Montella: “I am proud of my team, Milan are disappointed with the result, a top four finish is possible, the 4-3-3…”

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Vincenzo Montella during Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 15, 2017. (@acmilan.com)
Vincenzo Montella during Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 15, 2017. (@acmilan.com)

Vincenzo Montella is happy with how his men played against Inter – despite the 3-2 defeat, admits he is not convinced there was a penalty in the 90′ minute and insists this squad can’t play 4-3-3.

4 defeats out of 8 matches, 12 points out of 24 – four points less than they had last season. This is the record of the new Milan at the beginning of the Serie A season.

The Rossoneri can’t possibly be any more midtable than that as after last night’s Derby della Madonnina, they sit in 10th place, 12 points behind the leaders Napoli and 12 points ahead of the rock-bottom Benevento.

On Sunday at Stadio San Siro, Milan could’ve turned their season around. But failed, again. Mauro Icardi took absolute full advantage of the Diavolo’s defensive incompetence and netted a hat-trick (28′, 63′, 90′ pk) to win the game for the Nerazzurri and put them in second place in Serie A.

Milan risked a lot more in the second half, subbing out the disappointing Franck Kessié for Patrick Cutrone on half time and then putting on Manuel Locatelli for Alessio Romagnoli in the 78′ minute. The subs of Montella did the trick, albeit not entirely, as while his side played very well in attack, with Suso and Giacomo Bonaventura both scoring (56′, 80′) and finally free to play on the wing, they conceded in the last moment after Ricardo Rodriguez gave away a very avoidable penalty.

It’s three Serie A defeats in a row for Milan and while there are 30 more matches to play this year, it seems that the dream of making it back to the Champions League will not become a reality.

Mauro Icardi celebrating during Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 15, 2017. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)
Mauro Icardi celebrating during Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 15, 2017. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

“The penalty? I don’t want to talk about it. D’Ambrosio was very smart… Losing a game like that at the 90′ minute for an incident like that, I prefer not to see it again,” Montella said in an interview with Premium Sport after the final whistle of Paolo Tagliavento in a sold-out Stadio San Siro.

“I saw a great reaction in the second half, we created 7-8 scoring chances. I am really proud, as we played with Milan soul, we played the way I like. It’s a shame we didn’t get points from it, but the principles of football are on the right track and we can feel optimistic after this.

“I see the glass half-full and the desire to continue this technical project. In the first half we were too constrained, in the second half we were mentally unblocked. Inter hit the bar in the first half and scored with a goal that could’ve been stopped. They were clinical, far more than us.

Leonardo Bonucci during Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 15, 2017. (@acmilan.com)
Leonardo Bonucci during Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 15, 2017. (@acmilan.com)

“But I’m happy with the performance and I urge the players to use this spirit in future, because if we play like this, we won’t lose again. Inter were lethal on the counter, which is their characteristic. We could’ve made a lot more of the spaces in the first half and we had worked on these situations.

“Unfortunately, we were unlucky on the goals. I think the match changed because we pulled out the pride and determination to prove ourselves. It’s hard to introduce a new project with so many new players, especially when you don’t get as much time to work together in training.

“Biglia? He was certainly stained by the incident from which the second goal was born [he lost possession and then Inter scored] but overall, he gave order, blocked an Inter player and allowed the defensive players to play the ball. He did his game in order and was unfortunate in that episode.

Giacomo Bonaventura during Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 15, 2017. (@acmilan.com)
Giacomo Bonaventura during Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 15, 2017. (@acmilan.com)

“The 4-3-3 formation is better than the 3-5-2 formation? We play every three days and we have no substitutions to play with 4-3-3 because we only have Suso and Bonaventura as wingers. On Sunday with the 3-5-2 we created a lot against a great Inter. We didn’t change the system for Bonucci.

“When things go well, they fill you with compliments, when they go wrong, there are less people [supporting you]. If 4th place remains our goal? Looking at the table right now, everything might seem out of reach, but the season is very long and we can make up ground.

“This squad has quality, despite what some might say, and I thought even a draw would’ve been harsh on us considering all the chances created. I believe a top four finish is absolutely possible.”

Alessio Romagnoli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giacomo Bonaventura, Davide Calabria and Suso celebrating during Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 15, 2017. (@acmilan.com)
Alessio Romagnoli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giacomo Bonaventura, Davide Calabria and Suso celebrating during Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 15, 2017. (@acmilan.com)

Speaking to RAI, Montella said: “I go home bitter and disappointed but convinced that we played a great game. The first half was balanced, they were good, clinical and lucky in the end, but my team must carry on this union, conviction and decision-making. We created more than the opponents.

