Milan and Massimiliano Allegri need to end their tumultuous relationship very soon; preferably immediately.
Their relationship, oddly enough, has a real-life parallel. Allegri and Milan are like a couple who were once happy, but now only fight all the time. Yet, despite their nasty fights, refuse to admit there is any real problem.
Maybe it's because neither wants to leave and they are determined to make it work, or maybe it's because both are frightened by what's out there if they do part ways.
The devil you know is better than the devil you don't, right?
For some reason, Milan is dancing around the speculation and the incredibly obvious problems its relationship with Allegri is causing, not only for the well-being of the team but for the coach as well.
The best possible outcome is for both parties to sever the relationship. So far, for whatever reason, they haven't, but Milan should think about doing so sooner rather than later.
Whether the Rossoneri will compete this season or not, at this point, is irrelevant. For the benefit of the team, now and going forward, they need to get rid of Allegri.
Funny how a year quickly changes feelings
Allgeri's relationship with his players has become noticeably strained, but it could possibly be getting worse for the coach.
Calling it a "civil war" is obviously an over-exaggeration, but the reports of frustration and "heavy atmosphere" just further emphasize the point that Allegri and the players have a massive problem.
If the coach does not have control of the players, then there's no hope for them. The team won't want to rally around their shared dislike for their coach and magically achieve success.
I mean, never say never because if the team miraculously went on to win the scudetto, I think things might change. Call it a hunch, but I say it's highly unlikely that happens.
Maybe I'm putting too much stock in how much the coach's relationship with his players affects the team's play, but I think some results may say otherwise.
Juventus were floundering under Ciro Ferrara, but are now flourishing under Antonio Conte. The same can be said about the influence Andrea Stramaccioni has had at Inter.
Granted, both of those teams may have better players at their disposal than Milan has right now, but it's not like there's no quality. Something just seems to be standing in the way.
I think we all know what, or who, it could be.
I'd say the general feeling of their conversations is captured here
If a coach is in trouble when he loses his players, then he's all but gone when he loses the confidence of the guys who run the team.
Now, you may think I'm crazy for saying that because vice-president Adriano Galliani and owner Silvio Berlusconi have both recently praised Allegri and the job he has done. Those words, though, should be taken with a pinch of salt.
To me, it's clear Galliani does not want Allegri coaching Milan. Despite him constantly saying otherwise, you can gauge the general feeling between the two is strained, at best.
When you don't have the confidence of the guys in charge, chances are good that they won't be listening or supporting your ideas. Allegri, then, is dead in the water.
It's time for Galliani and co. to stop beating around the bush and put a stop to this drawn out saga. Either you want him to stay or you don't.
All the signs point to the latter, so just cut the cord, and everyone can move on with their lives.
Allegri may not have a lot at his disposal, but that's still doesn't excuse him from critique.
I've said it before and I'll continue to do so, Milan cannot continue to play with this new 3-4-3 system.
This formation led the team to wins over Genoa and Chievo, draws with Palermo and Napoli and a loss to Fiorentina. Before you praise the tactics in those wins and draws, remember that three of those four teams are in the relegation zone.
The Fiorentina loss was a perfect example to show why Allegri's strategy isn't working. The team lacks the quality to play with that style of defense.
Case in point—Borja Valero's goal. I remember being amazed at how Philippe Mexes blocked him and Valero just went right through him to shoot on goal. That's unacceptable defending that will continue to get exposed without proper support.
Also, save for Stephan El Shaarawy and Riccardo Montolivo, I think the forwards and attacking midfielders are offensively challenged.
Suffice to say, you cannot continue to play with this system when the front and back ends are sloppy and ineffective. Again, not the best players at his disposal, but you have to admit when your tactics are wrong, too.
Milan could make Champions League again
Believe it or not, the season is not a total loss for Milan.
Things may be looking bleak for the Rossoneri, but they can turn things around. Milan can concievably fight for the final Italian Champions League spot.
After how dreadfully Milan started their Serie A campaign, qualifying for the Champions League would be almost as satisfying as winning the scudetto.
Right now, after their draw with Napoli, Milan are currently 10th in the Serie A table. Lazio currently sits fifth, the final Champions League spot, with 23 points—only eight more than Milan.
It won't be an easy task for Milan as the other teams ahead of the Rossoneri are no scrub teams. Milan should be encouraged that, of those seven teams standing in the way of Champions League qualification, only two of those teams have a positive goal differential, though Catania's is even.
Coincidentally, it was Allegri who first suggested this idea, and it is actually possible. Even more of a coincidence, or maybe it isn't, is that it could possibly happen as a result of his departure.
If replacing him will bring about the positive results, like everyone expects, then that alone is enough reason for Milan to make this move.
Milan's first choice is Guardiola
It's time for Milan to fire Allegri and finally make a decision on who they would like to take over.
There has been speculation amongst fans and TV broadcasters for a while over who Milan is interested in and who would be the best guy to take on the job. Bear in mind, there's a good chance that those two candidates do not overlap.
Unless Milan gets who they want.
Pep Guardiola has been Milan's first choice to take over since he left Barcelona. I know that he said he wasn't going to coach again this season, but, in the end, money talks. If Berlusconi and Galliani want their man, they can get him.
And who's to say Guardiola wouldn't want the challenge of taking over Milan? I'm sure he'd like to prove that he can accomplish great things outside of Barcelona.
They seem like a match, but, even if it's not Guardiola, Milan just needs to make a decision. The process, like I've been saying, has taken long enough. It's time to see some result of it.
They could even go the route of rivals Inter and hire their youth coach because he knows the players and the system.
Either way, they need to make a decision quickly to move on to seeing results from the team. And it starts with getting rid of Allegri.
It seems like it's been a while since anyone was this happy at Milan
I may sound like a broken record, but it's time for a new Milan to emerge from the rubble of the former Milan.
It has not been a great year for Milan, and Allegri has been front and center of the blame. Granted, how much of that blame is really his is debatable.
The Rossoneri did sell their two best players, in an attempt to free themselves from outrageous player wages, and then weren't able to bring the players needed to compete.
That blame falls on Galliani and the others who make those decisions, but Allegri is not absolved from blame and neither are the players themselves.
Since you can't fire the entire team, someone has to take the fall. Unfortunately for him, the guy to get it is Allegri. However, it's hard to feel too sorry, considering he'll still collect a paycheck and he is actually deserving of some of this.
Regardless of how you see this situation, this is what needs to happen for Milan to start building towards this new era.
A new coach with fresh ideas, and even some new players possibly coming in January, is the only thing that would accomplish this task.