Thursday July 31 2014
Pippo's problematic pre-season

With two disappointing losses in pre-season, the first questions and concerns of the Filippo Inzaghi era at Milan are beginning to rise, says Sam Lewis.

Pre-season has, by and large, not been pleasant for Milan so far. After starting the summer with a pre-World Cup duo of signings and the appointment of fan favourite Filippo Inzaghi, concerning results on the pitch threatened to fade initial hope surrounding the Rossoneri heading into 2014-15.

Two consecutive losses against Olympiacos and Manchester City, the latter a 5-1 thrashing that saw four goals scored pass Michael Agazzi and his often clueless defence inside 30 minutes, has sent another sobering reminder of the gulf between the Diavolo and Europe’s most talented clubs. Considering Agazzi and former Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Alex were brought in, alongside making permanent Adil Rami’s move from Valencia, with the intention to improve the backline, to play so poorly immediately upon arrival is no doubt an issue.

There appears to be a gap talent wise, yet pressure has been no less prevalent around coaching debutant Inzaghi, especially from the club itself. “I had a long talk with Pippo, and I'm sure that we will do well this season,” CEO Adriano Galliani told media this week.

“Everyone at the club is convinced that we will do well this season because we have a very good Coach.”

While it wasn’t revealed what Inzaghi and Galliani discussed, fans will hope the transfer market was one of the topics, with Riccardo Montolivo’s injury casting a large shadow over the midfielders available for selection when the new season begins.

“This team needs to be improved to come close to a championship,” former Milan midfielder Stefano Eranio has considered. “You cannot repeat the previous season.”

If Milan’s upcoming season is to be a success then additional quality is required to add to a side where genuine, veteran talent is at a premium.

The Rossoneri’s interest in numerous players around Europe is widely reported but the current state of finance at San Siro is apparently dictating that players must exit before new ones arrive. One of those is Robinho, with Besiktas, Olympiacos and home-town club Santos all seen as vying for his services. If and when that move is completed, Milan may finally take action on some of the players reportedly on their list, but with former targets Juan Iturbe, Antoine Griezmann, Davide Astori and Marco Parolo all at new clubs, that list is shortening.

A pre-season match against Liverpool is to conclude a tournament that has Milan sitting bottom of their group with minus seven goal difference, before a challenging stretch to begin the Serie A season greets the team - with new arrivals or not.

An opening bout against an improved Lazio side at the Giuseppe Meazza is the first League match under Inzaghi before a trip to Roberto Donadoni’s exciting Parma side comes a week later. A third week showdown against former Coach Massimiliano Allegri and Serie A champions Juventus will prove to be a serious test, perhaps the first of the calendar and of Inzaghi’s fledgling coaching career.

Questions are beginning to arise for Pippo’s Milan, and the time to answer them is rapidly approaching.

Have your say...
Ok based on the direction we are going due to the obvious lack of understanding that our defence needs to be resolved and quickly I do feel we should cash in on balotelli, honda, robiniho, essien, muntari and many other of our so called stars. We can then use that money to make a more compact and uselful team, at the moment I see a squad full of over paid over rated players. Start with defence then midfield then real striker's. Doing that over 3 years would mean no European football for 3 years!
on the 5th August, 2014 at 6:25pm
I'm tentatively pleased about Armero. He was good in the world cup. However his main strength is going forward. We now have De Sciglio/Abate at RB and Armero/Albertazzi at LB. We still need a new CB to replace Bonera and Mexes. Surely someone will be stupid enough to sign them. Bonera might offer something to a newly promoted team (but also might help get them relegated). Mexes just needs to be sold to a glamour team with more money than sense on the off chance he scores another overhead kick
on the 5th August, 2014 at 1:04pm
Interesting what Pazzo is saying this morning. I've no doubt that Inzaghi does not lack the ability to motivate my question is his tactical knowledge given he's never managed in Serie A before. It also raises the question as to why we are even looking for Mr X. Inzaghi already has options in attack including Menez, Balo, SES; Saponara, SES, Balo; Balo, Pazzo, SES and the above with Honda or Niang with Petagna also there as cover. Another signing in attack will actually impede Inzaghi's choices.
on the 5th August, 2014 at 8:55am
@ anonymous I sort of agree. We certainly need a defence. In an ideal world I would like to see Milan focus on their defence this summer, their midfield next summer and their attack the following summer. This would give potential talents like Saponara, SES and Balotelli 2-3 seasons to prove themselves while we're re-building. If they're still not performing then we focus on making changes to the attack. But it's completely pointless while we concede goals.
on the 5th August, 2014 at 8:50am
We need defence, midfield and strikers. This while team is a complete mess from start to finish, pre-season or no pre-season this team is a disgrace, pippo is to inexperienced, berlusconi (the whole family) are responsible for the rise and this very swift fall of milan, galliani has ruined this squad with countless free transfers that were no good when we got them and even worse now, fed up of mr X and last day 'gifts'. AC Milan have become a bigger joke than the bunga parties!
on the 4th August, 2014 at 5:05pm
A very average squad guided by a very inexperienced coach - what do we expect??? world beaters? they will be lucky if they qualify for the europa league next season. Mistake after mistake after mistake by Galliani and Berlusconi. Their biggest misake was signing Balotelli. 6th place at best...
on the 4th August, 2014 at 1:33pm
Actually, I've seen some positives in the game with Liverpool. I believe we need a world class midfielder, maybe someone like Verratti. Balo needs to be more lethal and aggressive, which I believe Pippo might be able to make him better in that sense.
on the 4th August, 2014 at 12:40pm
I agree.
I am disgusted with this team! How any manager/owner/director can have even a piece of optimism when we have conceaded 10 goals in 3 games! We can't defend, we can't score, we can create we can't do anything. 'Tony' list was spot but I would add new signing rami and alex to that list as well as balotelli. This whole team is shocking.
on the 4th August, 2014 at 8:37am
I think the plan is to let Milan die when berlu does. A bitter twisted, old man. Sell the club and retire to Sardinia and have your parties. Don't forget to take baldie and all your terrible players with you - muntari, essien, bonera, constant, mexes, agazzi, zaccardo, robinho, nocerino, matri.

