Although a loss in the 90’ is bitter for Milanisti, there were bright spots for the red and blacks, though they don’t come without some dark spots as well.
The defense is talented, but far from consistent
Part of the blame for the loss can go to Montella for his questionable formations and playing players out of position, and another part to the team’s apparent lack of communication. Icardi’s first two goals were a result of poor communication from a defensive standpoint, which is slightly understood when you factor in none of the players really have played together before being thrust into the Serie A campaign with such heavy expectations. That being said, Bonucci came in as the expected “sure-hand” but the captain has been anything but. Bonucci simply needs to take control of his line. It’s no secret to those who’ve played their entire life, professional or amateur, that the center back (especially the experienced captain) should be commanding his defensive line vocally and by example. It’s his example that will set the tone for when Romagnoli takes over (provided he picks his quality up). As individuals, the defenders are loaded with talent, and Musacchio really has yet to put in a poor shift this season, but what I saw was three center backs playing as individuals, not a unit. They’ve shown they can play well defensively in prior games, but if we want UCL qualification, we can’t continue to play on such an inconsistent basis.
The defense needs the most work, but the attack is far from a finished product
You love to see the fight from the lads to claw back after twice going behind in the game, but perhaps we had to claw back because of managerial errors as well. Not only was Suso played as a striker, where he doesn’t know how to play, but he was played on the left side as well, which entirely cancels his ability to cut in and create space. We saw why he’s so good on the right when he was shifted back over for Cutrone, with a lovely curling effort after sending two men the wrong way. Besides that, Milan’s attack doesn’t appear to have an identity yet. Players are constantly switched to new positions with no time to gel before someone else has replaced them. Andre Silva alongside Cutrone was the first change Montella has made all season that I agreed with, but it should’ve been from the start, not at the half. Montella supposedly has the backing to change the side and get results before he gets sacked. Let’s hope he can adjust before it’s too late.
We need results and while I don’t have the most faith in Montella, we were better than the result
Something Montella said must’ve ignited a fire within the side because the team in the second half was not the same as the one who sluggishly started the first. They looked confident in possession and created chance after chance to the point where some Inter fans will tell you they were lucky to escape with three points (the realistic ones of course). That’s the Rossoneri we expect to see. With AEK on Thursday, we shouldn’t have to be worried as really this can be a game where players are experimented with. We’re ahead of the group by a lot and with Serie A points proving critical to come by as of now, we need a full-strength squad playing Sunday against Genoa. Genoa sits 16th and a good hammering from Milan will show fans that this isn’t a team that’s going to roll over when things go south.
Borini might have found solace in his new position
Let’s face the facts, Borini is not a good striker. He was questioned for his quality upon arriving at Milan, and rightfully so. That being said, he works hard and upon losing the ball will try to work to win it back. Montella’s decision to try him out at right wing-back was justified by his play against Inter. The first half saw him struggle with Nagatomo on that right side, but he owned it in the second half. He not only created the chance for the second equalizer, but he was integral in Milan’s bright second half on the offensive end as a whole. The defensive end could use some work, but that’s to be expected from a player who’s played striker his whole life. He takes part of the blame for Icardi’s second as he wasn’t able to hold off his man after Biglia gave the ball up.
Stability going forward is key
Montella appears to have found some stability in the 3-4-1-2 (though the defense could use some work). Although he seems to prefer him on the left, Calhanoglu makes for an excellent trequartista option if not Jack. That holding man behind the strikers is really the only role I can see Suso playing in that isn’t the right wing, so if Montella is so desperate to displace him from his position, perhaps he should look no further than the 10 spot. Bonaventura and Calhanoglu can just as easily slot themselves on the left side or in the middle. The big thing we need is stable positioning and formation. Players can’t gel with others or learn their role if that role is switched on a consistent basis. The only problem with the 3-4-1-2 is the depth. We have the players don’t get me wrong, but I enjoy seeing Jack, Calhanoglu, and Suso on the pitch all at once, and this formation doesn’t necessarily allow that. Montella needs to find his man and move forward while still finding vital roles for others. We can start with this though, Suso should not be up top.