“But we go defeated with bitterness. I don’t look at the standings, in the last two games we deserved more. I don’t want to comment on the penalty, I’m not a referee. We’ve always said that the amount of push or a foul determines the penalty, there are assessments to be made. I only hope to be able to win an important game in the same manner even if I would then be sorry for my colleague.

Lucas Biglia and Ivan Perišić during Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 15, 2017. (@acmilan.com)
Lucas Biglia and Ivan Perišić during Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 15, 2017. (@acmilan.com)

“We pay too much for our errors, we gave away very little and they optimized it to 90%. When the opponents are good it needs to be said, but we need to improve. We were not clinical but we will get there. It’d be hard to lose more games by playing like we did on Sunday.

“The numbers don’t lie but when there is a change, there’s a path that can be accelerated with a pinch of lick which we don’t have. To date, I’m happy that the team plays on the level of the opponents and loses, even if I would prefer to win. We played a bit better in terms of opportunities created with respect to Inter. Every change requires time to achieve.”

Suso and Ivan Perišić during Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 15, 2017. (@acmilan.com)
Suso and Ivan Perišić during Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 15, 2017. (@acmilan.com)

In his MilanTV interview, the boss stated: “We are disappointed with the result, it’s surely the biggest regret. The boys played with heart and soul and I really like this. We created many chances but we should have been more clinical as Inter in fact were. I am sure that with performances like this we won’t lose many games. I saw the desire to bounce back in the boys’ eyes and to put in the Milan spirit, but it was not enough. This is football, it often sends you home with considerable bitterness, but we don’t have time for that. Now we have to concentrate on our next game on Thursday.

“Suso? The solution we adopted in the second half is something that we can work on [the Spaniard played as one of the five midfielders]. He did well also in midfield and so did Bonaventura. They had a great performance, but it wasn’t enough. They are both great players and really important for us.

“The goals conceded? We shouldn’t be conceding these many goals, but Inter scored three goals with three chances. The team doesn’t concede many opportunities to our opponents, but as soon as we make a mistake we somehow always get punished. There’s still a lot of work to be done.”

Mauro Icardi scoring a penalty during Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 15, 2017. (@acmilan.com)
Mauro Icardi scoring a penalty during Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 15, 2017. (@acmilan.com)

Montella also held a press conference at the end of this ‘away’ match: “There is bitterness about how the defeat arrived, about the result and the place in the standings. Playing in this way, you can’t lose many matches. We played a great second half, in the first half it was more tactical.

“The difference between the first and second half [Milan looked stuck in the first half but very lively in the second]? We cannot always play in the same way, only Napoli have this kind of continuity. Inter have the quality of the last movement, Icardi’s goal was crazy and of impressive technical skill. When a team wins, they’re always better and Inter proved to be clinical on the pitch.

“Suso and Jack? They scored a goal, it looked like my evening but in the end it wasn’t. The standings? We have the strength and conviction to go up again. The last-minute penalty? I don’t want to talk about the penalty, I accept the referee’s mistake if it was a mistake. For a player to go down in a certain way, he must be touched in a certain way. I believe that D’Ambrosio was very good there.

“I was expecting these difficulties, perhaps playing less well and having a few more points. It means that we have to work hard even more,” added Montella, who arrived at Milan from Samp in 2016.

Ricardo Rodriguez, Alessio Romagnoli, Leonardo Bonucci, Manuel Locatelli, Ignazio Abate and Giacomo Bonaventura at the end of Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 15, 2017. (MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)
Ricardo Rodriguez, Alessio Romagnoli, Leonardo Bonucci, Manuel Locatelli, Ignazio Abate and Giacomo Bonaventura at the end of Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 15, 2017. (MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)

Talking to Sky Italia, the Diavolo coach said: “The penalty? D’Ambrosio did very well, but I never speak of referees. Danilo was smart, he fell before he was touched. It bothers me to lose in the 90′ minute but you can’t say that it was a clear penalty, he wasn’t pulled down.

“I’m sorry to lose after a second half comeback. I’m sorry for the game, for this delicate moment, the standings. This is football and I accept it. I’m happy with the performance of the boys despite the defeat. In the first half we were timid, but I didn’t see an exciting Inter either. The team had order in the first half, especially in the first 30 minutes. Playing like we did in the second half is risky.

“We don’t like the standings but I’m not looking at it. Suso in midfield? It wasn’t a gamble, it’s a solution I’ve had in a while and in some situations you can dare. The three-man defense? The only one who played in that position [before] is Bonucci. We are working, we will also improve on that.