Youth is the way forward but we need a coach with the balls to play them. Cristante, Mastalli, Modic and Benedicic are better than any of our mids bar de jong and occassionally montolivio.
on the 3rd August, 2014 at 9:25am
@Maldini'sRightFoot, absolutely – Casa Milan seems to me like a lot of money spent of puffing up the club's reputation by obsessing over glories won in the past. Sadly, the club's present is very far from living up to this and worse yet, the trio in charge seem to believe the club will somehow win games by the sheer power of its illustrious history. I don't believe the needed investment will be made, but the numbers Maldini's Heir mentions indicate the club could be doing better with what it has
on the 1st August, 2014 at 8:24pm
I have faith. The team will make us smile once more
on the 1st August, 2014 at 4:50pm
Mar my words, Inzaghi will get fired by Christmas. He reminds me of Ferrara with Samp - horrible at serie a but goo with kids. Hey, there is always Conte waiting for a job!!
on the 1st August, 2014 at 3:47pm
The other issue which should not be ignored is Galliani is completely incompetent at selling. The Robinho saga has been going on for 2/3 years and this summer we have loaned out for FREE Nocerino, Brsa and Matri. Surely we would've been better off trying to sell them before the end of the transfer window rather than loaning them for FREE in July? And why was Kaka allowed to go for free to Orlando? If I was Berlusconi and my mate had wasted nearly £80m of my money I'd tell him where to go.
on the 1st August, 2014 at 2:07pm
@ Gerz It's not about money. The problem is Galliani buys quantity not quality. Milan have spent money in the past number of seasons: according to one website in Sterling we spent nearly 50m in 12/13 and 30m in 13/14. We spent £7m on Constant (yes I was surprised too), £3.5m on Acerbi, £3m on Salamon and then a whopping £9.68m on Matri. That's over £23m spent on utter rubbish. This summer we spent more on Rami than Roma did on Astori. We picked up Alex as a freebie instead of Vidic, Evra, Cole.
on the 1st August, 2014 at 2:01pm
We need a miracle. Berlusconi's signings made us great and now he has abandoned the team and we are heading to mid-table obscurity. Inzaghi's enthusiasm wont change anything , nobody wins anything with free transfers.
whether 4-3-3 or 4-3-1-2 will not matter we simply do not have world class players (apart from SES,De jong and De sciglio).The young gems and Mastour are too young and should be loaned out to grow.
Only Berlu selling Milan and 150 million euro transfer budget can bring us back.
on the 1st August, 2014 at 12:28pm
In addition, two decent CBs is essential. I wish Milan had money to buy Hummels. But at least they can sign some young CBs and let all of current CBs go, except Zapata. Todays, there are a lot of teams that get good results just by good defending. If you do not have enough money priority should be set on defense not attack. With this squad and combination of that GKs and CBs even with Real Madrid attacks we won't make it to Champions league.
on the 1st August, 2014 at 12:15pm
I am very confused with club's market policy. For example Milan really lacks a good goalkeeper for a while. A good GK will increase points grabbed per season at least by 7-10 points. Also Gks are less expensive and with amount of money they spent on Matri last season they should have signed a very good GK. Agazzi should not be signed. Abbiati and Gabriel are good reverses, but are not 1st choice class ...
on the 1st August, 2014 at 12:08pm
@St Ambrose Forget about strengthening our squad we need to generate revenue. You cant build a house with no foundation hence the need for our own stadium. Casa Milan; a project headed by Barbara Berlusconi is like building a penthouse on a wavery birch tree. This club - our club is in serious trouble and the people running it are either a bad joke Barbara Berlusconi or past it Adriano Galliani. Like Italian football it seems the club is going from bad to worse. Shameful.
on the 1st August, 2014 at 11:51am
We have a 30 year old CEO with no relevant education or experience who steps in for the photo shoots with the team wearing a fitted Milan shirt. Cant remember Florentino Pérez, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge or David Gill trying this. Milan like a pretty faced player traditionally for marketing purposes unfortunately our current joint CEO looks more like her Dad. We also have a close but no cigar merchant as coach. Those of you who are upbeat are delusional AC Milan in its current guise is going nowhere.
on the 1st August, 2014 at 11:36am
@rizzomb Really? Balo is staying because nobody wants him! Cant wait for his first match to see how many boos and insults he gets, Niang is much has he scored a goal yet? Not all are healthy - Montolivo! The defence is still poor, in fact it's worse as the players are now a year older. By christmas Inzaghi will be gone with a lovely compensation payout. Milan will be lucky if they don't go to serie B and Balo will miss half the season due to disciplinary problems and injuries.
on the 1st August, 2014 at 11:20am
Milan's current crisis reminds me of what the LA Lakers are going through in a few ways. Both are so used to winning that they refuse to subject themselves to a complete rebuilding phase and instead continue to scrape together a team full of players who don't really create balance with a controversial 'star' player who doesn't really have it in them to carry the team any more (Kobe and Balo). I want to see them do well but it all starts at the top. Galliani and Berlusconi must go.
on the 1st August, 2014 at 10:49am
On a positive note Inter have just signed Osvaldo! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
on the 1st August, 2014 at 9:48am
It is absurd yes i think this squad is underachieving especially since they are the best paid squad in the league. However it is painfully obvious after muntari extension that milan are just getting the players they can afford rather than the ones which will actually improve milan in the long term.
on the 1st August, 2014 at 9:43am
@ St Ambrose I'm actually hoping we get another hammering by Liverpool so that Galliani & Co finally get it into their heads that our defenders are not good enough. We've still got time to sign a defender or two or three. Its a shame we've missed out on Vidic, Astori, Ashley Cole, Evra and De Vrij but there may still be time to sign the likes of Vermaelen and Paletta. I do believe that if we could stop leaking goals we might have a reasonable chance of making a CL spot. But we MUST sign defender
on the 1st August, 2014 at 9:26am
@ Setters10 3-5-2 might not be that bad an idea. I'm not sure why you've included Zapata in the clear out list since he's probably our best defender (which doesn't take much). A little harsh on Niang as well. The rest its hard for anyone other than Galliani to disagree with.
on the 1st August, 2014 at 9:15am
Inzaghi has 2/3 months maxiumum.
Unless Milan are top of the league then Conte will be in.
on the 1st August, 2014 at 9:08am
Roster: Not good enough and too large in number. Transactions: Handled poorly. Budget: Wasteful. Attendance: Declining. Young talent: Glaring and apparent.

