Montella: “Lapadula played a great game and is an added value for Milan, I got angry on half-time, Mati & Jack…”

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Montella and Lapadula during Empoli-Milan at Stadio Carlo Castellani on the 26th of November 2016. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
Montella and Lapadula during Empoli-Milan at Stadio Carlo Castellani on the 26th of November 2016. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

Vincenzo Montella explained his squad rotation and said ‘the quality of the individuals made the difference’ in the second half after the bad first 45 minutes in the 4-1 win against Empoli last night.

Milan arrived to Stadio Carlo Castellani last night to face 17th-placed Empoli and despite what the 1-4 score-line indicates, it wasn’t an easy win by any means.

In the 15′ minute, Suso’s cross found Gianluca Lapadula in the box and the striker – who was given the start due to Carlos Bacca’s injury – made it 1-0 for the Rossoneri. The lead only lasted two minutes, however, as a mistake at the back allowed the ex, Riccardo Saponara, make things even in the 17′ minute.

The Florence-based side had a very good first half and created numerous chances, which they failed to convert to into goals and Milan, who had lost Mati Fernandez to injury already after 10 minutes, could have found themselves trailing by a few goals at the end of the first 45 minutes.

But everything changed in the second half, as Milan began to play a lot better. In the 61′ minute, a lovely play from the Diavolo ended with Ignazio Abate passing the ball to Suso who from inside the box gave Milan to lead back. Three minutes later, Giacomo Bonaventura got passed everyone with his great dribble and his cross hit Empoli’s Andrea Costa and went to the back of the net. In the 78′ minute, Lapadula completed his first ever brace in Serie A, beating goalkeeper Łukasz Skorupski after another Suso assist. At least until Roma play later on Sunday, Milan are second alone.

Mattia De Sciglio, Juraj kucka, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Gustavo Gomez, Ignazio Abate, Manuel Locatelli, Suso and Alessio Romagnoli celebrate at the end of Empoli-Milan at Stadio Carlo Castellani on the 26th of November 2016. (MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)
Mattia De Sciglio, Juraj kucka, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Gustavo Gomez, Ignazio Abate, Manuel Locatelli, Suso and Alessio Romagnoli celebrate at the end of Empoli-Milan at Stadio Carlo Castellani on the 26th of November 2016. (MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)

“The way I saw it was we struggled more than necessary in the first half,” Montella told Sky Italia after the game. “We were too negative, we had to be more proactive, we were too lazy, didn’t trust ourselves and the preventative marking was just awful. Empoli were good at constructing moves and we were below our standards in all aspects in the first half, so that’s why I got very angry at half-time.

“I liked the second half much more, we saw the other face of the team and I’m happy. We created chances from the back, proving that we are capable of doing that even with other players. If we’re the anti-Juventus? Honestly, I don’t have these thoughts [Milan are currently -4 from them].

“My only thought is to help the team grow and improve, so there is a lot of work to be done. The players can grow more and I’d like to see us be consistent over 90 minutes, regardless of the opponents. We must work on ourselves and not set limits, we have to improve every day.

Montella and Massimo Maccarone before Empoli-Milan at Stadio Carlo Castellani on the 26th of November 2016.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
Montella and Massimo Maccarone before Empoli-Milan at Stadio Carlo Castellani on the 26th of November 2016. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

“The growth of the team? I think we’re growing, we need to have continuity, we are in a good place although the standing shows that we have to be stronger than what we are. We are a bit penalized by the standings in regards to the growth process that the team should have.

“Lapadula now has three goals in 250 minutes? I was good in mathematics, my son is amazing at it… but I don’t know how to solve these problems… between him and Bacca that’s a problem for the opponents to solve. Bonaventura and Niang [the Italian played instead of the Frenchman on the left wing]? The choices were made because many players have played a lot recently, like Niang, Paletta or Kucka, who were a bit down psychologically and there was a turn off. I wanted more quality and cover in midfield and it’s a shame for the injured Mati and that affected our plan a bit.

“Jack [who according to Montella suffered a muscular injury last night]? He’s a transition player with great skills, and he’s able to skip his man better than Niang. But they are both useful players.”

Gianluca Lapadula, Mario Pasalic, Mattia De Sciglio, Manuel Locatelli, Jurja Kucka and Suso celebrate Lapadula's second goal during Empoli-Milan at Stadio Carlo Castellani on the 26th of November 2016. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
Gianluca Lapadula, Mario Pasalic, Mattia De Sciglio, Manuel Locatelli, Jurja Kucka and Suso celebrate Lapadula’s second goal during Empoli-Milan at Stadio Carlo Castellani on the 26th of November 2016. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

Speaking in the post-match press conference, Montella said: “Lapadula? He played a great game and he helped the team a lot. I didn’t like the first half, both the transitions and the quality of Empoli’s game. We were unsure, perhaps a bit lazy. In the second half, however, we always came out of their first line of pressure and we did well. The quality of the individuals made the difference.

