5 things we learned from Milan 0-4 Napoli


Napoli came to the San Siro on Sunday night and completely humiliated Milan on national television with a 4-0 win.

It honestly cannot get much worse than last night, and I felt sick to my stomach watching the goals go in, with our defence seemingly helpless to stop the attacks.

Having had their bubble well and truly burst, we must now reflect on what exactly went wrong for the Rossoneri, and if there is indeed any cure for what is already looking like a lost cause.

If you are already feeling somewhat depressed about the result, I don’t suggest reading this. I’m using it as an excuse to vent, so enjoy.

Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images
Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

1. Lessons learned

First of all, I must tip my hat to Napoli and Maurizio Sarri.

They came to the San Siro with a clear game plan: to absorb the Milan pressure by committing bodies behind the ball, defending narrow, then spreading the ball wide with quick counter-attacking movements.

The way that they played was actually superb to watch, especially as they closed out the game at the end. Intelligent movement and passing with real energy and determination about their play, especially on the defensive side of the ball as the home team never looked like scoring.

It is a lesson learned for the team, in terms of how to play and go about your business. I do not believe for one second that Mihajlovic asked the team to go out and play with such slow tempo and no real commitment to the cause, but that is somehow what happened. Why? I do not know.

Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images
Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

2. The system is broken

One thing I must point out, and it is something I have said before on at least one occasion, is that the 4-3-1-2 will never work for the current squad of players.

The 4-3-1-2 requires two strikers who can feed off one another, with one deeper lying forward to create for a poacher. Meanwhile, Carlos Bacca and Luiz Adriano look like they have never trained together.

It also requires a natural Trequartista, which Giacomo Bonaventura sadly is not. I know I called for him to be played there after the last game, but that is because he is the best candidate in the squad.

At least two quality midfielders are needed for the formation. Two to create, one to sit and absorb pressure while intercepting play and contributing on the defensive side. We all know Milan is three good midfielders short.

And finally, the two central defenders must be confident and composed, as the full-backs are required to overlap and supply width, which will leave the CBs open from time to time. Ely and Zapata didn’t provide anything but panic attacks.

It is time for a change. Honestly, Milan played better football in the 4-2-3-1 under Clarence Seedorf.


3. The boss panics?

Linking with my point about formation, there was a sense in the second half that Mihajlovic himself didn’t know what to do with the team.

Luiz Adriano was drifting out wide constantly in order to receive mostly long balls, so on came Alessio Cerci to fill in at wide right.

I do not know how Cerci keeps getting opportunities ahead of a far better technical player such as Suso. All he did anyway was remain absent and compound the misery.

Then there was Montolivo, who was pretty dreadful I must add. Surely Nigel de Jong despite offering nothing creatively would have at least given something on the defensive side? Hindsight, maybe.

I know there were injury problems, and I’m not suggesting for a second that Miha should be sacked as that would solve nothing, however I must wonder at this point in time whether the managers has 100% faith in his players to get out of this mess.

Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images
Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

4. Missing out

Hats off to Allan of Napoli also.

Many Milanisti called for his signing by the Milan board. An affordable midfielder (his price was widely reported as just €15million) who offers so much in the game and can sit anywhere across the midfield three.

He was comfortably better than any Milan player last night without doing anything spectacular aside from scoring.

Allan breaks up the play, can sit deep, has great positional awareness, a good passing range and is actually a forward threat. He looks like a finished product already, and one that Galliani and co. may have regrettably missed out on.

I wonder how that €30million bid for Axel Witsel looks now.

Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images
Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

5. Losing the fans

Over 50,000 supporters were in attendance last night, and there was a great atmosphere before the games adding to the sense of occasion.

The players did not deliver one bit. The bubble was burst; by the end of the game the Curva Sud was reportedly chanting “€100million” and “Thanks Galliani”, showing even they have lost faith.

I’m beginning to believe that the problem is entirely at the top. There is only so many times you can shuffle managers and players until you hit a formula that works, and Milan haven’t come close yet.

How many of the signings this summer were actively put forward by Miha? And how many were thrust upon him by Berlusconi’s agenda?

