While I sit here and watch Jovetic throw his own coming out party against our old Scouser adversaries, I can’t help but think if a player from own squad is able to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and wreak havoc for the opposition. Jovetic’s pace, hunger for the ball, and work rate are will give Skrtel and Carragher nightmares for weeks and not since Kaka versus Manchester United has Milan seen a performance like this. Sure you could argue that Pato had a gem against Roma last January, but Vucinic was just as good, you could even look as recently as last week and say that Pippo and Seedorf shouldered the load against OM, but that is also a stretch. The bottom line, aside from our green coach and lack of depth, is that Milan no longer have that player that scares the opposition, we no longer have a danger man, and we sure as heck don’t have a hero.
So as I prepare myself for what should be a good win for Milan who has not lost a CL game at home since Arsenal (yes I am fully aware we have not played a CL game at home since that lost, I am trying to be optimistic here!), I no longer believe we can take any team or game for granted. From what I have seen in Milan’s recent performances, the only way to knick a win is to bring a high work rate and solid defense because we certainly cannot win on flash and dash. With our creeky old roster that high work rate seems impossible at the moment and how Leo decides to get that is a mystery.
Today Leo was quoted as follows,
“Rather than focusing on the training sessions, it's the discussions between us that count the most towards our improvement. With those discussions complete, we are now thinking about how we can play better in the next game rather than looking at what didn't work in the last.”
I am personally of the mind that some good old fashioned hard work never hurt anyone, especially a group of over paid complacent old men, but it looks as though Leo prefers the hand holding discussion based session that is paying dividends on the pitch.
If it was my call I would use the old dogs on CL matches: Zambro, Nesta, Oddo, Seedorf, Pippo, Pirlo and so on. Rely on their experience and gamesmanship to lead the squad on European nights. Then begin the so called youth movement in Serie A, with the use of Ronaldinho, who may find some motivation with youthful exuberance running all over the pitch around him. At this point I don’t even know if I can find a negative in this assessment, if we are going to lose in Serie A and play hard in the CL why not get some experience for a handful players. Leo’s current recipe will probably spell the end of Pirlo and Seedorf by Christmas.
Can we beat Zurich? Sure we can, in the same way we could have beat Bari and Livorno, so nothing is a sure fire bet. At this point or goal or two would be fantastic to prove that we can still find the net, and any semblance of work ethic and tactics would be a small victory as well. My optimism is not totally gone, but as you can see it is guarded, and a win in this match is almost a must if Milan wants any chance of knockout football. History says it will be our night, but with the current state affairs even history is no longer an ally.