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CL Recap: Atletico 4 Milan 1

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I have been rather jaded and speechless since Tuesday, but time to break the silence.

Denis Doyle

The mission was rather simple, keep a clean sheet.  That was gone in three minutes, three minutes.  That is 180 seconds, which meant the already impossible task was now unachievable.  Sure Kaka gave us a sliver of hope as he always does, but in the end it was just a sliver as Milan didn't concede just one, they conceded four and all the criticisms I had levied on this team and Seedorf all seemed rather justified in that moment in time.

The difficulty I have is down to ideology.  How can a Coach enter a match as challenging as this one, knowing what needs to be accomplished, and deploy the team the way he did.  First and foremost it appeared the team was not ready for the first whistle and this is not the first time and it would seem it doesn't matter who the Coach is.  This is a team made up of mentally fragile players who lack the fortitude to overcome adversity.  Mix in the fact that their goal on this night was to attack first and defend later, conceding early was a true testament to this team's lack of organization and tactical awareness.  A mediocre team, such as this one, can be shaped tactically to avoid catastrophic defeat, Clarence doesn't understand this or much of anything really.    The problem on this day was that a mediocre team was asked to do what it couldn't and the result was there for all to see. Prior to the match he smiled, as he has done over and over again the last few weeks and spoke about heart.  Coaches who speak about heart often do because they know nothing of tactics and three losses on the trot makes that painfully clear.

Not for a single minute of the ninety did this team appear cagey or tactically adept, it was wide open football akin to a boxer with no regard for his chin and his only outlet being wild haymakers every few minutes while being turned to ground beef the rest of the match.  Sure Milan won the statistical battle of possession but frankly I am tired of that statistic as it is giving Milan nothing in the end.  If this is the "pretty" football everyone has been pining over, I will gladly take ugly football any day.  Watching Atletico's tactical organization and hard nosed grit reminded me of what Milan was and further reinforced what it has become.  The team was not ready, the Coach was over matched, and with the bell has rung on the season.