“Empoli is a very organized team and I think that Martusciello is doing very well. And maybe we’ll give them some presents in January… The performance? We need to have continuity for 95 minutes. Our goal is to always improve, both in game and in training. We can do more in terms of consistency.

“The exclusion of Paletta [the center back was given rest and Gomez-Romagnoli played together]? I made my assessments. Paletta, Kucka, Niang and maybe also Jack played so much recently. Gustavo Gomez has quality and it seemed like the right time to give him consistency. I was disappointed when Mati’s injured arrived. Unlucky, because he wanted to show his qualities. He has unique qualities and I’m sorry for me and for the boy. Mati and Bonaventura will be evaluated in the coming days.

“The ‘closing’? I don’t know anything. I only talked with Galliani about the game. Now I’ll rest for two days and give you an update next Saturday [in the next pre-match conference]. Federico Bernardeschi [a reported Milan target]? Is Bernardeschi from Milan’s youth? We need some old players [laughs]. Federico is an important player, he made his first bench with me and he’s a complete player.”

Montella during Empoli-Milan at Stadio Carlo Castellani on the 26th of November 2016. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
Montella during Empoli-Milan at Stadio Carlo Castellani on the 26th of November 2016. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

“Empoli put us in trouble in the first half and it was a tough game. All teams suffer, even Juventus win many games while suffering,” the former striker added in an interview with Mediaset. “In the second half, our quality came out. The character of the group? The boys go out to win, knowing that you have to suffer, and it’s like that in Serie A. Sometimes you need to have a bit of provincial thinking.

“The future? I don’t look too far ahead. I’m going to enjoy the next two days off with family and friends, completely detached from football because us coaches we to rest too. Lapadula [who joined from Pescara this summer]? He faces every training session at 110 per cent. If he managed to use his energy better, then he’d probably be even stronger. He is an added value for this team.

“If I’ll cheer for Lazio in the Rome derby next week? Unlikely… I will support Milan and the important thing is that we win the three points,” concluded Montella, who faces Crotone next Sunday.

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Silver
Silver
4 years ago

Gomez is starting to get use to seria a, he is less and less shaky in the back. I personally really like him and I hope he keeps on improving. Compliments Romagnoli very well in my opinion with his alot more physical style and strenght (similar to Palletta)
Also hats off to Suso! That guy is in form right now and lets hope that he can ride that form for a long time.

Mathijs Savicevic
Mathijs Savicevic
4 years ago
Reply to  Silver

Pfffff suso is a beast. And Bonaventura too.

nick
nick
4 years ago
Reply to  Silver

Good point. Montella should push Honda in the left midfield to replace Bonaventura and use Bonaventura in Niang’s position on the left. I think Niang plays better through the middle anyway and can be used as a sub for Lapadula who in my opinion should be our main starting forward. That way we could sell Bacca and buy Belotti in the summer. Adriano can provide cover until the summer. So we wouldn’t need to buy someone in January to replace Bacca who I believe wants to leave. If we have to get a replacement in January for Bacca we should… Read more »

Milan10
Milan10
4 years ago
Reply to  nick

sell bacca the top scorer to make way for honda the crybaby. Nice

nick
nick
4 years ago
Reply to  Milan10

Yes. That’s correct. Bacca attitude is bad for the dressing room morale and he doesn’t fit into a 4-3-3 system. That’s why we loose games like Genoa.

Milan10
Milan10
4 years ago
Reply to  nick

Milan lose game vs genoa because of poli – honda experiment and the red card. If anything, its honda’s fault not bacca’s milan lost that night and ur solution is to play honda regularly from now on?

agustinar
agustinar
4 years ago

It’s good to play Bona at left wing as starter regularly. It gives competition to Niang. And I still believe, Honda is useful to give competition to Suso at right wing. Honda played ok under Miha at right wing/midfielder.

dejan10
dejan10
4 years ago
Reply to  agustinar

If you think Honda can give competition to Suso on the right wing then I can only conclude you’ve never seen him play.

YK
YK
4 years ago

Gomez and Romagnoli can be Nesta and Silva and it was a joy to see the way Romagnoli was distributing the ball accurately! Is that guy a defender? Or a central midfielder? I still don’t know.

