Why Filippo Inzaghi Must Introduce a Hard Line at AC Milan

Colin O'BrienContributor IJuly 15, 2014

AC Milan coach Filippo Inzaghi, center, poses flanked by AC Milan vice president Barbara Berlusconi, right, and vice president Adriano Galliani during the presentation of the upcoming 2014-15 season at the AC Milan headquarter in Milan, Italy, Thursday, July 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Luca Bruno/Associated Press

Former manager Clarence Seedorf tried to force a change at Milan, and he was right to. Unfortunately, he struggled to get results on the pitch, and the players and his back-room staff reacted negatively to his authoritarian personality. 

Long-time assistant manager Mauro Tassotti was highly critical of Seedorf when speaking to the Italian press (as reported by La Gazzetta dello Sportvia goal.com), and speaking to the Italian daily La Repubblica last month, Giampaolo Pazzini was also disparaging of the former midfielder-turned-manager, telling reporters that there had been plenty of issues behind closed doors and that the lack of results made things worse.

As well as suggesting that Seedorf had clashed with several senior figures in the Milan set-up, Pazzini lamented the fact that under the Dutchman, he and Mario Balotelli didn't play together—something that a lot of people believe could be the answer to the Rossoneri's problems. 

The new man in charge, Filippo Inzaghi, will need to continue the work started by his former teammate, but he'll need to build consensus in the dressing room—and win games. To do that, he'll need to make sure that everyone is giving 100 percent and that every member of his team is on his side and working towards the same goal. 

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Inzaghi is hoping to achieve those aims with some strict new rules but also by using the best of his experience as a player, particularly under Carlo Ancelotti. 

The paper reports that players are now expected to wake at 7:45 a.m. to eat before training, and mobile phones have been banned. Everyone needs to be in the dressing room 45 minutes before sessions, and delays will not be tolerated.

Inzaghi had some success building work ethic and a united mentality with similar rules while in charge of the youth team at Milanello, but since making the step up to senior management, the debutant coach will also hope to make use of his experience under Ancelotti, who enjoyed so much success at the San Siro while Inzaghi was a player.

The Gazzetta says that the former striker will seek to emulate Carletto, a manager famous for building friendly relationships in the dressing room and who, rather than being a dictator in the dressing room, prefers to use dialogue with his players to get results. 

Young players like Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy should react well to a more understanding coach who they can approach directly with problems while older players like Pazzini should be happy to feel more included in the rebuilding process. 

Inzaghi will want to run things his way, but the players and people like Tassotti can all contribute to a huge pool of experience and ideas that the new manager can use to his advantage. Pippo will want to be like Ancelottiunquestionably in charge but always open to suggestions.

He'll need to be if he wants to strike a balance between harmony in the dressing room and hard work on the training ground because there's a lot to be done to get Milan back to the top of the Italian game.