Bee Tchaubol’s investment may not be enough to save this fallen giant. The signs look ominous.

So, that is what I took from Sunday night’s events.

Sorry it had to be a touch of doom and gloom, but reality is needed in these situations and we really got a dose of it.

Bonaventura was the only relative bright spot. He looked like the only player trying at times.

Torino away is next after the international break, so things do not get easier…

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I WILL REPEAT MYSELF: Why nobody writes how poor Ely was? Or De Sciglio? On this site there were always usual suspects in the likes of Muntari,Bonera,Essien,Matri and so on. Now, they are all gone, but results are the same… My two cents are: 1. De Sciglio is bad. He produced some nice performances early in his career, but for the last 2 seasons he is bad. I believe this is not a matter of a bad form, its simply his usual capacity. He is niether good going forward (not that quick, very average crossing), nor staying in the back(bad… Read more »


Amen mate


My remark about Ely wasnt directed towards you, it was directed towards some guys on this site with zero realistic views. The fact remains, he shouldnt start, this is too soon, too much. Maybe another loan in some mid table club would be the best option. Regarding our ”lazy” players, for me we should focus on creativity, flair, sense for goal, those skills that make a player special. Balo, Bacca and Menez have those skills. To run anybody can learn, so can they. To be special…that is something you cant learn. Its not like Neymar,Messi and Suarez are know for… Read more »


what about 4321 Diamond formation? to be honest i would play Poli or Mauri Ahead of Bertolacci,


In a hardworking role i wouldnt play bertolacci, thats best suited for mauri and poli agree. But none of them as the same Creativity and passing ability. Berto should play in the center AMC and Bonaventura in the LCM.

marc zaccaria

Hi Oliver, there is the problem right away. Why must a club of Milan’s prestige have players dictate what we should play. Lazy players should be made an example of! The players today at Milan do not understand the philosophy, what it means to wear the red and black. There is no passion, example, we don’t lose the game with pride or with heads high, we accept defeat as though we expect it, this is wrong. Milan have been finished for 5-6years now. No new players will make any difference with the current mentality. The mafia need to leave so… Read more »


“Letting Paletta leave was criminal” – about time someone else realizes this! He was hands down, without a question, our strongest CB.


FYI paletta insisted on leaving on account of him not being a starter. Milan did not sell him for the profit of it.


WTF ? ely ? he is freaking young and SHOULD BE GIVEN space for mistakes …


agree, but He is not ready for the first team… and his point was that we dont have cbs like Hummels/Ramos to have Ely as backup, we have Zapata… Lol


and he’s gonna be the next MDS, a wasted potential


I agree 50% with you and kindly disagree when it comes to the formation! I also think we need to cut few players off due to the fact that they are simply useless and not Milans material however I still believe that Milan could do better with this squad rather than Sasuolo, Torino, Chievo ecet.. so I wouldn’t let the manager get all the blame but he is guilty as much as the board. Looking what has Fiorentina and Napoli achieved with their new system of game and without spending stupid amount of money I blame a bit Mihajlovic for… Read more »


Agree with you Right now we need immediate solution to our pathetic display of football and i believe it is the system of tactics we played. 4 3 1 2 is no longer be our formation for next games as it’s failed to work. Not enough creativity and playing 2 strikers is such a waste. Why not use 4 3 3 or 4 2 3 1 that is more balance and suitable to our “mentality” right now. Take sarri’s napoli for example, they started the season with 4 3 1 2 and just got 2 points from 2 games. Then… Read more »


Right now we need immediate solution to our pathetic display of football and i believe it is the system of tactics we played. 4 3 1 2 is no longer be our formation for next games as it’s failed to work. Not enough creativity and playing 2 strikers is such a waste. Why not use 4 3 3 or 4 2 3 1 that is more balance and suitable to our “mentality” right now. Take sarri’s napoli for example, they started the season with 4 3 1 2 and just got 2 points from 2 games. Then he changed his… Read more »