“All in all, I don’t think the team did badly on Sunday. If we changed the formation due to Bonucci? No. We don’t have the alternatives to Suso and Bonaventura in a 4-3-3. With the transfer of Niang we have no alternatives other the Borini [who had another excellent showing as a wingback].

Vincenzo Montella and Marco Fassone before Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 15, 2017. (@acmilan.com)
Vincenzo Montella and Marco Fassone before Inter-Milan at Stadio San Siro on October 15, 2017. (@acmilan.com)

“The club? I’ve found up until now an exceptional club that is supportive of me. I’m convinced that I can carry on the project, I know the risks of the trade. They have always behaved like great directors and have supported me [the club has no intention of sacking Montella].”

The season barely started and fourth place is already 7 points away from Milan, who could perhaps put their eggs in the Europa League basket. On Thursday they host AEK Athens at 21:05 CET.

53 COMMENTS

  1. Well, given our shaky defence Montella needs to do the unpopular and restore Paletta to the centre of the back 3 in place of Bonucci. Even if it is just for 3 matches and we see how he performs. He is rock solid and makes countless goal saving interventions – those 2 first goals we conceded yesterday are the type of situations he excels at dealing with.

    Most fans bash him for the 5 red cards from last season. But as I said before those red cards need to be put into context:
    1). Our midfield is stronger now so there will be less pressure on him to make desperate tackles.
    2). He conceded some of those red cards while cleaning up Zapata’s mess.

    I am not saying that Bonucci is bad but I feel there is too much pressure on him at the moment and he needs a break.

    Btw when Bonucci’s signing was announced I questioned the wisdom of giving a 5 year contract to a 30 yr old defender. Most of you were excited like kids in a candy shop and insulted me “for not knowing much about football”.
    Well now it seems like my reservations were justified.

  2. “We can’t play 4-3-3 because we play every three days …

    – gotta love Euronothing league, don’t you.
    – we had money, why isn’t there any cover for the wings? Niang is on loan with no obligation to buy, why?
    – why did we start the season with a 4-3-3 then?

    • Montella was preparing the team for 4-3-3 system. But the arrival of Bonnuci on nearly last minute of mercato forced him to use 3 defenders, which ruined the whole system.

    • I don’t buy into this myth that Bonucci can’t play in a back 4. Judging by the current season he can’t play anywhere, but he did more than well for juve in a back 4.

      Also, if they realized that now we that we have Bonucci we should switch to a 3-5-2, why not play that way from the start? Against Bayren already.

  3. The team was great. I appreciate the effort the lads put up, the result is the only negative thing. I think Kessie should be benched from now on.. He’s so stiff and contributes little in attack. If we play 352 it should be Suso, Biglia and Jack/Cano. Then Kalinc and Silva. Cutrone should always be first sub when we need a goal, while Kessie should be first sub when we want to lock up the game. Meanwhile the defense should now be Palleta, Bonucci and Musacchio. Like i said before, Romagnoli needs to be benched until he ups his game.

  4. i think palleta is better in defense i definately agree with the idea of giving palleta a chance in the central defense besides most of the red cards he received last year was the result of zapata faulty mistakes palleta is solid and faster then bonuci, infact bonuci is very slow no paste he can’t stop a single counter attack. i do not know why milan can use zapata instead of palleta is it something going on between montella and palleta?

  5. Milan played like a team with something a stake if not for the penalty a point could have done good.we played 3-4-3 in the second half which gave us the 2 suso and jack should keep playing from the wing and croutone as sub , not just only bonnuci the whole squad is under pressure for montella he needs to work on tactics ,d player’s need to work on communication ,physics, and overlapping. We played better than inter even the cometator said so .borini was d cheapest transfer and has remain d best player in d swaud so far I hope many of you that has bash him suck ur word back.if we can’t switch to 4-2-3-1 ,I prefer 3-4-3 as option to give suso and jack a space. Locatelli,paletta,should be given play time.top 4 this season is impossible we having to go all out for Europa league.

  6. Paletta now back in defense?!?!?! Pfffff…… Man…… Guys….. Come on…… Says a lot of the football knowledge of tge majority of this blog!!!!

    Get Koulibaly in January and Eriksen from the Spurs. Then we can bench Romagnoli and Biglia. Bonucci will reach his best level again. And let Locatelli play more minutes.

