Perhaps the saddest thing about Philippe Mexes’ choke-slam attempt on Stefano Mauri in the dying minutes of Milan’s game against Lazio was that it probably wasn’t the most disappointing part of the game.
The match-up against the capital club and alleged rival for European places was billed as an important one, a fixture that could already be permanently detrimental to Pippo Inzaghi’s future as Rossonero Coach.
If Silvio Berlusconi and Adriano Galliani were looking to the game for evidence of how committed the Diavolo’s threadbare squad is to Inzaghi then there were few examples.
Barring the lead taken after four minutes, Lazio dominated a team that has seemingly adopted apathy as its primary footballing style. Struggling to keep possession, threaten the Aquile goal or even look like a squad that had met each other prior to the game was a frustratingly difficult job for the 11 men sent out Saturday night.
As for Mexes, who is the highest paid player on the Milan squad, his actions speak of either a larger disciplinary issue within the Rossoneri’s squad or further evidence of the team’s decline that the temperamental Frenchman can claim such a large financial compensation for his unique interpretation of how a footballer should act. I’m guessing Inzaghi should take Wrestlemania out of the video room.
Gazzetta dello Sport’s rating of a ‘3’ came with a warning to watching children: “You have to behave exactly the opposite.” The result and subsequent suspension should keep Mexes away from a football match for at least a month – although it is worth wondering what Coach he will return for in that time.
If Inzaghi’s role was on thin ice prior to kick-off, those shards are now cracking with increasing frequency. Reports claiming alternatives including Luciano Spalletti, Vincenzo Montella, Cesare Prandelli as well as the caretaking hand of Mauro Tassotti are being considered. It raises the question however, why weren’t these names – barring Tassotti – approached in the summer before Inzaghi was announced as Coach? It was always going to be a risk replacing a struggling beginner on the bench with another and if the Rossoneri board had no plan to be patient behind their newest amateur then why bother in the first place?
Budget restraints with regard to both player acquisition and the contract of any new tactician restricted the offers that could be made, but the idea that Inzaghi would be ready - much more than Clarence Seedorf - because he coached youth team football was clearly a fallacy. The 41-year-old will inevitably improve with experience, but it’s now likely that experience won’t be coming from the team he’d originally hoped to save.
With the addition of a new Coach in the coming weeks, Milan will once again be hoping a new managerial appointment will finally turn a struggling team into the contender the sagging wage bill would indicate. Although that line of thinking has been flawed since Carlo Ancelotti’s departure in 2009, few would expect it to change at this venture. Perhaps somewhat like Philippe Mexes, the Rossoneri may find themselves be grasping at something entirely inappropriate.
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