Montella: “The victory is deserved and I’m very happy, this is the Bacca that we know, Ocampos can be a great player”

Vincenzo Montella during Milan-Chievo at Stadio San Siro on the 4th of March 2017. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Vincenzo Montella during Milan-Chievo at Stadio San Siro on the 4th of March 2017. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Vincenzo Montella’s hopes of finishing the season in a Europa League spot were boosted by the 3-1 win over Chievo last night, which the boss believes Milan ‘deserved’ despite not dominating.

Milan played on a Saturday night, before all the other teams with which they are fighting for a place in the Europa League, and so thanks to a 3-1 win against Chievo they find themselves, at least for a few hours, in 5th place with 50 points.

Carlos Bacca found the net first, in the 24′ minute, but Chievo responded through Jonathan de Guzmán in the 43′ after the Flying Donkeys were awarded a non-existent penalty by ref Fabio Maresca. The referee gave Milan a penalty in the last moment of the second half too, but Bacca sent it to the sky, and it was level at the break at Stadio San Siro.

Milan could’ve closed the game already in the first half but the players, Bacca in particular, were wasteful in front of goal. The Colombian, however, managed to finish the match with a brace as in the 70′ minute, a headed effort from Alessio Romagnoli found the striker who had an easy tap-in.

In the 82′ minute, a third penalty was given in the match, again to the red and black boys of Montella and it was substitute Gianluca Lapadula who scored from the spot to make it 3-1 at the end of the 90 minutes. The only negatives, perhaps, is the fact that Suso had to walk off the pitch in the first half as he could not continue and the many misses in front of the goal of goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino.

Referee Fabio Maresca during the Milan-Chievo at Stadio San Siro on the 4th of March 2017. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Referee Fabio Maresca during the Milan-Chievo at Stadio San Siro on the 4th of March 2017. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

“The game felt like a bit of an uphill struggle, but it was ultimately always under control and we could’ve gone into the half a goal up,” Montella told Premium Sport at the end of the encounter. “We didn’t dominate Chievo because they put us in difficulty but the victory is still deserved.

“Bacca broke the deadlock at the decisive moment. I liked the performance, we knew how to wait and strike at the right moment. We could’ve finished it off earlier. There was no space between the lines but we had prepared well… the long balls were planned. In the first half, we had some players out of position, including De Sciglio who’s used to playing a different position [he played as a right back].

“Bacca’s substitution? We forced the game a bit more and then in the last moments I preferred to enter another midfielder [Juraj Kucka], also to give some help to Deulofeu who did a lot. Romagnoli was playing even though he was one yellow away from suspension [he started alongside Cristian Zapata]? I don’t think of these things. If he was booked, then in Turin a different player would have played.

Carlos Bacca and Cristian Zapata celebrate Bacca's second goal during Milan-Chievo at Stadio San Siro on the 4th of March 2017. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Carlos Bacca and Cristian Zapata celebrate Bacca’s second goal during Milan-Chievo at Stadio San Siro on the 4th of March 2017. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

“Ocampos? He had a good impact and has real potential, but he just needs to improve in how he interprets situations. He relies a bit too heavily on his technique. He’s a player I’ve always liked, also when I was coaching Fiorentina. He has technical ability and has a sense of goal… he’s a modern attacker who can play in various roles. If he can be more consistent, he can be a player at a high level. Suso? He felt a bit stiff, I don’t think it was muscular, but we’ll see over the weekend.

“The standings? I have not looked at the table. It’s nice to play before the others, as we can spend our Sunday relaxing. In Turin [against Juventus] we have to play a great match. Inter [who face Cagliari on Sunday] are not the only antagonists and what interests me is finishing in the Europa League.

“To get into the UCL at this point, we’d need a Scudetto-style run of results. To get into the Europa League, we’d need a Champions League-style run. Everyone is running, but we look at ourselves. If Atalanta continue winning [they are one point above Milan with a game in hand], we’ll have to tip our hats to them, go to Bergamo and congratulate them, because they are having a sensational season.

“Juventus [the next match is on Friday evening at the Juventus stadium, kickoff is at 20:45 CET)? We are facing a side that is invincible in Turin, so we’ll need something extraordinary.”