    • And u have a lot of football knowledge if u think either of them will leave their clubs for us given our condition. Lol. Stop bringing down others and stick to playing fifa

      • Off course they won’t leave in January, Koulibaly is heading for a championship.
        Eriksen could leave in January, with Spurs he never will win a prize. So leave the thinking to me

  7. Blah blah blah blah montella
    And we loose again.
    10th in the table.

    Shut the f*** up montella.
    Only winning matters, everything else is just bullshit.

  8. I’m already getting sick of this season.
    Can’t beat Lazio, Roma or inter. Yet we can finish top 4.

    Can’t get the logic Mr montella.

    So frustrating.smh.

  9. There’s no way in hell Milan is going to make top 4 this season. Mark my words. Others have stepped up considerably. Imagine Lazio defeating Juve at Their own backyard and Inter keeps getting results not to talk of Napoli,Roma and Juve. I don’t see milan coming into this fray. This season is already wasted and pls forget Europe league, the highest stage would be the semis and that is not even sure yet. I know Montella will eventually lose his job, I just hope he does not tamper 2 much with the psyche of the players before a befitting coach takes charge. Arivadachi to dz season see you in the next.

  10. The thing that pricks my heart is that it’s taken Montella 8 and a half match days to realise that Suso as a seconda punta won’t work (at least not now.) The introduction of Cutrone, allowing Suso to play as a mezz’ala changed the game. It came with it’s own ills though. Seeing as Milan were trailing Borini was relieved of his defensive duties and since Kessie was sacrificed there was no one covering for Borini. A hitherto dead Perisic arose from the dead. Throw in the foolishness of Biglia in not bringing down Icardi when his pocket was picked and the uselessness of all our defenders… the rest they say is history. Going forward the second half tactics should be the foundation on which Montella should build on. If this can be done we might just go on a good run of games. There is, indeed, a ray of light (no matter how dim) at the end of the turnel. Forza Milan sempre!

      • thanks man. I’m not a Montella fan (I was skeptical about Milan hiring him, even moreso about the contract extension, but firing him now will further put us in jeopardy. Let’s pray he doesn’t force the management to wield the big stick. He needs to fix this. And he can if he pays attention to details.

    • Montella took Kiesse out because Inter were playing long balls directed at the front 3, skiping their midfield. Hence, he’s defensive attributes were almost useless. If we play a team with strong mid that plays on the ground (plenty of seria a examples), I don’t see us holding them off with a mid of Biglia-Jack-Suso.

  11. Fact being fact; Bonucci needs a sit-down on the bench for a couple or more matches. Critically observing the situation at hand, I believe Montella should’ve realised now that Franck Kessie needs relaxation as there was balance of play in the midfield when he was off. Only regret is there was fatigue on Biglia’s end when he is to do most of the marking in midfield. I would love to see more play from Locatelli as it seems he is the only one in midfield that has precise passes. Mister Montell, am not here to teach you your job but you need to learn to observe and note the specifics in matches as they come. And before I forget, please we need an athletic or physical trainer ASAP as Andre Silva is still being out-muscled upfront; he needs to be filled with strength. Pen-down Forza Milan!!

  12. Abeg 4th place is bay bay for my Milan term bcz we have nt meet JV yet we have nt meet Napoli yet we still hv torino, Atalanta foirantina to play guys let us fgt abt 4place n i tink montila shld go back to his 433 or 343 whn levipool face man u Moreno play 451n Liverpool play 352 as a coush u need to read games dnt us bcz of one play n spoil ur name or spoil ur wrk bonucci cn sty play 4man back rimanoli shld be drp dwn for knw

  13. be patience ,flaco, it all abt tym, I understand ur sentiment though ba it still early days yet,hu knos things may turn along de way n begin to win all matches. we r losing games though we r improving .it painful ba let be patience as light will be seen soon at de end of de tunnel

  14. This season is allready over all of you can stop dreaming because we will surely finish 11th . Our next matches will be soon against
    Juve & napoli . Those matche we will lose 90% those are the hardest opponents we will face , and don’t forget we allready lost 4 matches .
    So i realy don’t know how we will do better when we allready lost 4 out of 8 matches we will surely lose more matche ahead . So this season is already a dissaster and a failure . And i blame the milan management for that .

