When Marco Giampaolo was officially unveiled as Milan manager he introduced the media, management and us fans to his motto: “Heads up and play football.”
Four matches in and AC Milan are making a stuttering start to the season. Wins against Brescia and Hellas Verona have hidden lacklustre and frustrating start to the season – one goal from open play in four games says it all.
“Without quality players, you can’t play good football. The important thing is to have an idea and carry it forward” – a plea that was addressed by the management with the purchases of Hernandez, Leao, Bennacer and Rebic. Upgrades and reinforcements that could tweak where we fell short last season in the quest for Champions League qualification.
But game time has been short for the new recruits.
“Everyone here must believe in our style of play. A precise mentality must be created.” A mentality that has seemingly been embraced by the new recruits who are excited to wear the jersey – and yet the side is occupied by the dinosaurs of the Fassone and Mirabelli era.
The lethargy in this side is captured with the sideways passing of Rodriguez, Calhanoglu and Biglia, and supported by Suso – a one-trick maestro who has become un-droppable in management eyes. I can’t remember the last time a player became bigger than the badge.
“I want our football to be appreciated and obviously supported by results. Milan must play for the highest objectives, but we must get there through planning.” He was the man with a plan – a 4-3-1-2 formation which he had implored at Sampdoria coupled with high press defending and smart attacking play.
This formation lasted one Serie A game. A 4-3-2-1 formation followed for two 1-0 wins over Brescia and Hellas Verona and then a sudden reversal to Milan’s ‘trusty’ 4-3-3 for the derby, which many would argue tries to solve the Suso issue. Again, I can’t remember the last time a player became bigger than the badge.
“It’ll be a long journey, so that’s why it’s only right to go one step at a time.” Patience is certainly needed; but we are a club that is being starved of top table European football. I am jealous of Inter Milan. They had an off-field plan and executed it to perfection.
We didn’t need an overhaul over the summer – just some pace injection, some direct passers and some creativity. But here we are, four games in and progression is beginning to feel backward.
Dear Mr Giampaolo. It’s time to get our “heads up and play football” . Six points this week is a must!