Milanista
Milanista
4 years ago
Reply to  YK

Left footed are usually really good with their ball distrebution ,, that and roma is already talented ,,

GiudaInterista
GiudaInterista
4 years ago
Reply to  YK

I think he played as cm in younger days 🙂

emperor_holla
emperor_holla
4 years ago
Reply to  YK

He started out as a midfielder

Milan10s
Milan10s
4 years ago
Reply to  YK

I think with his skills romagnoli can be great sweeper who can build the play from behind like ts33, nesta, baresi, scirea or koeman

Emmanuel
Emmanuel
4 years ago

We jst need two more experience players,one defender and one creative midfielder bt in my own opinion I wil say lets go for thiago silver and adel thuram of Barcelona since he is not getting much playing time.

angry birds
angry birds
4 years ago
Reply to  Emmanuel

agree, and a winger who can play both flank for suso/niang backup

Milanista121
Milanista121
4 years ago

Nice that Montella got angry, probably that that spurred them on after the break. The first half was really poor. I must say, Gomez has been really good the past two games, he was really shaky against Inter with three/four awful passes the first five minutes that all could’ve cost us, but other than that, positionally he is actually quite secure. He saved us from Maccarones shot in the first minute. He has still a lot of room for improvement there, but he really have to improve his passing, and his one-on-ones, he gets beaten too easily at times, but… Read more »

RKaY
RKaY
4 years ago

Well I don’t feel so bad getting smashed by genoa as they are 3-0 up against Juve at the moment. Although we all know juve can recover. But it would be great if they drop all 3 points.

dejan10
dejan10
4 years ago
Reply to  RKaY

Watching it now… Thanks for the heads up. Even though Jube will probably win the league it’s always great to see them lose.

Milanista121
Milanista121
4 years ago
Reply to  RKaY

I thought the exact same thing haha. Im not really expecting us to fight for the title, but ofc all points dropped by them are a bonus.
Im just happy if we get to UCL, but one step and game at a time. Catiously optimistic is the key word here!

dejan10
dejan10
4 years ago
Reply to  Milanista121

They had a few injuries as well which always helps.

andy
andy
4 years ago

It’s silva and turan respectively pls

dejan10
dejan10
4 years ago

Balotelli, Menez, Taraabt and now Bacca… How many players with terrible attitudes are we going to have to put up with? I’d be quite happy if we sold him, give Lapadula the starting spot and buy another striker in Jan.

Sheva
Sheva
4 years ago
Reply to  dejan10

This is AC Milan, a club with players.. players that are HUMANS.. humans who have real feelings and needs. They are not robots. Terrible attiidues? This isnt a disciplinary school for girls, dejan10. These are MEN. They need to party, they need to eat, they need to rest, they need to relax, THEY NEED TO BE THEMSLEVES!! C.ronaldo is terrible, he doenst even celebrate any other goals than himself. but what? You would like to add him on the list as well?? Okay, balo, menez, pato, dinho, bacca OUT. Who do want left??? Bertolacci?? Poli?? Honda??? Do want them to… Read more »

dejan10
dejan10
4 years ago
Reply to  Sheva

Right…… because players with bad attitudes (not sure what “attiidues” are) have no effect on team morale whatsoever.

Sheva
Sheva
4 years ago
Reply to  dejan10

Your “correction” of my misspelling cleary shows how you would like to prioritize

School girl diciplinary before results and goal.

We finished 10th? We are our of CL again? No problem at least we have a GREAT team morale. We dont need goals and results. We need men acting like girls, thats enough for you?

Dejan10, i still stand by my words. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND FANS LIKE YOU, and do you know what? I dont want to understand you either.. so go away with your prioritizing, we dont need it.

Bullshit Detector
Bullshit Detector
4 years ago
Reply to  Sheva

Your focus on just the bad spelling bit of that comment shows how you are avoiding the crux of the point dejan made, or maybe you are too stupid to follow. Let me reiterate..do you think players with bad attitudes, however talented they are, don’t have a major negative effect on the pitch?, in a team sport like football?..if yes then you are someone with the intelligence of a 10 year old, because the dynamics which make football click are not at all difficult to understand. I say this because the intellectually challenged shouldn’t comment in such public forums where… Read more »

Milanista121
Milanista121
4 years ago
Reply to  Sheva

So basically, you want players like Taarabt, Cassano, Balotelli and Menez who did nothing at Milan, over professionals like Maldini, Costacurta, Inzaghi, Gattuso, Seedorf, Stam, Nesta, Cafu, Shevchenko etc… I can go on. There’s a difference with having an attitude – a winning mentality – and a HUGE OVERINFLATED EGO, and that is what the problem is. That’s why people like Ibra, he has an ego, he has an attitude, but he has a winning mentality and is a PROFESSIONAL through and through. Party all you want, but work hard in training and be a class act both on and… Read more »

dejan10
dejan10
4 years ago
Reply to  Milanista121

Exactly. But there’s no point arguing with him – we’re dealing with a 10 year old.

