AC Milan: Can the Week-Long Training Retreat Rejuvenate a Lackluster Rossoneri?
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AC Milan's attempt to rejuvenate their struggling squad is admirable in theory, but futile in execution. Milan's problems will continue until the correct changes are made to the team.
It's been an up-and-down season for the Rossoneri so far, and the outlook doesn't seem to be getting any brighter. Serie A has been tightly contested, and, if they are looking to compete this season, Milan have dug themselves a large hole.
Gallinari's comments aren't cause for panic yet, but they certainly aren't reassuring for the Rossoneri or their fans. If the chairman is doubtful his own solution, albeit a temporary one, will work, it is a good indication that something else is wrong.
For the record, yes, they did win their first post-retreat game this past weekend. However, don't let that win get in the way of the big picture.
This Milan team is still massively troubled. Maybe I'm wrong, but no amount of training retreats, regardless of how long they last, will change that.
The Rossoneri, before Saturday's win over Genoa, had only two victories on the year. That is unacceptable for a team of Milan's caliber and pedigree.
When things are going wrong for a club, it seems everyone has the answers and knows who is mostly responsible for the problem. At Milan, everyone was looking at Massimiliano Allegri.
The coach has been at the center of discussion about Milan's failures, and fans have been calling for his head. No doubt he was under pressure before Saturday's match, but Allegri has been consistent in saying that he will not be leaving Milan.
The team at Allegri's disposal has been a shell of its former self this season. In spite of this, Allegri has tried to work with what he has been given, but things are obviously not working.
Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of Allegri's as a coach. I just feel, though, that people are overlooking the quality of the team as well.
As has been the case since this summer, the losses of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva are brought up as major contributing factors to Milan's poor form. Rightfully so, as they are two world-class players, but the time for excuses is over. Milan has to stop living in the past and move towards the future.
Allegri's tactics may not be working, but the team should also be held responsible during this trying time for Milan.
Allegri has done his best to combat these problems. He has urged that the team needs to play with confidence at every chance, and mixed and matched players with new formations to try and find something that works.
Allegri debuted a new a new system he had been tinkering with against Malaga in the Champions league. Milan brought its 3-4-3 formation to Genoa and picked up a victory that will silence some of the detractors.
Like I mentioned earlier, though, one game is not a rebirth for Milan. With the players that Milan has, I find myself doubting the success of this formation over the rest of this season. I'm not the only one shocked with the three-defender setup either. Gallinari (there he is again) chimed in and commented on his surprise with the new formation.
If I'm wrong, I'll eat crow, but I don't think the Rossoneri have the quality to pull this off. A system that overloads the defense in the middle, with three defenders and a holding midfielder, can work in the Italian leagues.
In fact, the success of many lower-tier teams, such as Genoa under Gian Piero Gasperini, has come with utilizing similar types of systems. The difference between those teams and Milan, though, is that those teams are not looking to win.
Try and convince us otherwise all they want, those teams are just looking to secure near-top of the table finishes. At Milan, the expectation is to win, or at the very least qualify for Champions League. Everything else is a failure.
These new tactics worked for the game against Genoa, and they could work against Palermo this week as well, but both of those teams, regardless of how troubling they can be, should be beaten by Milan. The real test is whether these tactics will hold up against the stronger Italian teams like Napoli and Juventus.
Francesco Acerbi, Daniele Bonera, Mario Yepes, Phillipe Mexes, Ignazio Abate, Luca Antonini...do any of those names strike you as impenetrable? Not really, but they will have to be great to stand up against the likes of Juve or Napoli.
No combination of those players listed could convince me of being a formidable defense. Sorry, I just don't trust them. Don't worry, though, I didn't forget the offense. Save for El Shaarawy, the entire offense has been brutal.
Still, a win is a win. Give credit to Milan, and Allegri, for stepping up and delivering when the pressure was on. Now continue to do so for the rest of the season, and, maybe then we'll believe in the rejuvenation.
If Milan wants to even think about rejuvenation, then changes need to be made—both with the coaching and with the players.
No amount of training will fix that.
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