New Milan Coach Cristian Brocchi warned he is “not a wizard,” but told Mario Balotelli “there are no more chances.”
His debut against Sampdoria kicks off on Sunday at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT), click here for a match preview.
“I know our opponents well and we trained also taking into account what Samp have done in recent games,” said Brocchi in his Press conference.
“I did not come here to wipe out what Sinisa Mihajlovic did. I have great respect for him and saw a few players were very sad at his departure. The important thing is they are curious and eager to see what I’ve got for them.
“Wizards don’t exist, so tomorrow I’d like to see just five per cent of the ideas I’ve tried to ask for during the week. This would mean starting a journey.
“I’m not just talking about it tactically, but also in terms of attitude. The players must think not in terms of ‘I’ but as ‘We.’ As long as I am here, the first thought must be for the good of Milan and I want the players to prove wearing the Milan jersey is important.”
Among the reasons President Silvio Berlusconi picked Brocchi is that he likes to use a trequartista – a creative figure behind the strikers.
“Jack Bonaventura has the characteristics to play as a trequartista, but so does Keisuke Honda. The important thing is to focus on the principles of football and not specific positions. Once you understand the movements, it all becomes much easier.
“Milan won’t always play with 4-3-1-2, as the forward three could spread out more. Honda can play as a trequartista or as a wide forward. Like the others, he has to make my life difficult by proving he deserves to play.
“We tried out a few things in training and I still need to get to know the players better. I have no intention of transforming anything right now, as I am not crazy.
“In my mind, Jack mustn’t be the fourth midfielder when we don’t have possession. He must remain in that position. I’ll ask the team to push forward and attack, as it’s easier to play going forward than from the back.
“Midfield is the most important area of the team. I like to play with a diamond midfield because it gives you more certainty both in possession and without it.
“The strikers need to find the way to get shots on goal and fill the box. The only thing I ask of my forwards is to have a certain interpretation of the game, both offensively and defensively. We cannot think of playing without strikers who help out and sacrifice themselves for the team.”
With that in mind, the questions are naturally about the place Balotelli has in this Milan.
“I cannot expect Balotelli to play in the same way as Juraj Kucka, as they each have their own characteristics. The important thing is that everyone plays for the team,” continued Brocchi.
“If a player thinks he can decide the match by himself, that’s not right. I found Mario very eager and he promised me that he’ll give his all in these last few games.
“In the past he knew full well he’d be given other chances, but now he realises there are no more chances. The hope is that he can use these last matches to show his quality.
“It’s important for me that he shows he truly cares about the Milan jersey. As a Coach I always focused on mentality, because even the most talented players have to be strong mentally.
“People often say this Milan lacks character, but we need that to go forward. After Sunday’s game we can start focusing on more match situations in training. There isn’t much time, but it has to be enough.”
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