  15. A three-man defence is really a five man defence with two defensive midfielders. Montella doesn’t seem to realize this. A

    • Now I see someone who understand football. 3CB is too defensive minded yet too susceptible to counter attacks, so what is d sense is a defensive system dat is easily breached at d slightest mistake? It’s simply 3CB. 3DM, 2 wingbacks, Dats 8 defenders. …lack of creativity/penetration as demonstrated in d sampdoria match.. .let someone beg montella to ditch d system b4 d system ruins Milan

  16. I dont know why ppl are blaming bonucci…cant you see your coach changing formation all the time abi what rhe F…..how can a coach b playing kessie all the time and am not sure he understand football at all,now 3 4 1 2 or 3 4 2 1 and let have two blocking for 4, tell biglia and kessie should stop going front and let suso, bonaventure,hakan do the playing then start silva so he can build his confindence….plsss stop blaming my captain

    • Don’t forget our slow biglia , they made a big mistake to sign bonucci and biglia . I knew the moment that milan bought bonucci that it was a bad mistake allot of you here were exited , but i knew it was a bad signing because i seen the match between real- juve in the uefa champions leaugue final and there he was very slow and made poor mistake’s , so i knew bonucci was declining in form and juve had noticed that too that’s why they agreed to sell him in the first place .
      That’s what i think , or maybe it’s just bad luck and he just doesn’t fit in out squad . But oubout biglia they shouldn’t have bought him every one knows he was very good at lazio but allot known that he was too old . We should have bought a younger midfielder .

  17. This may sound stupid but i believe Paletta could be the ideal partner for Bonucci, we only need to get him water down his rash tackles and stupid cards. With Paletta, Bonucci and Romagnoli, Milan will concede much less because the dirty piece is obviously missing at the back as evident by Icardi’s first and second goals. He may have collected some stupid red cards last season but his defensive contribution was very important to our Europa league qualification. This is just my idea as i feel terrible about the amount of goals we have conceded.

    Bonucci CANNOT flourish with a ball player like him as a partner, at Juve his excesses were covered by Chiellini (mostly) and Barzagli, so far he hasn’t played with players with such Serie A experience and dirt, he was a shinning diamond in the rough soil at Juve and i believe the earlier the better we realize it.

    More so, Paletta is an absolutely fantastic passer of the ball in addition to being very good at defending set pieces, he’s got massive experience of the league and will add the missing dirt to the technically sound defence.

  18. are you also happy with our 9th or so position. What a shame. Is inter the only team we have played this season? 352,3511,343 will not get us anywhere. 5 Milan defenders on a pitch is unacceptable. The derby is the easiest game for any coach cos the players are always in auto motivation mode. If you are happy the win us matches. We have heard this from in a inzaghi, brochi, Mihai only to finish mid table. When sarri was furious with his players for winning at little goal margins look at what montella is telling us. Play 4231and balance this team for crying out loud

  19. we need paletta and Gomez for our back 3.Montella please eat humble pie and play them in our match against AEK athens.Rest bonucci and biglia.

    Donna

    Gomez. Paletta. Romag

    borini. suso. locatelli. bona. calabria

    Silva. cutrone

  20. still confused why milan is keeping montella after three straight loses and Bayern fired Carlo after 1 defeat and two draws then I don’t understand how on earth we signed Andre Silva who is only good scoring against weak teams correct me if I am wrong has he ever scored in a big match before .this indeed a strange summer how a team can spend 200 mil on transfer market yet still 10th in the table …#i rest my case

  21. The only way Milan are going to have a second half like that is by pressing high up ,not changing formation or anything. The main difference from the first half was the approach of filling more men in the Inter half and not letting them breath that perhaps is also the reason why the opponent were dangerous on the counter which is normal. Our defense is not bad. Doesn’t matter much what formation or players selected, you are not going to play well without the right approach. We can’t dominate every match but Milan should try and can dominate most matches. Our season is not all over .4th place or even more is very much within reach if we can play more like that second half I guaranteed. I actually dont think it would take long before inter starts dropping points but Montella is a doubt sadly.

  22. Let’s hope it won’t be all “Sampdoria performance” all over again as we know Milan and Montella performs better in big matches as we did against Roma and now Inter.

    We should try to replicate our second half performance in our next match and build from it as there are glimpse of a team if only applied correctly.

    Let’s hope the coach has found his 1st IX and will stick with it and try to approach a match better as all he does is react towards a match and hopefully he will react faster as he did this time.

    Suso is playing better from midfield than from second striker. I suppose Montella will rest his experiment to play him upfront and utilise him as midfielder and he has good long ball accuracy also. Still want wonder how will Cahlanoglu fit with Suso and Bona in 1st IX?

    • Simple drop 352 (they can’t play together in this) for the most common formation in 4231. Bona-Calha-Suso as LM, CAM, RM.

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