Kabon
Kabon
4 years ago
Reply to  Sheva

Really boy? Really? It’s your kind of mentality that makes teams like Arsenal end up 4th for 9 straight years. Chelsea finished poorly last season but this season are having the best performance in Europe with the same squad. What do you think is the reason for that? Drugs?
You should watch golf if you’re looking for ”Men”

Milanellofm
Milanellofm
4 years ago

I like bacca and wish for him to stay, but if he goes I see it as a way to go for verratti. Clearly psg and emery want bacca and verratti lately has been criticized at psg. Berlusconi talks of a young italian squad well in the form of bacca we have a great bargain chip to get verratti. I’m sure psg would be interested in a bacca+ money swap for verratti and he would be a perfect fit in the midfield

angry birds
angry birds
4 years ago
Reply to  Milanellofm

no! if bacca leave, our priority shoud to get his replacement!..
worldclass finisher, lapadula not enough, we need at least 2 CF

Milanellofm
Milanellofm
4 years ago
Reply to  angry birds

I never said don’t get a replacement but If psg are really interested in bacca then why not use him to go for verratti

ope
ope
4 years ago

sheva why are u not commenting about the 4-1 result…..thought u was one of the peeps here saying rubbish about MONTELLA before the game…….dude u dont knw football yet u want people to accept whatever u say……SMH

Sheva
Sheva
4 years ago
Reply to  ope

I still dont agree with Montellas starting line up. Keep in mind that mati got injuried and kucka changed the game. I cant believe he choose MATI over kucka, i still blame montella for that. Its too risky to have botn mati and mario in midfield at the same time. Perhaps if mati still played the game would be different. Also an own goal.. im happy for the result and the win. BUT it was too risky. I understand if we were top of the table with 25 p clear… yeah sure.. montella try this try that, risk this,, risk… Read more »

AwesomeWasex
AwesomeWasex
4 years ago
Reply to  Sheva

@Sheva Kucka is important alright, but won’t you rather rest him against Empoli than loose him to injury against the likes of Rome and Fiorentina?
He has been playing every Milan and Slovakia match recently and with tougher matches ahead, I believe it was right to rest him, Niang and Paleta

Bullshit Detector
Bullshit Detector
4 years ago
Reply to  Sheva

So your point is Kucka was our key player in the game?. I saw the game and he wasn’t, even a half decent follower of football can attest that.

Mati hardly played for 10 minutes so we will never know his impact, maybe we would have won by 10 goals, anyone can argue either way.. your entire argument is made on speculation..the stupidity in those augments are of the highest order. Are you home schooled or self taught?

Kaka
Kaka
4 years ago
Reply to  Sheva

Hi sheva, how are you?
Be a gentleman, remember your deal with phildadon to leave this blog if montella still at milan next year

MM
MM
4 years ago

Bacca is the reason why we won against Torino, Sampdoria and Lazio (amongst other games) It’s funny how he gets criticised cause he’s suddenly not in good form. (Against Inter, he also made an assist, which means he’ still useful even when he’s not scoring). The man is a good player, there is no question about it and that’s why he should stay and fight for his place in the first team. Every good team in Europe has a good bench, this is so that they create competition between the players and thus get the best out of the players.… Read more »

Milan10
Milan10
4 years ago
Reply to  MM

Well said mate

Bullshit Detector
Bullshit Detector
4 years ago
Reply to  MM

Disagree to most of your points…Bacca is not the reason why we won against Lazio, Sampdoria and Torino, he scored the goals yes but last I checked football was a team sport..very few individuals are good enough to change a match by themselves, like Ronaldinho, Zidane etc ( Bacca isn’t one of them), and even then it happens very rarely because in football it is how the team plays which is key as opposed to an individual..any football follower knows that. Bacca is a good player but certainly not irreplaceable. Yes we need bench strength but Bacca will not accept… Read more »

Milan10
Milan10
4 years ago

All those long paragraphs and his points are only: 1) bacca should be sold because lapadula just started playing and scoring after his come back from injury and theres no way he’ll get injured again in the long run. Bacca the proven goalscorer is not important for milan because football isnt sport which sole purpose is to outscore opponents and him scoring winning goals isnt important, what matters most is team work like milan is some boyscouts camp 2) zapata can play as rb when he’s not even good at his natural position and milan should keep him for depth,… Read more »

MM
MM
4 years ago

Football is a team sport but Bacca is the type of striker that can score almost every chance he’s given, he’s accurate, and there are few players out there who has this trait. If we had another striker instead of him, there would have been a high probability that we wouldnt have scored the goals that won us those games cause not every striker is that efficient. He’s not on the level of ronaldinho and zidane of course, nobody said that he is But guess what, he’s the best player Milan has right now, or at least, one of the… Read more »

Otomilan
Otomilan
4 years ago

STOP commenting on sheva ‘s comments please then he ends up answering to u and we all have to read his negative crap about milan

I honestly think he is inter fan trolling on rossoneri fans website