The Rossoneri was able to return from Turin with a great result after humiliating Juventus 3-0 on their home turf. The lopsided score may have done the hosts some injustice as they did have the upper hand in the early proceedings but the manner of the victory, which was highlighted by clinical finishing, will certainly have pleased Coach Leonardo, Milan’s management and the tifosi.
The triumph allows Milan to pull four points clear of Juventus in second, and more significantly climb to within eight points of bitter city rivals Inter, having played a match less. The Rossoneri have scored an impressive eight goals in two matches after struggling all season long to find the back of the net, while relying on a strong defensive record to gather points. The resurgent Ronaldinho struck twice while Alessandro Nesta was solid at the back and paved the way for the win with the opening goal. Nesta’s defensive partner Thiago Silva continued his positive performances and has by now confirmed his worth to the club. The Brazilian centre-back and the immaculate Nesta have established a solid partnership which will rival, if not surpass, any other defensive duo in the Italian top flight.
Victories can often be used to paper over the deficiencies in a system or the weaknesses in certain positions. With Leonardo growing in stature and figuring his best formation while employing the suitable players, it is perhaps certain he acknowledges the need for a proven goal scorer and a full-back to complement the current squad. No disrespect to Marco Borriello, who has led the line well and excelled despite the absence of young prodigy Alexandre Pato, but Milan cannot rely on a couple of strikes while competing on three fronts. The reason the Rossoneri are in need of a top notch scorer lies in the fact Leonardo does not seem to rate the club’s summer signing Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
The Dutch striker has been confined to cameo appearances as he enters the pitch with a few minutes here and there to either kill-off time or serve as a rudimentary tactical switch. There is no need to discuss the full-back position considering it is a topic which has been highlighted time and again over the course of the season. It is vital to capture those two signings in order to cover the desired positions and allow the club to compete for the Serie A title and challenge in Europe as well. Against lesser opposition Milan will be able to cope but with the clash against Manchester United looming the Rossoneri can capitalise on the defensive frailties of the Red Devils (due to a long list of injuries to their backline) by acquiring a lethal striker. The defensive line will need to be strong as well, in particular the full-backs, in order to contend with the pace of the English club’s game and the speed of the club’s players.
Reverting back to the domestic front, the Rossoneri are on the verge of a very critical period, which will be highlighted by away clashes with Inter (practically on home turf given the two sides share the Giuseppe Meazza stadium) and Fiorentina before the end of the month. With victories coming fast and quick (except for the one blot on the record being the home defeat to Palermo prior to the winter break), Leonardo is growing in confidence and affirming he has finally come to fully grasp the monumental task on hand. The Brazilian is aware of the need to continuously achieve results while being able to cope with the media frenzy and withstanding tremendous pressure in case of failures. Managing a club with the stature and history of Milan is no easy feat and the Brazilian appears to have turned the corner at last following a dismal and inconsistent start to his coaching career at Milanello.
What appeared to be a disastrous move by Silvio Berlusconi and Adriano Galliani now appears to be a stroke of genius as he has successfully, albeit unconvincingly (results and performances against FC Zürich and Marseille left much to be desired) navigated through the group stage in the Champions League while retaining Milan’s interest in the Serie A title. The positive stretch of results has silenced some of the transfer rumours despite the continuous reports linking Dutch striker Huntelaar with a move away from Milan and the arrival of Wolfsburg’s Edin Džeko as a replacement.
Milan Club Focus 2009/10
Pre-season expectation – August 18, 2009
Leonardo breathes as Brazilians relieve pressure – August 25, 2009
Kaka returns to the San Siro – August 27, 2009
How to play 4-3-1-2, a lesson from their rivals – September 1, 2009
Reshuffle the current squad, regain the winning mentality – September 4, 2009
International week (Georgia-Italy, Italy-Bulgaria)
Leonardo’s time to react – September 7, 2009
Livorno springs opportunity to end crisis – September 11, 2009
Serie A slides down priority list – September 15, 2009
Leonardo lurches into decision-making territory – September 18, 2009
Off the pitch rumours continue to swirl – September 22, 2009
Old legs cannot win forever, will Berlusconi follow in Della Valle’s footsteps? – September 25, 2009
A powerhouse that no longer strikes fear – September 29, 2009
Time is running out to save il Diavolo’s season – October 2, 2009
A draw as bitter as a defeat – October 6, 2009
The club is not for sale – October 9, 2009
International week (Republic of Ireland-Italy, Italy-Cyprus)
In search of strikers and defenders – October 13, 2009
Berlusconi reiterates he will not sell as the Rossoneri prepare for Roma – October 16, 2009
Brazilian duo see off Roma – October 20, 2009
Rossoneri record famous win in Madrid – October 23, 2009
Leonardo stumbles upon the 4-2-3-1 – October 27, 2009
Two precious points dropped – October 30, 2009
Borriello strikes twice as Milan continue climbing the table – November 3, 2009
A bitter draw after Pato’s disallowed ‘goal’ as Huntelaar emerges unscathed – November 6, 2009
The Rossoneri challenging Juventus for second place – November 10, 2009
International week (Italy-Holland, Italy-Sweden)
Crucial stretch begins as Dzeko linked again – November 20, 2009
Rossoneri continue impressive run – November 24, 2009
Missed opportunity to qualify – November 27, 2009
Huntelaar breaks his duck with a late double to lift Mila to second – December 1, 2009
Season-defining week looms ahead – December 4, 2009
Sunshine glimmers from the San Siro, but those clouds won’t leave – December 8, 2009
Qualification secured after a scare – December 11, 2009
Gattuso to help the aged a little longer – December 14, 2009
Staying away from the market – December 18, 2009
Winter break starts early – December 22, 2009
Beckham lands in town – December 29, 2009
Giants on the transfer horizon – January 5, 2010
Beckham makes second Milan debut – January 8, 2010
Ronnie puts the breaks on in Turin – January 12, 2010