby, Taraabt, Muntari, Kaka (yes he has been poor and offers little often losing possession)

I would question the directors who buy sub-standard players. Rami, I thought he was supposed to be good, far from it, he might be able to run through a brick wall but he has no positional sense

And how the hell is Urby playing in front of De Sciglio

on the 12th March, 2014 at 1:53pm
@everyone Maldini's Heir is spot on, how can you blame the guy up top when everything behind him is a shambles? I think Balo is best when he's a cog in the machine, that's why he's so effective for Italy, cos he has great players around him doing the things he cant/wont do and can focus on being the CF. Trouble is, as you all say, your squad needs an overhall and the fact is that Balo is your most valuable player, on the market at least. Whats more useful in the long run, Balo or transfer funds?
on the 12th March, 2014 at 1:45pm
Guys, the bunga bunga media were too busy bashing Inter and having wet dreams about Milan to notice that Milan were in as bad a shape if not worse. Now it is clear to Milan fans, all the major work needed. No Euro competition is a chance to get started with youngsters.
on the 12th March, 2014 at 1:45pm
We should get palleta cerci insigne
on the 12th March, 2014 at 1:37pm
2nd thing I would like to say is that (not being racist) the English, Spanish, Germans and French havent got a clue about defending. Italians wrote the book of the art of defending so why have we got other nations in our defence. The defence needs to be Italian as communication is the most important part of team defending. Defending is skill, communcation, reading the game. Money cant buy defending, it's a skill. Look at Maldini, Baresi, Costacurta etc. Defence is the foundation.
on the 12th March, 2014 at 1:22pm
Can someone tell me who Milan so called youth players are? I mean hasn't Lazio and Juventus got the best primavera teams at the memento? If Milan play the whole youth team as being suggested will they not end up in Serie B? Im not hating im just wondering Milan fans who have you got in the youth that's so wonderful? I actually would like to see a competitive Milan as they like Juve make Serie A a great watch.
on the 12th March, 2014 at 1:19pm
As a Milanista I am annoyed with 2 things.

first thing is the media and people saying milan is dead and need to buy class players. For the last 10 years I heard hundreds of people and media saying the players were too old which includes the 2007 team and that they are no longer any good and too old. Now that they have gone people are still not happy and want a new owner to bring in money to buy players to solve the problem. Now people are talking about how good those players were.
on the 12th March, 2014 at 1:15pm
@mm Balo was present at the 1st leg, he got injured by Costa. I am not sure if selling him is the answer to Milan's problems but I am surprised he is not pushed to the right wing where he first made his name as he is not a prolific no.9.Any team that packs itself with 3rd rate foreigners is doomed to failure. First of all they are not good and 2nd they are not used to that way of playing. Juve's core's always Italian wiv good foreigners and that helps. No Italian team in cl n we r only @ round 3
on the 12th March, 2014 at 1:04pm
Have to agree with the logic of the article, but i honestly thought the same from before xmas. There is no way the younger players could do much worse than this bunch of clowns and journeymen mercenaries. I dont expect any change though, under seedorf the squad has been bloated further with mediocrity while Naing is sent on loan and Sapanora, Patenza and De sciglio barely get games. Summer prediction is for Ballotelli, De Sciglio and Abate to leave, Sapanora, Cristante and Patenza to be loaned.
on the 12th March, 2014 at 1:02pm
@ mm perhaps Balo needs to score a goal like Bologna every single week. What precisely would you suggest Balo should've done with Kaka playing out of position on the left, Poli playing out of position on the right, Tarabat playing like he was actually a Championship player and Essien and De Jong in midfield? Oh forget we left our best crosser on the bench so Emanuelson could offer nothing at left back. At the moment Balo also one of the only players we have who's capable of DEFENDING a set piece
on the 12th March, 2014 at 12:32pm
Milan need an overhaul. the squad is just not good enough and they need to get rid of Abate, Mexes, Urby, Balotelli, Robinho, Matri, Montolivo and send Rami and Taraabt back to their parent clubs.
Next season should focus on youth:
Abbati, Di Scglio, Astori, Vergara, Contento, De Jong, Cristante, Niang, Kaka, Saponara, El Shaarawy

They'll probably end up buying Nani for about £25 million. :(
on the 12th March, 2014 at 12:29pm

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