Let not decieve ourself wil all no milan prob (1) moto is not fit in dat position bcos his is a slow player some people condem De jond for him (2) Berto his not milan type let him go back to seria B bcos any time he played 95% milan fans do see him on d pitch (3) Miha is not confident of him self by listen to sport writers if he can is formation bcos of d current players he av in d team right now tins w change better for him


442 should be our formation (with players we have NOW) Jack is LM, Monty and De Jong could play in the middle (one for defensive duties and one for “creativity”) and Kucka,Suso? on the right… and we could play with 2 attackers… or even 4411 with Balo behind Bacca… 4312 is NOT working cause we dont have CAM nor two good and creative CM. De Jong MUST play cause of our bad defense… I mean, fck attackcing play if we score 1 and get 3 goals… De Jong is not creative, but he is BEST mid in defensive duties… Damn,… Read more »

Chris baggio

Yeah Oliver spot on.Allan should have been bought instead of Bertolacci.I remember reading an article on italianfootballdaily saying milan should have bought him rather than Bertolacci.
Now its clear our problem lies not in the coach.Our players and the Management are to be blamed for our predicament.
Cerci and Zapata should never see the pitch again.Its about time Mexes,Mauri and Suso should have been given chance.
From the way we are playing now our season would have ended by the end of the first round


The list of problems could fill 10 articles…the root cause is Silvio. Whether we want to pin that on Galliani is up to yourself but he’s Silvio’s proxy…Silvio makes the big decisions based on his own opinions and “football knowledge” …he has to much sway in key decisions…and on footballing matters. He has constantly undermined our managers and the managers decisions with public statements…..this also rules out Milan attracting a top world class manager….no self respecting manager would work under these circumstances. If he really cared about Milan’s best interests he would hire a manager…trust him…leave him alone to do… Read more »


Sadly for Miha, he has failed to understand the dynamism of the game and the limitations of his squad. On that point, in Milan’s recent history, only Clarence Seedorf who had no prior coaching experience before taking up the role realise this fact. First, before I say negative things about Berlusconi, I must thank him for bringing the money out to improve the squad. Unfortunately, Berlusconi lives in the era where Milan played champagne football with a particular system mastered by Carlo Ancelotti. With Seedorf, after the decimation of Milan’s playing style by Mad Max, he introduced a 4-2-3-1 formation… Read more »

Alex The Mauler

I dont like a single thing about this team anymore Sell Diego Lopez sell Montolivo Sell De Sciglio Sell Zapata Sell Mexes Sell Ely Sell Bertolacci TO HELL WITH IT SELL EVERYBODY EXCEPT ROMAGNOLI AND BACCA CALABRIA DONNARUMMA AND SACK THAT POS GALLIANI AND HALF OF THE MANAGEMENT

Alex The Mauler



Its the top management of milan responsible for this mess, the decisions to keep or sell a player during the transfer window should be made by a person dedicated to footballing stuff not gailliani. Rami and Paletta are also flawed no doubt, but in comparison to zapata they were clearly better, ely is not milan material at the moment , while de sciglio is also not the player we had hoped for.. The biggest problem is the midfield, from the day bertolacchi has come, ive been cautious about him, and time and time again hes proving that he is not… Read more »


Milan will be milan again after 1. Galliani dies 2. Half of milans positive, relaxed, sleeping, cowards fans go to another club. Almost (85% of “fans” here) … yeah lets bring the thumbs down!! 🙂 Reality can be harsch.


Spot on oliver.. why always use cerci when you have a suso on your bench??? For God sake miha should have brought in NDJ to help us @least bring stability to the midfield in the dying stages of that game.. Italy is so known for thier tactical flexibility..cant miha have a plan B?? Why sticking 2 a formation,that you don’t have players to execute?? You all need to see how i was laughed at yesterday buy my buddies.. I realy wish Menez quick comeback.. he only(his selfish tendencies aside) can fix this tranquista issue. As for Ely and zapata, one… Read more »

forza milan

oliver fisher u are good In writing artlice if what u write all the time goes far dan why don’t u write something that will inlight the power in curva su fan since I am In Ghana and cant do anything
And let me tell rodrigo Ely is the best young center back In seria a take or leave When u partner someone like Zapata u surely make, wait and see ely partner romagnoli


romagnoli and rugani are much better centrebacks than ely


My man…. Ely the best young CB in Serie A?? The kid had ONE good loan spell with a Serie B side. He has no business walking onto the Milan starting XI. Aside from being a threat in the air on set pieces, he looks very average. He’s indisciplined, indecisive and clearly lacks composure. It’s unbelievable how much faith Miha’s put into him.


