Hi, I'm new to this blog so most of your probably don't know me, and I've been following it for quite a few weeks now, but I feel as if I need to post this, mainly as a rant. Here goes...
I think there were three main people who were key to our demise.
The first is Bonera, who was at fault for the first two goals, and continued to make sloppy mistakes and gift possession to the opposition. His second half performance was better, but his marking was very off, and he needed to stay right up in Berardi's face, who is the next person on the list.
19 year old and scoring 4 goals against Milan? What a performance, this guy is bursting with potential, and he scored almost every time he touched the ball. But when Sassuolo's only attacking tactic was to give it to Berardi, their key man was lacking any decent marking from our defenders. Playing on the right wing and drifting in, it was difficult when Emanuelson went on his eager attacking runs and created space for him, yet Allegri should have made it clear to his defenders that Berardi should not be allowed any decent amount of time on the ball.
Which leads on to the next person on the list, Allegri. I think this has probably been one of his worst matches at Milan. In terms of defending, we were lacking any structure. And I think his biggest mistake of the night was deciding to start Cristante. Yes, he was very impressive last match, but against Sassuolo he contributed very little. He assisted Robinho with his goal, and got perhaps one or two crosses in, but other than that, and especially in terms of his defensive responsibilities, he did not contribute much. As I said in the comments last week, I am not attacking Cristante, but am rather arguing that in a time where Milan absolutely need results, we need to be playing smarter and more experienced players. Allegri’s decision to field Cristante rather than our own captain Monty (who played amazingly) left me baffled.
Our first two goals weren't from any decent build-up play, it was due to the Sassuolo players losing the ball foolishly, and then Milan sharply pouncing on their mistakes. However, with the introduction of Montolivo on for Cristante, we were creating bags of opportunities (especially when Honda entered as well). The last half hour of the match was full of high intensity, attractive, attacking football from Milan, and it should have been like that from the very first whistle.
The main problem of a Milan side without Montolivo, is when we start our attacks. The attack always (most of the time) starts from the back, with De Jong dropping in, and then he in turn delivering it to our midfielders. Yet whenever NDJ got the ball, the only movement I saw from our mids and fullbacks was AWAY from him. This meant that he only had two options, which was to a) pass back to our centre-backs/abbiati and start again, or to b) try and execute a long ball, which admittedly he’s very good at, but more often than not, we’re going to lose possession.
Milan were too reliant on these over-the-top through balls, when in fact, we need to be playing short, sharp passes in the midfield, and gradually building our way towards the opposition’s goal. With no one supporting De Jong (or Nocerino or whoever drops into that position), we lost possession very cheaply on numerous occasions, also because the short passes that they tried to execute weren’t coming off, due to poor running off the ball and getting into space. The difference with Monty was that he was able to create play, and his passing, running and shooting were all excellent (except for that one ridiculous moment when he tried to go for a nutmeg).
A frustrating display from Milan, but mainly, I think that Allegri failed us that match. His substitutions were the right decisions, however the team we ended the match with was much stronger than the team we started the match with, and that should not be the case. I understand Allegri when he decided to not start Honda or Pazzo, but if Monto was granted that start (and arguably Rami over Bonera), the result would have been very different.
Just a quick introduction of who I am; I'm 17 years old, currently in my last year of school in Japan, and I've been supporting Milan since 2008. This should've been a easy win, and it's definitely a bad way to start my day (currently 7:20 am over here). Thanks for reading.