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Analysing Giampaolo’s Pre-Season Decisions To This Point

Milan have spent some time in training and there are already reports of Giampaolo’s tests. Here is a short analysis of the new coaching at Milanello:

FC Internazionale v UC Sampdoria - Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

AC Milan have spent some time in training and there are already reports of Giampaolo's tests. Here is a short analysis of the new coaching at Milanello:

Giampaolo’s staff took shape and there are three standout names in Francesco Conti, Stefano Rapetti and Daniele Bonera. Conti will be Giampaolo’s assistant following an extensive career as an assistant manager under Luigi Del Neri that saw him manage the likes of Juventus in 2010/11, Genoa 12/13 and AS Roma in 2004/05. He has worked under Giampaolo since 2016/17 at Sampdoria and will be key to getting the players to adopt new philosophies. Rapetti is another notable addition to the bench as he has been a key fitness coach for Jose Mourinho in Serie A and the Premier League. Rapetti was the fitness coach at Inter between 2009 and 2013 including their treble winning year and was most recently at Manchester United for 2018/19 before choosing to reunite with Giampaolo at Milan. Lastly, Milan will be welcoming a veteran in Daniele Bonera who hung up his boots after a 4 year stint in Spain with Villarreal. The former Milan centre-back was with the club for 9 seasons and is a consummate professional who will look to focus on man management.

Giampaolo has begun moulding the team into his favoured 4-3-1-2 however the mock line-ups he has been using have been greatly misjudged online as they are temporary given the number of Milan starters absent due to national commitments and injuries. Giampaolo has reportedly been running with a backline of Davide Calabria, Mateo Musacchio, Alessio Romagnoli and Ricardo Rodriguez; this is pretty standard and there will likely be competition at RB and LB with Andrea Conti and Theo Hernandez looking to break in. Giampaolo’s holding midfielder has been Lucas Biglia as he is the only option at the moment, however, the arrival of Ismael Bennacer is imminent. The mezzala’s are reportedly Hakan Calhanoglu and Rade Krunic for the moment, although Krunic will play as the RCM, Calhanoglu will likely be shifted forward as the backup CAM. Franck Kessie is currently on holiday following the Africa Cup of Nations and Giacomo Bonaventura is still sidelined due to his injury but these two will likely be the starters unless Milan purchase another LCM. Much has been made of Suso being positioned as the trequartista but this is an effect of the choice again as Paqueta is not yet back in Milan following the Copa America thus Rossoneri fans need to bear in mind that Suso being tested as the CAM will not automatically grant him the starting spot. Lastly, the attack is made up of Krzysztof Piatek and Andre Silva as expected and Patrick Cutrone will probably be a sub although he has only returned to training this week.

There have been a few reports on the demeanour of Giampaolo and his process of noting things down, these are rather random to me as managers obviously differ in their approaches and this does not really say much to the quality of the outcome. The interesting thing to note is the focus on fitness and technical improvements and the insistence on understanding the idea of possession football. This summer will be critical for Milan as this group of players will be shifting from a rather conservative approach over the past few years to an attacking one and it is up to Giampaolo to ingrain his philosophies into the players minds. It will be interesting to watch the team play in the upcoming International Champions Cup in the US to try an see the changes.

Also, Milan will be playing Novara in a friendly match today and it would to see the early progress of the new coaching staff and footballing ideas that are taking shape at Milanello.