Juraj Kucka, Andrea Bertolacci, Gianluca Lapadula and Jose Sosa celebrate Lapadula's goal during Milan-Chievo at Stadio San Siro on the 4th of March 2017. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Juraj Kucka, Andrea Bertolacci, Gianluca Lapadula and Jose Sosa celebrate Lapadula’s goal during Milan-Chievo at Stadio San Siro on the 4th of March 2017. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

In an interview with Sky, Montella added: “The failed ‘closing’? The club has always completely fulfilled the contracts, the salaries are all paid and I don’t feel any kind of discomfort. I’ve always been satisfied with every requirement and the situation does not trouble us.

“Bacca? He’s getting closer to the true Bacca. He’s definitely growing and beyond the goals and the missed penalty, he also created significant chances. This is the player that we know. Jose Sosa? He’s grown a lot, when we chose t take him we were a bit criticized. It’s hard to get a younger player with this personality without a big budget. He’s growing more and more and he’s a player who always manages to take a few risks. Ocampos? I followed him a lot… at Fiorentina when we sold Cuadrado the choice to replace him was between Ocampos and Salah. He must grow in his consistency.”

Vincenzo Montella and Carlos Bacca during Milan-Chievo at Stadio San Siro on the 4th of March 2017. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Vincenzo Montella and Carlos Bacca during Milan-Chievo at Stadio San Siro on the 4th of March 2017. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

“I’m very happy, it’s a victory that came after a matured performance and we managed all the game-situations well,” Montella said in the post-match press conference. “We had to be more clinical in the second half and close the match. We were more dangerous than usual from set pieces and we did it against the strongest team of the league from this point of view.

“We missed many chances, but I am satisfied with the boys’ performance. I’m happy in particular for Bacca and I finally saw the player we’ve always admired. He created several chances in a way that we were not used to seeing. I’m glad for him and it’s a new beginning.

“Jose Sosa? He’s getting to know the role more and more and he has great personality. Pasalic? He’s having a good season although it’s been a few games in which he didn’t play from the start. I like to rely on all the players. The summer purchases? When you buy new layers there’s a natural phase of adaption. We wanted everything right away because we were not happy with the last few years.

“Suso? I’m not a doctor but I don’t think it’s anything serious. We’ll see how he is in the next days. Ocampos? He entered the match well. He’s a complete player and a modern attacker. He has the technical ability and a sense of sacrifice. He must grow in terms of his consistency.

“Inter? My desire is to reach the Europe League, if possible then with at least one point above them. The three points earned against Chievo are the same as the three possible points against Juventus.


  1. Meanwhile Belotti scored a hatrick for Torino today, so he now got 22 Goals in 24 games. This stat is even more amazing if you consider that he missed at least 3 penalties this season.
    We need the Chinese money in order to sign him. He’s a confessed Milanista so we can get him.

    • Well someone noticed it too. And that for a striker in a mediocre team like Torino. I applaud to that.

      • Comment:Don’t get it twisted Ciro immobile was the highest goal scorer of the season with Torino before Dortmund bought him.

        • @Lawcee. I made an effort to check your claim. Ciro Immobile scored 22 goals during the entire season with Torino. That’s the amount of goals Belotti has already scored and he still got another 14 games (barring injury or suspensions) to add to that tally. The figures speak for themselves.

          • Even luca toni scored 30 goals/season long time ago.

            I can conclude 2 things from this belotti talk:
            1) some people really dont know where milan stand financially
            2) some people have mindset of grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, hence they fail to count their blessings.

          • My point is not the goals scored. My point is that instead of us rushing to buy players who will end up like Ciro Immobile, Cerci, James. why don’t we look at their consistency for three seasons before knowing if he’s a world class player.

  2. You Are A Great Coach Montella I See Your Philosophy You Will Get Better Just Need A Few More Quality / World Class Players

  3. I thought it was a risk to play Zapata and Romagnoli but Montella proved me wrong.We have an added value having Sosa and Locatelli in good form and Vangioni not allowing us to miss Antonelli and MDS. The team seems promising anyway.

  4. Well now against Juve, I think milan should play 4-4-2.


    De Sciglio



      • They should play on the counter. And with Deulofeu and Abate on the ML and MR position they can counter very dangerous with their pace. With Sosa and Kucka in the middle passing and defending is ensured.

        Lapadula will ran his ass off and defense along. Facca will hopefully be on the right spot. Think about it.

