A couple of quick hits to carry us through the weekend…
-I am not all that alarmed or concerned regarding the team’s seemingly tough match against Novara. The real only fault I found in the performance was the lack of killer instinct to put the game away and allowing Novara a chance to stay in the game which only intensifies a minnow’s desire for an upset and makes the harder to manage than it should be. Had Pippo been rewarded with two goals early for his tireless effort this game would have been over by halftime, either way the team took care of business and got the job and now meet Udinese in the next round, one of the few teams who has actually beat Milan this campaign and should be an interesting both in Serie A and in the Cup. I was impressed by the work of DeVito, at 17 he looks a bit raw, but the foundation is there and I look forward to seeing more of him in action. Di Gennaro was also OK, but at times looked lost tactically which may have been a formation issue, his replacement was Verdi was fun to watch as well and I no longer have such low hopes for some of the youngsters in the primavera setup. I would hope Leo can learn from this game and employ these players in roles that are both confidence building and challenging so they can further progress.
- Pato appears to have aggravated his muscular injury in his thigh and he may not play on the weekend. The team will survive and it is imperative he gets healthy for the Derby and is not rushed back for no reason. Leo will probably role out the same squad against Siena as he did against Juventus with Flamini filling in for a suspended Ambrosini.
-Former Milan loan man Senderos is said to have a pre-contract in place with a Serie A club. Early reports are claiming that this may be with Genoa, I am sure more than a few teams are concerned about possibility adding him to the squad. While I never rated him very highly he played admirably last season for Milan when needed and he probably gets less credit than he deserves. I would certainly prefer a young Italian, but for a team that lacks depth in a lot of places adding Senderos wouldn’t be the worst thing on Earth, he certainly isn’t a downgrade over Favalli and Kaladze, right?
-There appears to be little news regarding the recovery of Clarence Seedorf, which isn’t all that bad. If Leo likes what Pirlo is doing in front of two DMs in the midfield then he and Seedorf can rotate and allow Leo a tactical flexibility that we could have only dreamed earlier in the season. It also allows Leo a bit diversity in the formation that will keep opponents on guard depending on who is put into the three roles in the midfield. As long as no one becomes a cry baby about playing time this injury may have forced the coaches’ hand and found an ever better employment of the 4-3-3 for the squad.
-Rino, one of the most vocal against the leaving of Carletto, finally seems to be getting onto the Leo bandwagon. This is far more important than it looks because Rino is techinically one of the “old guard” and no Club will be successful with the alienation of players respected by teammates and fans. If he can accept his new role at the Club it will only benefit him and Milan, and we won’t have to say good bye to yet another fixture of the Rossoneri.
-I didn’t mention KJH in the Novara piece because I wanted to give him his own section, to basically to say I am not impressed or pleased. When a player is brought in with high expectations and a decent transfer fee I can’t help but raise my hopes and expect some solid play, the problem is I never drank the KJH kool-aid in the first place. Yes, he scored goals in Holland, but his play at Madrid was poor and Fester should have known better than to bring him to Italy where defenses are tougher and goals are harder to come by. While he may be talented, he has shown little in the way of work ethic or aggression on the pitch to make him valuable to Leo. He has not earned playing time by any stretch of the word, and at this point he doesn’t even make a logical substitute for any front line player in the 4-3-3. While many were hoping for the next Van Basten, we have stumbled upon a player with the mobility and confidence of an Orange traffic cone. It may be best we try to part ways while there may still be some value to his name. If anyone has an argument to the contrary about this one I am more than happy to be swayed, but at this point I am beginning to lose hope for his chances at success.