A typical refrain heard from many Milan fans this season is that the squad isn't good enough. Early on, it wasn't strong enough to compete for the Scudetto, despite Silvio Berlusconi's usual bombast and the spending of around €85 million on the likes of Carlos Bacca and Alessio Romagnoli.
More recently, many Rossoneri fans weren't buying that Mihajlovic's men could suddenly lead the charge for Europe, despite a 12-game unbeaten streak and rivals Roma, Inter and Fiorentina all either running out of steam or facing an identity crisis.
And who could blame them? The Diavolo lined up the likes of Mattia De Sciglio, Antonio Nocerino, Cristian Zapata and Suso as they lost two of their first three league games, triggering an early panic and somehow justifying Silvio Berlusconi's repeated public criticism of his coach.
Even at the best of times, the bench has lacked depth, with Mihajlovic struggling to find second-half matchwinners with Jeremy Menez and Mario Balotelli still out of shape and Luiz Adriano with one foot in China.
Even worse, last weekend's defeat to Sassuolo heralded the unwelcome return of the San Siro coaching carousel, with numerous reports indicating that Berlusconi was going to sack Mihajlovic and replace him with Eusebio Di Francesco.
The Serbian, so the logic goes, isn't the right man to develop Milan, and to help the club return to its former European glory.
However, to paraphrase Edmund Blackadder, there is just a small problem with the Arcore line of thinking: it's nonsense.
Beyond the absurdity of expecting improvement with the sacking of a fourth coach in three seasons, it is hard to look at Mihajlovic's Milanese CV and be unimpressed, or argue he doesn't deserve more time. It is not a coincidence that fans have been more critical of the squad, and have generally been more favourable towards their gaffer.
Even more strikingly, the Serbian has done exactly what a flashy, exciting coach like Di Francesco is being expected to do at a big club. Namely, he has left his mark on the team, created an (arguably workable) blueprint for the future, and turned underperforming players into serviceable, even good ones.
It doesn't end there: even the fanbase's criticism of the squad is starting to lose credibility. It is genuinely difficult to look at this Milan team and not identify a sequence of success stories: nobody believed Miha when he replaced Diego Lopez with an unknown 16-year-old. Gigi Donnarumma is now the find of the season in goal. Just behind (or, if we’re being literal, ahead) is Alessio Romagnoli, who has gone from overpriced punt to future of the club.
Luca Antonelli has been very good, whilst formerly error-prone players like Ignazio Abate, Alex and Cristian Zapata have been turned into solid foils, or at the very least are no longer blatant chinks in Milan's armour. From conceding 50 goals last time round, it's hard to see the Diavolo concede 20 goals in 10 games and match that total.
Juraj Kucka has been a dynamo in midfield, whilst Riccardo Montolivo's absence against Sassuolo contradicts the fans who think that his contribution to the team is minimal.
Carlos Bacca has been brilliant in attack, whilst Mihajlovic has helped M'Baye Niang become a big fish in big ponds, too. Even the injury-plagued Jeremy Menez looks to be returning to form, if his brace against Alessandria is any indication.
Heck, Mihajlovic has even helped the flawless Giacomo Bonaventura take another step towards stardom (his average Gazzetta mark leaping from a great 6.11 to a monstrous 6.42) and has turned an underperforming malcontent in Keisuke Honda into an undroppable fixture on the right wing.
It is genuinely difficult to see what the very promising Di Francesco could have done better, at least in terms of results or squad-building. If anything, his attacking brand of football would have required another revolution, which Milan – a team being tailed by Financial Fair Play - definitely can't afford.
As it stands, this team is good enough to compete for the Champions League next season, if not this year (they're nine points short of third-placed Roma). Isn't that good enough, especially with the Rossoneri's rebuild being a long-term project? With plans for redeveloping the Portello falling through and no progress on the San Siro front, why not keep a manager who looks set to guarantee an even keel and hopefully make the most of Serie A's inherent instability to earn regular European qualification?
From Napoli’s spendthrift Aurelio De Laurentiis and the unpopular Della Valles at Fiorentina to American-owned Roma or Inter (of course), is it so ridiculous to expect these teams to shoot themselves in the foot?
If only Milan can stop themselves from being Milan, they can just wait for their opponents to slip up and build some foundations for the future.
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