        • If one thing is certain with milan is that playing players out of position is recipe for disaster.
          And If counter attack is the strategy then milan should play with less st and more mf, mf who can defend well and give the ball back to sosa who’ll in turn spread it to the wingers (preferably deulofentura and bonadinho, too bad THE man is injured) and st. Maybe put sosa or suso behind bacca and put loca/poli as additional cm. lapa the hutt could run his ass off but he’s no gullit who had excellent vision, passing and technique so theres no point playing him alongside bacca if milan are to counter attack.
          Knowing allegri, i dont think it will be milan that will use counter attack strategy though

  5. Instead of taking another players who’s not proven in Montella’s system, why not take deulofeu and make him permanent. This way bona can go in the mid along with kucka and sosa/loca.

  6. At their current respective forms, I think PALETTA, ROMAGNOLI, and ZAPATTA could form a good trio in the back to cover our superkeeper DONNARUMMA. Then in midfield, we put 5 players, DE SCIGLIO, in the place we usually see him with the national team, KUCKA, SOSA, BERTOLACCI, and VANGIONI. With this, we can actually transform to a 5-defender system when under attacked. SUSO can operate as a link between this midfield and BACCA/LAPADULA. We need steel to steal point in Juve Stadium. Three points are dream, but if we can salvage a draw, it should still be viewed as a positive result.

    • Great suggestion. I have been thinking the same. Only problem with using this system for the rest of the season is that we only got 4 central defenders in our squad so we don’t have enough backup. Juve got 5 defenders.

        • In this system we can make the best use of Zapata’s qualities. He is very fast and is very good in tracking back once the opponents have bridged our defense. Probably the best defender in Italy when it comes to recovering lost ground and tackling the attacker from behind without conceding a foul. On the other hand he is prone to concentration lapses and silly mistakes so it’s best to keep him on the right side of a 3 man defense. The central defensive position will of course belong to the reliable Palleta. De Siglio performs best in a wing back position as we saw when he plays for Italy. Calabria also got the qualities to be a top class wingback. He just needs to stay fit. Someone please pass on this suggestion to Montella :).

    • This is actually a great idea. Zapata thrived in a three man backline while he was at Udine, Paletta is a rock, and Romagnoli has played – to great effect against Spain – as a left back in the three man defence for Italy.

    • Nice suggestion, but i dont agree with it for 2 reasons:
      1) juve and juve stadium are not suitable time/place/situation for improvisation. And while i know montella did well with fiorentina playing 3-5-2, its not like he is good with improvisation at milan (genoa match anyone?)
      2) zapata is accident waiting to happen. If anything in life is certain is that zapata makes mistakes that lead to opponents scoring. Milan dont need that kind of liabilty against team like juve. Would u invest in stock which u know for sure have crashed multiple times and will crash badly eventually?

      • Also a very astute point. I dont know why you get so many dislikes for some of your comments.
        I think it’s because people have their opinion, and while you make good points, they cant stand not having thought about it before, and instead of thinking “hm, he actually makes a point”, they just resort to saying no and discard it.

        • Well I suppose it can’t be because they disagree with him right? Has to be because they are jealous of such an intelligent mind. Especially more so because you agree with him.

        • U overestimate me too much mate. Me, i think they just cant accept that maldini, kaka and dutch trio eras are long gone and the baton is held firmly by king bonadinho

  7. Seems, milan is gradually getting it right again! I hope we can continue to pick points against all our opponents, both those above n below us, we now need a scudetto run, to be able to get into Europe! Be more clinical n nasty, strike fear into our opponents, deny dem space to operate, I love d look of sosa n loca with kucka/pasic in d middle!

  8. I didn’t watch the match. What was our formation when Lapa replaced Loca in 61 minute. Did we use 424 formation ?

  9. Milano is playing very good football my biggest worry is on the the heart of defense, it seems we are failing to find a right combination.Going forward the midfield combination of SOSA and LOCATELLI seems to be working well the biggest test will be JUVE but with the mentality and the confidence the team is in we can get the 3 points.JUVE was beaten twice this season by ROSSONERI we can beat them the third time.

  10. Is it time for us after juve game to go to a 4-4-2 formation. We seek to be more of a threat with Bacca lapadula any opinion?! We don’t have the creativity from midfield and seem to play with 10 men with bacca up on his own, lapadula would provide a headache for defences and bacca may get 3/4 chances he needs and not maybe the odd one he gets at the moment.


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