Sad to say I think our best centerback pairing is romagnoli, and Mexes. Ely isn’t ready he is too nervous. And Zapata, don’t get me started, I say it every match. He can not have the ball in his possession, he is terrible. We were playing well before Zapata gave away a god awful ball and they scored off of it and killed our confidence and then everyone started playing like trash. If he plays next match, my mind will explode.


about managment and miha 4-3-1-2 clearly isnt working so i would try 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1(which i preffer) and try de jong at cb since zapata makes many mistakes and miha should stay till january if team continues to preform badly i would sack him and give my best to get ancelotti back
in january we should sing 2 quality midfielders and at least 1 centre-back
about galliani and berlusconi i have wished they go away ever since they sacked seedorf (who imo was our best coach since ancelotti)

marc zaccaria

Hi guys, for me the problem is simple. We have never recovered from the post Ancelotti era. Allegri won us some silverware mainly thanks to ibra, not to mention the game we played was very simple and we often got found out by stronger European opposition. Get the ball to ibra and hopefully he’ll do something magical. The past 3seasons has seen an incredible amount of players in and out, not to mention the calibre has been somewhat of a joke. The team has no identity, no leaders, who accept poor performance over and over again. The coach with all… Read more »


It’s so clear to see that we so desperately need a creative midfielder and a cb so bad… Ely in two games he’s played has received a red and an own goal. Take nothing away from him he’s still young and inexperienced but he’s not ready to start. Zapata has had two awful games and right not I’m only confident with romagnoli. Put mexes alongside him for now and in January buy a solid cb to pair romagnoli. I was so impressed with bacca and Adriano and now I’m losing faith. I just hope it’s because they don’t have great… Read more »


what do you guys expected when you mixed Dead batteries with new batteries, the new batteries wont last long if CR7 and Messi join our present team, Destro will win Serie A player of the season ahead them, Zapata is disaster, Montolivo not growing, Bertolacci useless, MDS oohhh Awful, always loose his marker, and all the game we lost, we did not score a single goal in them, that is not encouraging, you cant be playing like this till January and expect a better player to join you, its not possible, they will afraid to sink their careers , i… Read more »

Pa ibra

football is best played and won with keeping control of the game and that’s best done with a well trained system of possession football.just look at benfica,fiorentina, southampton shows you playing a certain system doesn’t necessarily require world class stars. we lost mainly because napoli were more organised with their quick short passes and movements leaving us chasing and confused from the goalkeeper to the strikers. the same was the case vs bayen and fiorentina. . these sort of opponents make you instantly see lot of problems in your team. the solution is,play like them.


All comments are interesting and appreciated; we are all fans and this shows how concerned we are about the club. Sadly, the Management (Galliani and Berlusconi) are not. The issue is not entirely Mihajlovic, it is these two bozos who think they know more about football coaching than someone who has it as a full time job. They want to dictate beautiful football to a Milan team that first needs to learn how to win!!! That is what Mihajlovic should be focusing on, get these guys to win first and then graduate to winning beautifully. I don;t see skillful players… Read more »




Something ironic is that Sarri was rumoured to be our coach and Miha to take over Napoli, even if that would’ve happened Im kind of sure that we would still have lost. Something is desperately wrong with this Milan side, Its not Allegri, Seedorf, Pippo or Miha’s fault. Sacking him would not be wise. Dont know what should be done about it, but one thing is for sure – bench Zapata. He is good for 80 minutes of the game, but he isnt satisfied unless he gives the opponents some sort of advantage, last week it was getting Romagnoli sent… Read more »


I don’t think Lopez is overrated as a whole, but I will say he has been shaky in the start of this season for sure.


