After a busy summer transfer market, the Serie A expectations were clear for Vincenzo Montella and the squad from Marco Fassone and Massimo Mirabelli: finish in the top four spots for Champions League football next season. As of right now, though it’s very early, that goal is slowly fading away, after losing another big match to Roma.
Vincenzo Montella was given a contract extension from the new Milan management back in May, and even though he has a new squad to work with, the excuses are running out after every loss.
With strong teams such as Juventus, Napoli, Inter, Roma and Lazio all running the table, Montella’s Rossoneri side seems to be slowly fading away from them in the table after back-to-back losses to Sampdoria and Roma at the San Siro. Changes need to be made, whether it be personnel in the starting 11, tactics, or even a formation change. Aside from that, after the International break, the Milano Derby is on October 15th. This derby, a match as important as they come, is crucial and could be Montella’s final chance to keep his job with Milan.
Spaletti’s Inter have collected 19 out of 21 points so far, and could go 10 points up of rival Milan if they win the derby coming up in two weeks. If Montella is already that far behind the teams rivalling him for a Champions League spot, it may be time for a sacking, especially with Carlo Ancelotti sitting as a free agent. Fassone and Mirabelli have reportedly put their full trust in Montella, but who knows- that can change a lot if a third straight loss is handed to their side against another top side.
There’s been several questions regarding the job Montella has done so far this season, especially after having such a good season last year, with the squad at his disposal. Now, it’s not a lack of talent or quality. There are many players who bring different skills to the pitch that he can utilize, but it all comes down to the formation he plays, and how he can deploy all of his best players, including Suso, who didn’t see any action versus Roma, and Jack Bonaventura. As Hakan Calhanoglu’s performance in Serie A have been extremely lackluster, it’s time to get the stars of last season into the regular lineup, and that includes André Silva, who should be the number one striking option.
It’s not about the team playing extremely bad, however. In every match the Rossoneri have lost this season, it’s been down to individual mistakes costing them. In the Roma match, Dzeko had way too much space to get a shot off, and Musacchio deflected his attempt into the bottom corner after sliding in and trying to block the ball. On Florenzi’s goal, that really finished the game for the Rossoneri, Nainggolan was given way too much room to come in and shoot, with nobody marking the man after Gigio Donnarumma couldn’t parry the ball out. If the individual errors come to an end, so will Milan being on the losing side.
It doesn’t get any easier for Montella and his team if they withstand the Inter derby either. After that, a match against reigning Scudetto champions Juventus awaits at the end of October. If the Rossoneri want to have a chance at getting back to European glory, and not using the Europa League route this season, the team needs to change it’s act and fast, since other teams are picking up points week in, week out.
The ‘Derby Della Madonnina’ will be crucial for both teams as it usually is, but this match will have Montella’s job at stake, especially if his side doesn’t come out on top.