Milan is at the crossroads

Fans of Milan are elated : Vincenzo Montella is finally dismissed. Interim head coach – Gennaro Gattuso, the legendary football player, whose previous workplace was Rossoneri ”youth”. He will have to pull Milan from the depths of the table: the team shares 7-9 places with Bologna and Chievo, to reach Champions League zone – 11 points are to be added.


The dismissal was expected. The first ultimatum Montella received back at the end of September, when Milan lost to Sampdoria. They waited for successful results from the coach in the game against Roma and Inter. Both of these matches ended up in defeats, but Rossoneri showed a good football and judging by the game content, they could count on something more, so Vincenzo remained. The next crisis moment – zero-variant 0:2 from Juventus.

This time Montella was rescued by the calendar: in the next round, the Milanese confidently beat Sassuolo. Sins were being accumulated. Home draw with Torino “Airplane” was not forgiven, the statistics of strikes and the ball possession skills did not become an indulgence. It can hardly be a joke – not a single goal in four games in his field!

There were many claims to Montella. His team was helpless against top-clubs, it was unable to play in a draw with them.

The game of Milan was distinguished by the lack of ideas in the midfield:  possession of the ball was confidently achieved owing to the class of players, but the development of attacks was somewhat perplexing. Montella never chose the optimal scheme. Summer selection was based on 4-3-3, but the sudden arrival of Bonucci forced them to reorganize to 3-5-2, where there was no place for Suso, the best attacking player of the team. In addition, Bonucci, with his playmaker talent, made the presence of Billia senseless in the field, who was eventually set in reserve.

There were issues on the coach’s personnel decisions: for example, excessive trust in Kalinic, along with ignoring Coutrone or inappropriate replacements.

Finally, Montella could not stand the pressure. Training Milan in recent years has been the task of the highest level of complexity: this is not the club where you can go on a rolled, but the results here are required, as in the grandee. In this season, the task has additionally complicated. The coach received tremendous opportunities to strengthen on the transfer market, but the acquisition of a new team excluded even minimal teamwork, and the origin of this money increased the level of drama – it was required at least to enter  the Champions League zone so that the Chinese owners could pay out the loan.

A game for cool and risky guys. Alas, Vincenzo hasn’t become one. He used to lose another important match, always smiling and getting off with general phrases about progress or “half full glass”. The control over the process was lost. Montella was much better in the previous season, building up not the most formidable, but interesting and spectacular team.

Fans of Milan should not forget that owing to the “Airplane”, club  won the Super Bowl a year ago – the first trophy for five years, so valuable during hard times. Moreover, the team returned to the European Cups and has already entered the playoffs of the LEF (an achievement that was ridiculous in the scale of the club, but for several years there was not this either). Last season, Suso played brilliantly, Donnarumma has spent a fantastic year, Locatelli’s  got his chance,  and now Coutrone. Montella achieved greater success than his predecessors.

Montella is unlikely to remain without work for a long time, his “Barcelona” style is quite attractive. It’s another issue that the level of Vincenzo doesn’t comprise the top clubs, and applicants for the EL like Torino (since the “Airplane” has taken the course of Mikhailovich). As an option – going abroad, there are vacancies in the Premier League on a regular basis. The Italian national team? Montella was dismissed on time, but Skuadra Azzurra needs someone more authoritative after a historical failure. However, Federkalco has not even made up his mind as for the president…


All the fears were confirmed.  Rino became the head coach of Milan. Such a decision is not a rally that has gone too far, however, it does not look like a strategic choice either. There are few relevant and at the same time real candidates for the position of head coach (this explains some delay with Montella, the management hoped that the current specialist would show the result in the long run), and Gattuso – a temporary coach, who will remain at this post till the end of the season.

Gattuso at his 39 is already experienced in coaching. Milan is the fifth team under his supervision, without considering primavera. It all began in March 2013, when Gennaro was the playing coach of the Swiss Sion (+ 0 = 1-2). Then there was a short segment at the head of the fallen in Serie B Palermo (+ 3 = 1-4), half of the season in Greek OFI (+ 5 = 3-9) and, finally, two years at the head of Pisa – Gattuso’s the only “long-playing” work.

The first “Pisan” season turned out to be successful: the team took second place in its group of Serie C, and then earned a rise, thanks to the playoffs, beating Foggia in the crucial matches. Gattuso himself has been distinguished due to scandals. He slapped his assistant on the cheek, was disqualified for improper behavior, and in the finals someone from the stands threw a bottle on his head, in addition, he earned a removal for a squabble with his colleague Roberto De Dzerbi – by the way, this coach is now the head by Benevento, Gattuso will make his debut at the head of Milan versus Benevento.

Season with Pisa in Serie B is a hymn to the “bus”. Gattuso’s team missed only 36 goals in 42 rounds, this is the second indicator in the league. Just 11 matches Pisa ended in a goalless draw! This did not help: the 21st, the penultimate place and departure without any chances. Amazing, but not very encouraging statistics. If you really look for a positive moment, it can be found rather in the performances of the Milan “prima”, which under the leadership of Gattuso takes the third place after 10 rounds.


Is this the level of the head coach of Milan, even if it’s temporary? The answer to this question may sound offensive for a respected and titled player. All in all Gennaro has no coaching merits, but there is an excessively long list of former places of work and a well-established image of an unrestrained person. It will be really hot in the locker room of Milan, instead of “good policeman” Montella, the players will see a furious one.

Seriously thinking, Gattuso’s work is to cheer up the lifeless team, bring more energy to it. Under Montella, Rossoneri was too apathetic. Tactics? Gennaro used various modules in the course of his career, including three defenders, but most often he preferred 4-3-3, which would be the logical choice for the current team. Milan is likely to play in a more defensive manner, this suits the game philosophy of the new coach pretty well (“If there were 22 Gattusos in the field, all matches would end with 0:0).

Expectations from the work of Gattuso – anything but quiet optimism. Do not be surprised at anything: even the devastating victories, even the first point Benevento, dialed precisely with Milan. The championship has already, by and large, lost, too fast rushed forward numerous competitors in the struggle for the Champions League. Going into the European Cup is a dubious task, Inter’s example demonstrates that without them it’s easier. That current participation in the European League can be a priority, the benefit of Gattuso is the experience of successful playoffs, albeit at a much lower level. The struggle for the European Cup will distract the attention of the public from the low place in Serie A.

A sign of bad times: one more ex-player of the great Milan leads the team, without actually having experience. Seedorf, Inzaghi, Brokki, Gattuso – as if nothing has changed since Silvio Berlusconi’s era. Hopes for a quick return to the ranks of the grandees turned out to be a quick disappointment, which is exacerbated by a precarious financial situation – Milan will have to compensate for its absence in the Champions League by selling some of the best players.

In any case, the fans of Rossoneri will have to have patience: even the best of the possible scenarios implies an arrangement with a top specialist like Ancelotti or Conte to lead Milan in the summer. If nothing like this happens, they will be most likely to regret Montella’s dismissal.


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