Yeah thats what I meant with that he is only starting because of his name. He hasnt been up to standard, then its time for Abbiati to start, which should spark Lopez to reach his highest levels. Healthy competition you know.


I can agree with that, healthy competition brings the best out of everyone. Abbiati has always been a serviceable backup. One of the biggest upgrades I saw in Lopez compared to abbiati, was that Lopez is better with his feet. But Lopez playing the ball out of the back recently has been very very shaky.

You fans need to understand that the culprit of Milan’s defensive woes is strictly due to the loss of your best centerback and that would be Daniele Bonera. He was blamed for everything, this is a man of character, an emblem of the great AC Milan who was good enough to be in the team for 9 years and as soon as his talent and skills were cut from the team’s defense it ends up being the 2nd worst in Serie A. AC MILAN NEEDS BONERA !


Totally disagree on the Lopez remark.. He had a stellar season last year and even. Though it’s starting off poor this year for him, is he to really blame? He’s been left for dead many times. And truthfully I just don’t get it, like I understand where we need reinforcements but I just don’t get. With the players we have we can struggle so much. How do we struggle against a team like Genoa and empoli.. It should be a walk in the park.. With the little faith I have left in this season so far I truly hope things… Read more »


Yeah I’m not blaming him, but I think that he should be able to save some of the goals we’ve conceded. A true class keeper would’ve. Like the goal against Empoli, and then Insignes free kick at least. Otherwise yes he had a solid season last year. We need him now though.

And totally agree, our squad is better than those but the players look so…non-existent. Hope it changes after the break. A win against Toro is massively important!


Our problem is zapata,.DSG,kuco. Bonavenrura,…… Mexes can easily lead the defence with is experience…( take a look at the second goal which suppose to be offside trapped but, zapata didn’t lead the defence… the only solution to the back is Mexes and romangnoli,abate(calebrial),antoneli,…montolivo,muri (batolachi) balotelli,menez(Niang) L.adriano, bacca…. others should be sub, let Donnarommie…. take his chance too before Gabriel comes back. Pls try my idea…….
Our transfer target should be erickson,isco,witsel,hulk and Verrati.


BOATENG !! Our troubles are over!


This match puts everything in perspective- our position with regards to others. I do not blame the coach anymore; he has used the best of what he has. The management thought they could manage with what they got, but every big game exposes us. We don’t really have quality in midfield n defence- so much has been said about this. I guess they are not seeing it. Sack Mihajlovic, bring in another coach, it won’t change anything. The coach only has to keep playing his first eleven so they can gel, until January. You don’t run a big club this… Read more »


You say bonaventura was the only bright spark ? What!!? he’s good on the ball and that’s about it. He’s frustrating to watch and he dosnt know when to release the ball he holds on to it far to long . The only positive thing to take out of this team is that we have a world class striker in bacca even though he did nothing against Napoli. I agree we completely to not have the right players for this formation but I don’t know what formation would be good for this pathetic squad at the moment. It’s real simple… Read more »


The problem with this team is not with coach or berlu, I believe the players don’t really know they hurt me so much seeing this team play like this, I hope the good day comes back and will shall be almighty Milan we use to be. Boateng can solve any of our problem


why everybody act like proffesional coach? Miha should do this and shouldn’t do that?…Our problem is simple.. ZAPATA the garbage…before that “accurate” pass he made..we played well..we got many chances..Napoli also get chances but because the skill of higuain…after that goal we DONE..panics and affraid.. unfortunatly we dont have MALDINI or GATTUSO figure in our team to cool the team down.. Zapata not only made milan loose 6 points but he destroy our mentality..and hurts the fans.. If mourinho is Milan’s manager he will not play this guy for the rest of his life… Thanks god we dont play in… Read more »


ac milan can´t learn, this has happend on the past 3 years again and again,
ac milan need a coach with high mentaly potential, who can past it on the players…
if i was berlosconi i will give mihajlovich 5 maches more and at least 3 wins to get from those maches and no loss. if he can get there then continue if not then search for a new coach as soon as possible.
and now go to the big names.


