We have many a discussion on the merits of youth versus experience on this blog. I for one have always preferred the wily veteran to the exuberant 20 year old if merely for the sake of strong nerves and previous experience. For this first time since early in the 2000's Milan is undertaking bit of a youth movement, and like the previous one before it, it has had it's ups and downs. Now to be clear, I am not against it, and have experienced enough success as fan of this Club to make a very plain statement, even if we never win another trophy again this team has given me enough success to last a lifetime. Now that is a strong statement, and one that I stand behind and wonder where some fans stand on, but simply put a trophy is not a right! Rant over, onto the pitfalls of youth.
Not to pick on DeSciglio and El Sharaawy, who have had breakout campaigns this season, and done more than enough for this team at their young age. However, Sunday was a prime example of the pitfalls of youth. Sunday's match against Fiorentina was a prime example of how quickly things can go south in Serie A. 2-0 lead, a man advantage, and what seemed like three points in the bag. Things completely changed on the poor call in the 66th minute and Fiorentina was awarded PK, against the run of play, and really while Milan was in control. Had this been a bit more veteran team, the game would have slowed down, possession would have been maintained and systematic fouling in the middle of the pitch would have ensued. Is it pretty? No, is it a bit shiesty? Yes, but it is exactly what needs to be done to win a match. The point being is both DeSciglio and El Sharaawy who have shown tremendous maturity throughout the season gave the ball away, made poor decisions and as the pressure mounted they seemed to frazzle. Now, this was shocking, as I said both have looked wise beyond their years, but Sunday was an exception, which happens from time to with youth.
Now Couch Coaches will say things like Allegri should have calmed the squad, made different subs. Easy statements in hindsight, but there is no button on the bench to calm the team. Not to mention Max went for the win, as he should have, but his team was not up for the task. Now again, I am not picking up on our more "green" players, but when the going gets tough you need to get a tougher. Cagier, wilier, outsmart your opponents not just outplay. The beauty is we paid the price on Sunday, two points to be exact, but good players like DeSciglio and El Sharaawy won't let that same mistake happen twice and Milan will be better for it. Paying the price now for a better future...
So yes, youth has it's ups and downs, but this year's ups have far outweighed the downs and pleasantly surprised. The team will better for it, and the new Milan will built on learning experiences like this one. Now to deal with the pitfalls of Tagliavento, maybe that's a subject for a different post!