MASSIMILIANO ALLEGRI has confirmed he’ll walk out at the end of the season but wants to keep Milan in Europe.
Milan had some good moments in 2013, which ends in a few hours, but also some bad ones: The Rossoneri did get the third place last season after a great run in the first few months of the year, but August-December has been hell for them.
il Diavolo are currently in 13th place and have virtually no chance of qualifying to next year’s CL (unless they win it) and the 2013/2014 is pretty much over them as far as Serie A is concerned. In 14/15, Milan will be led by a different coach.
“I did things that had to be done in order to rejuvenate Milan,” coach Massimiliano Allegri told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I did those things in accordance with the management, and somebody sees me as hatchet man, but I have never been that type of person. We did what was required; in three seasons, the squad and I obtained the results the management asked of us.
“Unfortunately, the third place is now very far away, but we have the Coppa Italia which is a good option to make Milan qualify for Europe before I leave. I don’t know who will be the new Milan coach, and it’s not my problem. This will definitely be my last Christmas as a Milan coach, but I’ve eaten the panettone (sweet bread loaf) again this time (Italian expression that means to secure your job before the end of the calendar year), and I honestly have never had any doubts about this.
“My relationship with Clarence Seedorf (the favourite to take over next season)? He did well in the penultimate season at Milan. He is a great player, and of course I would have preferred to coach him when he was 28 instead of when he was 35.
“What kind of Milan I’m leaving to the next coach? I leave a good team that earned the love of the fans. A team that with a few adjustments will have a future. I was sure that I was going to be the coach that would bring Milan their second gold star (20th Serie A title), but my second league campaign at Milan was decided partially by a goal that wasn’t validated (Muntari’s phantom goal against Juventus). Let’s just say that we weren’t very lucky. And in the season after that, we practically had to start over from scratch, but we qualified for the Champions League, and in this current season we are in the round of 16.
“How far Milan realistically can go in the Champions League? I don’t know, but we have a good chance of making it to the quarter-finals. Atletico Madrid are a tough and strong team, but many things will have changed by February. It is very difficult for us to reach third place as we are 17 points away from it. But we have to get back on track and improve our position in the league. And this can motivate us to do well in the UEFA Champions League and in the Coppa Italia.
“The real regret about this season is that I have never had all the players at my disposal: the starting full-backs (Ignazio Abate and Mattia De Sciglio) have never been ready at the same time, and Stephan El Shaarawy has barely played. Giampaolo Pazzini just returned, and the young players are good, but they’ve to be accompanied and supported during their growth. A player like Cristante has qualities but he needs time. El Shaarawy’s injury? We didn’t make any mistakes.
“We consulted one of the best specialists in the world, and he told us that 75% of the microfractures heal themselves, but unfortunately, we were in the 25% when it came to El Shaarawy’s microfracture. Many things have gone badly in the last part of 2013, but I’m sorry that our medical staff and athletic coaches are being blamed. That really makes me angry.
“If the results are lacking then it’s always the coach’s fault. The last four months of 2013 have been disastrous, but I have always worked with enthusiasm and I will do that until the end. Why I have decided to leave Milan? I decided that it would be my last season at Milan when it was decided that I would stay here for another season (in the meeting between Allegri, Galliani and Berlusconi in June). I liked the idea of staying and finishing a job, but four years at the same club is a lot.
“The compliments from Fabio Capello and Marcello Lippi? I can offer Lippi a nice dinner, but it is more difficult with Capello as he is in Russia. All jokes aside, I can only thank both of them for their nice words about me. The management kept me because they didn’t have any alternatives? If the management didn’t have any alternatives then it means that I’m really good and that they couldn’t find a better coach,” Allegri joked. “People say that I don’t have any control over the players?
“It is just nonsense that people say when things aren’t going well. De Boer’s comments about Milan playing anti-football against Ajax? I can understand De Boer because he was angry when he said those things after the match. But we were 10 against 11, so I don’t see what we could do more than having an organized defence. He must have regrets because we had a player less, and Ajax had two clear goal-scoring chances when we were playing 11 against 11. De Boer was unlucky.
“People say that Milan have been playing poorly? We have also been playing well. Last season, my third at Milan, I had to start over from scratch and we also had many players to insert that time. It is not easy. The 4-3-3 formation is difficult to use with the players that I have at my disposal. The Christmas tree formation is always good if you have a star player.
“This season will help Mario Balotelli to get the consistency that he has never had, seeing as nobody used him as a starter for many matches before he came to Milan. He will also be important for the World Cup. It could be his year. Pazzini? He is good in all seasons of the year. Last season, he was the only player that was capable of scoring in autumn, winter and spring. But he has been out for seven months, so he needs time to recover. If I regret signing Alessandro Matri? No, because we needed him in that moment, and he has always been scoring goals. He will also score goals for Milan.
“If Matri is for sale? Why should he be? We will be without Stephan El Shaarawy for the next three months. Robinho has to get back in shape, and M’Baye Niang has been loaned out (to Montpellier). Why the Milan fans should be excited and passionate about Milan? Because the wind can change like it happened last season. We have to take it match by match and with calmness – and we have to remember that we are the only Italian team left in the UEFA Champions League.
“If I will coach Italy in the future? I want to avoid talking about Italy. They have a great coach and could have a great World Cup. As for my future, I will have to see what opportunities I will get, and I will choose the challenge that will stimulate me the most. If I’m studying English? I was already studying English when I was at Cagliari. There is time to learn other languages.
“Football is a universal language,” Allegri added. This is Massimiliano’s fourth and final year at Milan: in his debut season he won the Scudetto, ending a seven-year Serie A title draught; the following season he finished 2nd and then in 3rd.