It is no secret that Milan manager Vincenzo Montella has failed to identify when his team has been struggling on the pitch, and as a result his job security has come into question. The Rossoneri are only six games into the season, but unacceptable results have already prompted club CEO Marco Fassone to express his disappointment.
“After this defeat, Montella and Massimiliano Mirabelli will review the tactics and technical aspects of the team. From my point of view, as an outsider, the thing that I disliked the most was the team spirit shown by AC Milan during the first 60 minutes of the game,” Fassone said to Milan TV after the club’s atrocious display versus Sampdoria this past weekend.
Although the play of the team as a whole versus Sampdoria was quite embarrassing, Montella made two fatal errors in his team selections which had Milan doomed from the start.
Cristián Zapata has had his solid performances every now and then, but after the club’s expensive summer he shouldn’t be considered anything else but a substitute/depth option. Milan already has three top center backs in all of Italy in Leonardo Bonucci, Mateo Musacchio, and Alessio Romagnoli. In a seemingly inexplicable decision, however, Montella opted for Zapata over a well rested and healthy Musacchio. The result of this decision was disastrous, as most would agree that Zapata was the flop of the match as he was the main culprit for the opposition’s goals.
The second error was using Suso in the role of a second-striker yet again. Suso made a name for himself in world football as one of the more exciting wingers in all of Italy last season, yet Montella has attempted to experiment with him and take him away from his preferred role. Suso was positioned behind main striker Nikola Kalinić, the same role he had versus Udinese a week before the Sampdoria fixture. Suso’s display versus Udinese was his worst in a while as he simply does not fit the role of the second-striker, but Montella didn’t seem to see that. Milan faithful can only hope to see Suso positioned in his preferred wing position soon as he quite often turns in man-of-the-match performances from the right flank.
Besides Montella’s selection blunders, his tactical knowledge has also come into question. He has failed to wisely utilize his substitutions in the clubs two league losses thus far. Milan was by all means flat and outright dreadful since the opening whistle versus Sampdoria, but Montella failed to make the changes necessary to shake things up. He didn’t make changes until the 78th minute, seven minutes after Sampdoria netted their first of two goals. With the way Milan was playing and the players available on the bench, Montella’s tactical decision to keep the same players on the pitch was completely inexcusable.
Milan’s next match at home versus Rijeka should not be a struggle, but matches versus AS Roma, Inter Milan, and Juventus are on the horizon this coming October. If the aforementioned issues aren’t fixed by then and the club continues to struggle versus quality opponents, then hiring a new manager may soon be on top of Fassone’s to-do list.