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Are Milan's Struggles a Matter of Coaching?

To date, Milan's performance this season has been worse than last season's disaster. But is it a matter of coaching?

Under the tutelage of Filippo Inzaghi, Milan struggled to a 10th-place finish during the 2014-15 season.
Under the tutelage of Filippo Inzaghi, Milan struggled to a 10th-place finish during the 2014-15 season.
Dino Panato/Getty Images

As it was last season, the expectation for Milan this season is to bounce back from a disappointing campaign.

Given the presence of an experienced coach and the addition of players like Andrea Bertolacci, Alessio Romagnoli and Carlos Bacca, Milan should be able to improve on last year's 10th-place finish. It turns out that the opposite is true.

Comparing last season and the start of this season may be premature, but it is hard to ignore the fact Filippo Inzaghi's men were playing better in the first seven games of the season than Sinisa Mihajlovic's. The Inzaghi-led Milan started the season strong, racking up 14 points—four wins and two draws—in seven matches. Mihajlovic's men have nine points from 3 wins in seven matches. Five points is a substantial difference in football. Right now, it would not only be the difference between 11th place and fourth, but criticism toward Mihajlovic his squad is justifiable. Milan scored eight goals this season compared to 16 at this point last year. This is pretty ridiculous, considering Jeremy Menez was leading the attack last year while this year's attack features Bacca, Luiz Adriano and Mario Balotelli.

In the next seven games, however, Inzaghi's men only managed seven points and the goal-scoring legend was undoubtedly overwhelmed in his new position. It seems as if Mihajlovic is genuinely trying to change around Milan with his recent comments.

"(Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi and I) talked about football and a few other things," Mihajlovic said of his discussions after Milan's 4-0 loss to Napoli. "It was a constructive talk in which we spoke and reasoned about the problems and what needs to be done. We talk on a daily basis, discussing the problems and how to resolve them."

Mihajlovic then made a bold statement.

"I'm serene and convinced that we'll emerge from this moment," he said. "I called (Berlusconi) because it's only right that we talk after every game. We've done that right from the start so it's nothing out of the ordinary."

As long as Mihajlovic gets more than 12 points in the next seven games (which should definitely be done or Milan is in a true crisis), he will have exceeded Inzaghi's number of points through 14 matches. As of now, however, it looks like Milan was better off last season. If Milan continues to struggle it will further support the notion the issue is not with the coach, since Milan have gone from one coach to another, but with Berlusconi and Adriano Galliani.