MASSIMILIANO ALLEGRI has spoken ahead of the Torino game, issuing subjects like Kaka, El Shaarawy and the game.
The international break is behind us and tomorrow the Rossoneri will take the Stadio Olimpico di Turin pitch for the third matchday of the 2013/2014 Serie A and Massimiliano Allegri already has injury emergencies – especially at the back.
Ignazio Abate, Mattia De Sciglio, Matias Silvestre, Daniele Bonera are injured (as well as the goalkeeper Gabriel and the forward Gianpaolo Pazzini) but Milan will have one special someone who is likely to play from the start tomorrow – Kaka.
“Kakà is in good shape physically and has trained well with a lot of enthusiasm. I think he’ll be a bit emotional ahead of his debut tomorrow and that’s normal as he’s lacking a bit of match fitness and that’ll come with time,” Massimiliano Allegri said during today’s press conference about the player who was at the Adidas Store yesterday and signed shirts for Milan fans.
“I have to think about the starting line-up, whether it’s Balo and Matri or one of the others. I’ll wait and see either this evening or tomorrow morning before I decide. We have a good group of forwards even though I consider Kakà more of a midfielder. It’s good to have a fit forward line especially as the defenders are not in good shape. Kaka is hungry to get back and to show that he has a lot to offer. He’s an exceptional guy. He spends his days at Milanello training and taking care of himself.
“Kaka is an example for other players. Technically he has a lot of quality as well as really sharp acceleration. His footballing capabilities are well above average, he’s a great buy for the team. Robinho is ready and he’s on good form. He’s scoring too. We’re in good shape up front. I just have to choose who’ll start and I’m very calm about that. I have to thank Cristian Zaccardo for not taking any of the transfer offers otherwise tomorrow we’d have to play with a midfielder (Poli) at full back.
“Zaccardo has more experience. Mexes and Zapata will play with one of either Constant or Emanuelson on the left. Vergara is a bit behind the others. He has to get to know Italian football,” continued Allegri who will field a 4-3-1-2 formation.
“Balotelli did well for Italy on Tuesday. He’s a player that can lead the line. Every so often he takes his foot off the gas and he has to improve in that. Matri has different qualities, he’s more similar to Pazzini. Balotelli is always in the papers and lately it’s been for positive reasons as he’s playing well for Italy. El Shaarawy has to find his balance after the amazing year he had last season. As far as what Cesare Prandelli said, I believe that El Shaarawy is a non-problem. He’s played almost all the matches so far and being in a big team, you can’t fear competition for places, it’s should be extra motivation.
“The first year we had Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robinho, Alexandre Pato and Antonio Cassano. Two played and two sat on the bench. I think that El Shaarawy has to stay calm because he has my complete and total trust. Last year he started well and then hit a dry patch but he always played well for the team and sacrificed a lot. We shouldn’t forget that last year, he was on the back of a season that saw him criticized for scoring only 1 goals in 28 appearances. He needed time to get his balance right and against Cagliari he came off the bench very well. Competition is good for him as it’s good for everyone.
“We have three players up font or maybe two with one behind, but that doesn’t change anything. The problem is, we’ll be up against a team that tends to slow down the play. They caused us problems last season as we prepared to play against a 4-4-2 formation but they played differently. Torino are a tough team and Ventura’s teams tend to slow the game down.
“We risked a lot against them at home last season in a fundamental game for the UCL spots so we’ll have to be careful not to repeat the same mistake. In the game against Verona we had a CL qualifier ahead of us and so there was a bit of tension. Now the team is more relaxed. And with the closing of the transfer window, the players are more calm; we’ve a big year ahead of us. We’re 3 points behind the rest of the teams who’ll be fighting for the title and so we have to win them back and not drop any more points on the road. Having lost at Verona, we’ve dropped two points and we can’t drop anymore.
“As years go by, any player’s characteristics will change. You get more mature and you start to think more in the middle of the pitch. Kakà is very important and not just for the enthusiasm he has given to the fans, but also for the dressing room, for his charisma. He has to help the team take a step up maybe by playing more as a midfielder. Physically he’s in good shape (Kaka said he’s at 80% in terms of fitness right now). Kaka just has to play and gradually he’ll get back match fitness.
“Kakà is a very intelligent player and he can play between the lines, linking the middle of the field with the forwards. Matri? He could be useful coming off the bench, but I have to think about that this evening. Goals from the midfield? The season that Ibra was here the midfielders scored an enormous amount of goals and it’s unthinkable that they can do that again. 27/28 goals is a lot. If the middle of the field can get you 16/17 goals, that’s already a good number and it also depends on the players that you have. Poli and Nocerino maybe get into better positions more often than Muntari and Montolivo.
“The defense? The numbers will prove me right. The team has let in 12 goals since 6 January and 3 of them were penalties. We have to improve on the mistakes that we’ve made, like in Verona and the goal we let in against Cagliari. Those are mistakes that we can easily avoid. I have very reliable players at the back and it’s not easy to find any better players than the ones we have. Torino’s Alessio Cerci? He is a good player, he has good technical qualities and has a great left foot. He’s learned how to play as a second striker and he’s their most dangerous player. We’ll have to be careful tomorrow.
“I think that for all coaches, it’s normal to think about coaching the national side. Now I’m at Milan and that’s where I want to stay. Prandelli is on the job now and he has a World Cup ahead of him and I don’t think things will change,” Allegri added.