Milan v Parma Post-Match Comments

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This image is the difference between Milan of past, and Milan of present. Antonio Cassano spent a couple seasons pouting, complaining, cardiac-arresting in a plane, barely surviving, and helping Milan to Max Allegri’s Scudetto, a glass of water in the middle of the desert that is AC Milan.

Hustle, that’s what Inzaghi was looking for. Much was made of his 4-3-3 formation (which featured no true #9’s, but hey, some people enjoy using formations and extrapolating from there) but the main change of Inzaghi has always been clear, “I want to rebuild the DNA”.

It’s not a new line, Seedorf called himself the “Antidote” before requiring another two years to figure it out while Milan funds his pension. But even under Seedorf’s best days, the most noticeable facet of his sides was the relative creativity with which his “3 #10” formation in Seedorf’s opening matches.

Unfortunately when places against more credible tacticians, Seedorf stumbled a bit, not unlike his predecessor Max Allegri. While it’s far too soon to compare Inzaghi to his predecessors, one thing is clear, there IS some sort of mental difference between his side, and that of Seedorf and most staggeringly against the Milan of Allegri.

Allegri had his positives, but he never managed to make his side look as if they were invested in the result. Barring Zlatan’s intensity, the slow death of the senators marked the death of duty at Milanello. The only remaining senator is now in charge of the dressing room, and from early indications, his first mission is to back up and re-teach the mentality that was lost.

Don’t take it from me though, Inzaghi himself has said it for weeks, insisting that his side be prepared for the first match of the season. As usual from an Italian side, Milan featured a vastly underwhelming preseason, and it’s almost as if a light switch has been flicked and suddenly the Milan players have realized that the light is on and it’s time to wake up for school.

Effort, togetherness, and cohesion – that’s what Inzaghi strove towards. No goals, no point totals to achieve (at least publicly, and for what it’s worth, Galliani insists privately as well) and interestingly, this situation lies in start contrast to Seedorf’s situation. Clarence was hired with the belief that he would have the first few months to assess the squad (which he deemed inadequate) however, his handling of the squad combined with the increasingly large artillery shells being fired between Barbara and Galliani saw the Dutchman begin his leave.

So how does Inzaghi avoid that? Win? By and large Seedorf did, so perhaps, win more is the advice. Does he need to develop a new style like may said Allegri needed to do at Juve?  From what I’ve seen, Allegri is smart enough to not tinker with the Juventus philosophy and tweak as needed. Max is basically steering a ship with the parts on board, whereas Inzaghi has to figure out who deserves to float, and who deserves to sink first. Assume that was done over the summer.

Now he has to fix the PTSD that hangs over Milanello like a smog. And so far, so good. Two games in is too early to claim he’s made lasting changes or has turned the corner, but one undeniable aspect is progress from Seedorf, which to me, is the starting spot for judgment.

Random Thoughts: Top Players-

Alex (Def) – Mopped up everything in the first half, shows a few positional issues when locating his partner, but the fact it’s Bonera mitigates a lot of that doubt. Slow, but aware enough of that to counter it. Was constantly in the danger areas, and always a source of defusing the danger. Excellent signing.

De Jong (Mid) – Like Alex, mopped up the center of the pitch, marked Cassano as he dropped off, and was even willing to step up into passing lanes when the side-stepped as a whole to win possession, which happened on several occasions, and seems to suit De Jong’s aggressive style. The only worry is a technically proficient side may use this pressing to dink a ball over the top of the midfield, into the space between the lines, and Milan’s CB/NdJ don’t have the pace to cover.

Menez (Att) – Undroppable in this sort of form. I’m excited to see Torres, and have a #9 finish the opportunities floated into the box, but pushing Menez to a flank worries me. While Menez performed more than admirably beating his man to the byline on several occasions, the flexibility in the center of the pitch is really what opened up all the lanes and space for the front three to drop into. Torres will re-align this balance, and if I’m Inzaghi, I may not tinker with this system yet.  With regards to creativity, Menez was doing things not seen by Milan supporters since the Champions League brought players of quality onto the pitch.  One thing is apparent from the two games we’ve seen of Menez – he’s a player capable of making the difference for a side. The frustrating aspect of his past is that he’s not always been able to harness that, whether for effort, mental toughness, or physical ability. Menez spoke and said Inzaghi’s meeting with Menez in Ibiza locked him into the Rossoneri, with Inzaghi saying he has confidence in Menez and expects him to be a protagonist, unlike what he was at PSG. So if the problem with the consistency is either the effort or the mental toughness, Inzaghi seemingly is the man to help Menez get over the hump. But if it’s a physical limitation, Milanello is certainly the last place to be; luckily until now, it doesn’t appear that it is, and Menez looks set to continue improving.


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About Pete Acquaviva

Pete writes about Milan on this blog. Occasionally other things. You would know which of them it is if you've gotten this far.

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