All the comments make sense one way or the other. I have read 4 3 2 1 system instead of 4 3 1 2. But to be honest defense is weak so why not put more cover and use defensive 4 5 1 system against top side and get a single point till january. In the last 15 min we can send 3 or 2 strikers and change system to 4 3 3 or 4 4 2. Play Nigel, Kucka and Monto together. Thats my opinion. In the past we have kaka, costa, sheva, nesta. This team does not got… Read more »


I think its time for change forexample making some changes some players in starting 11. So far current our 11 is not working and its not too late. What im saying is playing 4231>>>>Lopez>>>. calabria,mexes, romagnoli,antonelli. >>>>De Jong, Mauri.>>> Bonaventura, montolivo. Balotelli, >>>>>>bacca and when menez comes back >>>>>>>>lopez,>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>calabria,mexes,romagnoli,antonelli,>>>>>>>>>>>>>>dejong,Mauri,>>>>>>>>bonaventura,menez Balotelli>>>>>>>bacca. We all know the Team who deffence the best is the on who wins that way 2deff.midfielders. I hope the coach realize this and what you rossoners think?


IMHO everyone had a bad game. That was an embarrassing display! That being said, having watched the match, you could see that Luiz Adriano and Bacca were constantly frustrated from the lack of service that was provided to them by the trequarista, Jack, who should have been orchestrating the attack. There were long spells in the 2nd half where he was no where to be found (albeit there might have been a change of shape from 4312 to 442), and all you could see was Luiz Adriano and Bacca chasing down the opposing defenders. If you noticed the previous matches,… Read more »


I have always wondered why we never tried De Jong as a centerback… Is it just because of his height? Baresi was 5’9, yet one of the best defenders. Cannavaro was 5’9 as well. We all know he’s amazing at defending. He has good footwork too. And on top of that, I’ve seen him score headers and reach headers, many times. He has good jumping reach. Everything that de jong has screams that he should be at least tried as a Centerback. The only thing that he’ll need to be trained for is keeping a line for offsides. Aside from… Read more »


Hes to aggresive for CB. He would cause PK from left to right


Hmmmm, in as much as I reason along with you, I fear DE Jong will be giving away a lot free kicks outside the box eighteen and penalties in the box eighteen simply because of the way he tackles. I think he should just play in front of the defense and do the defensive mid duties.


Been thinking the same thing for a long time…
And from NDJs point of view it would extend his career…
Unfortunately, to coach Milan puts one under so much pressure that there is very little room to experiment.


Comment:galliani was said to be have a vast connection on football world. Yet, he hasn’t sign players that truly improvement to milan squad. bacca is good but he will turn to waste if other players play like that. Most of attacking player will turn to dust playing with a team with zero creativity, low concentration, and lack of determination. Evryone call for improvement, but players keep on doing the same performance. Napoli maybe the better side, but where is Milan? Their performace not even showing that they want to play the game. If they doesn’t want to play well or… Read more »


I so much appreciate with all comments here. Wish that miha could bring this conversations on his mind. Or we need seedorf will coming back to leads (but impossible because his problem with berlu) and i hoping so much ancelotti will going back for milan. I think because the lack of defence, milan should try to use formation with a real winger because i hope the full back will focus to back. And we know el sha is a really good in ledt and the right i still in doubt who is really good. We can get most advantage of… Read more »


If it’s true that we wills sack mihajlovic if he loses against torino and we will bring in brocchi as his replacement, then im done with this season already. I’m tired of having someone sacked so early and being replaced by an amateur coach only to be replaced again in the new year! Stick with mihajlovic for the season and see what he can do. Tired of the same old story


The Milan problem is with the management, not the players. Somehow we aren’t like a club that has a deep football culture, a few things maldini said comes to mind. At this point i’d only hope people galliani leaves the club soon. However, the blame for this lose has to go to the coach, loosing 4-0 at home is simply unacceptable for a club of Milan’s standard even if you were using your youth players. Its important to see how they pick themselves up from this but for me, the real problem is the management AKA galliani. To further prove… Read more »