For the last 2-3 years Milan has been signing nonsense and adding salary to an already overpaid team. Ignoring their obvious weakness in defense and GK but instead they actually paid money for MATRI(one of the most boneheaded moves ever). Bringing in veterans to get in the way of progress. Hmmmm sounds like the Tavecchio/Albertini situation
on the 1st August, 2014 at 5:44am
Good post Riccardo, I don't understand the criticism of the team thus far. It's been two games (one of which was Man City Premier league champs). They are a young team with a new coach let the likes of Saponara and Cristante grow in the middle guys like that are the key to Milan becoming great again. Forget about buying "experienced players" it's that mentality that got them in this mess in the first place. Milan have the right idea in placing trust to their youth, the rest of italy should also.
on the 31st July, 2014 at 11:19pm
A tricky start to the league and I would not be surprised if they lose the first three games.

They need to have the confidence in the younger players if they are to emerge and grow. It will take time but their talent is in their youth. De Scilgio, Cristante, SES, Mario and the bright young Mastour, among others.

They will not finish in the top three. Roma, Juve, Napoli should grab those, leaving Fiorentina, Inter, Lazio and Milan in the group behind them (although Inter may surprise this year)
on the 31st July, 2014 at 6:58pm
Just to follow from the mass clearout I would have...that would still leave a team of..(3-5-2)


Alex Rami BUY

Abate Cristante De Jong De Sciglio


Balotelli El Shaarawy

Cant believe nobody has suggested a 3 man defence at Milan. Having a sweeper means the centre backs who cant man mark at Milan wouldn't have to. It also means liability full backs De Sciglio and Abate aren't so defensively focused.
on the 31st July, 2014 at 4:52pm

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