MILAN (Reuters) – Five talking-points from the Serie A weekend
CRISIS-TIME AT MILAN
AC Milan’s derby defeat to Inter Milan on Saturday has sent the seven-times European champions spiralling into their first crisis of the season, after only four games.
Naturally, most of the pressure is being heaped on their new coach Marco Giampaolo and the club’s decision to appoint a man whose best-ever finish in Serie A before this season was a ninth place with Sampdoria, is already being questioned.
Milan, with two wins and two draws, have scored only two goals so far — including one from open play — and Giampaolo’s 4-3-1-2 system is already been written off as ineffective.
However, there has also been criticism of chief executive Ivan Gazidis, the former Croatia international Zvonimir Boban, who left FIFA to take up a the newly created post of chief football officer, and sporting director Paolo Maldini.
Milan’s transfer policy, in particular, is under the spotlight. With their spending limited by UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, Milan concentrated on signing youngsters with promise but the newcomers did not include any established names.
The main signings were striker Rafael Leao (20) from Lille, Theo Hernandez (21) from Real Madrid, Leo Duarte (23) from Flamengo and Ismael Bennacer (21) from Empoli. The most experienced was striker Ante Rebic (25) on loan from Eintracht Frankfurt.
However, they have been little used so far. Leao has started one game, Hernandez has played 18 minutes, Bennacer has spent the last two matches on the bench, Duarte has yet to get on the field and Rebic has made two substitute appearances.
THESAMEPROBLEM AS GATTUSO’S MILAN
Giampaolo said that the team started the derby well but failed to react after going behind — exactly the same problem that dogged his predecessor Gennaro Gattuso last season.
“The thing I didn’t like was the disorganised reaction,” he said. “We were too instinctive and got carried away. We lost our structure and opened up to their counter-attack.
“That goes to show that you need to know how to stay focused in this game – being tactically organised, understanding a team mate might lost possession and avoid being outnumbered on a counter. That is something you learn with work, time and experience.”
IMMOBILEAPOLOGISESFORANGRYREACTION TO SUBSTITUTION
Lazio forward Ciro Immobile has apologised for his furious reaction to being substituted in the 2-0 win over Parma. The 29-year-old — who recently ended a two-year goal drought for Italy with his goal against Finland — gesticulated angrily and ranted as he made his way back to the bench.
“Sometimes the pressure and the tension makes us do things we shouldn’t do,” he wrote on Instagram.
His coach Simone Inzaghi, however, was sympathetic, saying Immobile had been affected by the defeats to SPAL and Cluj in the previous week.
“Ciro is one of those who suffers most with bad results,” he said. “He had to let it out.. ..I let him stew a little and then told him that was enough. He will realise it was over the top but the last few days have not been easy for any of us.”
FIORENTINAEXTENDWINLESSRUN TO 18 MATCHES
Fiorentina extended their winless run to 18 Serie A matches when they conceded a stoppage time equaliser to Atalanta in their 2-2 draw. Their last win was against SPAL on Feb. 7
“I won’t sleep tonight but at the same time I have to look at the overall journey of this Fiorentina team and say we are on the right track, said coach Vincenzo Montella.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)