Sinisia Mihajlovic begins his Rossoneri tenure with training sessions, but there already appears to be evidence to suggest this particular tactician won’t be quite like the previous ones.
After the failed nostalgia moves of Clarence Seedorf and Filippo Inzaghi, Silvio Berlusconi this time has opted to go with experience and proven passion in the former Inter and Lazio defender Mihajlovic. Perhaps hoping that Miha’s famous aggression will transform last season’s abject Diavolo squad into a pack of raging dogs, the Serbian Coach appears to be determined to make his presence felt almost immediately.
Almost immediately, Mihajlovic has made his wishes for the team clear. Perhaps coinciding fortunately with Rossoneri management’s willingness to finally do the open heart surgery this ailing team needs, but the desire of their new Coach to create a new team in his image has been matched by the actions of the boardroom.
Unwanted players forced on previous tacticians, such as Sulley Muntari and Valter Birsa have been finally shipped off, while players who fill a real need in the team have brought in – Carlos Bacca and Luiz Adriano are more than acceptable follow-ups to the Jackson Martinez debacle while Andrea Bertolacci adds infusion of Serie A-proven, Italian talent to a midfield that is crying for assistance. Parma prospect Jose Mauri is expected to fill the ranks in the coming days and the transfer market is not expected to stop there.
Philippe Mexes, a favourite of management for his willingness was seemingly on course for an extension with the club but Mihajlovic’s desire to build the team without the inconsistent Frenchman seems to have spelled the end for the former Roma man, who may tread a path already taken by countryman Adil Rami.
Nigel De Jong’s extension at Milan (among whispers that the Rossoneri board were actually considering letting the Dutchman go and look for a younger replacement) seems to imply Mihajlovic’s involvement too – the Serbian’s arrival seemed to change the tone on De Jong, who may be the modern day version of the former Lazio stopper. Another player whose Milan career has been saved by the grace of the new coach is M’Baye Niang – who has seemingly convinced Sinsia from his time at Genoa. The youngster will be a part of the new Rossoneri rather than be a “what-if” prospect in the mould of Pierre Emerick Aubemayang, now a success at Borussia Dortmund.
Training has begun in earnest, with high intensity sessions already the order of the day despite the earliness of the summer, already telling his players there “must be no mistakes in training” and rather unsurprisingly “you must always be aggressive.” It seems Milan will be more grit than grace in the early stages of Sinsia’s reign.
It will be a far cry from the relaxed atmosphere under previous coaches, and as both of those men reportedly lost the respect of the locker room, it’s perhaps a good thing. Mihajlovic at the very least will be the undisputed leader at Milanello, filling the leadership void that has seen the formerly disciplined and professional Rossoneri slip into the decay it now finds itself in.
“Milan have always been a side to be feared, and I want that back,” Mihajlovic told media. It certainly seems that at the very least, Milan will have a Coach to be feared.