Montella: “It was a wonderful evening and the fans put on a show of deep love for Milan, a new striker? No hurry…”

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Vincenzo Montella during Milan-Craiova at Stadio San Siro on the 3rd of August, 2017. (@acmilan.com)
Vincenzo Montella during Milan-Craiova at Stadio San Siro on the 3rd of August, 2017. (@acmilan.com)

Vincenzo Montella said last night at San Siro was ‘perfect’ in some respects, as he also discussed Patrick Cutrone, Andrea Conti, M’Baye Niang, Carlos Bacca and the search for a striker, after the match.

The Rossoneri set a Europa League qualifier attendance record yesterday when 65,763 fans filled Stadio San Siro for Milan-Craiova to see il Diavolo win 2-0.

It was an entirely different game from the first leg and Milan dominated from start to finish. Already after 5 minutes, Franck Kessié found the back of the net with a screamer of a shot, but his great goal was disallowed due to an earlier offside from Patrick Cutrone. Four minutes had past, and this time Jack Bonaventura scored (and it counted!) as the ball got to him following a corner and his shot defeated Nicolae Calancea.

Gianluigi Donnarumma made a fantastic save on Alexandru Mitriță kept things level until half time. In the second half, Milan took 6 minutes before scoring as a Ricardo Rodriguez free kick resulted in the ball getting to Cutrone, and the 19-year-old scored his 1st ever goal for Milan in a competitive match.

Coach Montella also brought on Andre Silva, Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Fabio Borini to get their first taste of San Siro. Overall, it was a very positive performance from Milan who progress to the Europa League playoff round (the draw will take place today, Friday, at 13:00 CET and Milan are seeded).

Milan fans at San Siro before Milan-Craiova at Stadio San Siro on the 3rd of August, 2017. (@acmilan.com)
Milan fans at San Siro before Milan-Craiova at Stadio San Siro on the 3rd of August, 2017. (@acmilan.com)

“We have improved in the mental aspect,” Montella said to Mediaset Premium at the end of the encounter. “I don’t know, because it was so hot, but I think in the second half the match wasn’t very intense. We have also improved the speed of the play and I saw some good moves.

“I am very satisfied, the new players settled in pretty quickly, so it is a wonderful night and the fans deserved it for the love they have shown us in pre-season. The fans put on a show of deep love for the team, packing the stands on August 3 in extraordinary heat versus a not prestigious opponent.

Giacomo Bonaventura and his teammates celebrating during Milan-Craiova at Stadio San Siro on the 3rd of August, 2017. (@acmilan.com)
Giacomo Bonaventura and his teammates celebrating during Milan-Craiova at Stadio San Siro on the 3rd of August, 2017. (@acmilan.com)

“We hope to have many more evenings like this; it depends on us and what we can do on the field, and we will work hard to make it happen. Donnarumma? I don’t know if it was a split in the first place, but we are like parents with Donnarumma – the fans gave him a slap and couldn’t wait to embrace him again once they made up. He played a great game, and I’m happy for the welcome.

“Cutrone? He played a great match [it’s his fourth goal in five matches this summer]. We had a very young team out there and the guys are growing well. We thank the Youth Sector of Milan. Patrick can stay, he is proving to be able to stay in this squad. To date, there is no intention – not on my part, or on that of the club or of the player – to part ways. I believe he can grow a great deal staying here at Milan, but the only chance of an exit would depend on the transfer market.

Patrick Cutrone, Franck Kessié and Cristian Zapata celebrating during Milan-Craiova at Stadio San Siro on the 3rd of August, 2017. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)
Patrick Cutrone, Franck Kessié and Cristian Zapata celebrating during Milan-Craiova at Stadio San Siro on the 3rd of August, 2017. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

“Leonardo Bonucci and Lucas Biglia? I think we will surely see them in the next game. Bacca? Carlos is an international level player and we can’t think he is suddenly worthless. I made certain clear choices, but he remains a Milan player and part of our club, so he might have to be ‘sacrificed’ or monetized, otherwise he will stay at Milan. He remains a great player.

“The first talk with Fassone and Mirabelli? There were already the intentions to do what they did. They managed to ‘feed the multitude’ and they’ve been very good. The transfer strategy has been excellent and done very quickly too. We’ve got some very young and talented players like Çalhanoğlu, Rodriguez, Silva and Mateo Musacchio, who all have a bright future ahead of them.”

Marco Fassone, Vincenzo Montella and Massimiliano Mirabelli before Milan-Craiova at Stadio San Siro on the 3rd of August, 2017. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)
Marco Fassone, Vincenzo Montella and Massimiliano Mirabelli before Milan-Craiova at Stadio San Siro on the 3rd of August, 2017. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

Speaking to MilanTV, Montella said: “It was a wonderful evening, I was excited. Even when Bonucci and Biglia came on [to greet the fans before kickoff] it gave me goosebumps. The fans deserved this victory and I feel we are creating something big alongside our Rossoneri family.

“The affection for Donnarumma? It was a turbulent summer. Gigio is the son of us all and when a son makes a mistake you stiffen a little, then you don’t expect anything but the right moment to embrace him. On Thursday, our fans were a unique father, and we start from here, with another great save.

“Conti? Andrea is quite similar to Ignazio [Abate] in his features and he was also chosen because of it [he was signed from Atalanta]. He has so much quality. He showed everyone what he can do and I wasn’t expecting that. His performance impressed me. The continuity of the performance also surprised me. We’ve conceded no goals in the last 3 games? t’s a pleasure completing another clean sheet. We are becoming stronger in defence.

I enjoy working on the team’s balance rather than individual performances. Free kicks? This year we have great players with this skill. In the last two matches we’ve already taken advantage of it. A penalty taker? Kessié is very good at it, Rodriguez has scored 10 out of 10, and Jack is also very good.

“The upcoming commitments? The draw is on Friday [13:00 CET] and then our season opens. We will have to get to the next matches with as many players as possible.”

The Milan XI before Milan-Milan-Craiova at Stadio San Siro on the 3rd of August, 2017: Top, L->R - Franck Kessié , Mateo Musacchio, M'Baye Niang, Cristian Zapata, Ricardo Rodriguez, Gianluigi Donnarumma; Bottom, L->R - Patrick Cutrone, Manuel Locatelli, Giacomo Bonaventura, Suso, Andrea Conti. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)
The Milan XI before Milan-Craiova at Stadio San Siro on the 3rd of August, 2017: Top, L->R – Franck Kessié , Mateo Musacchio, M’Baye Niang, Cristian Zapata, Ricardo Rodriguez, Gianluigi Donnarumma; Bottom, L->R – Patrick Cutrone, Manuel Locatelli, Giacomo Bonaventura, Suso, Andrea Conti. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

In the post-match press conference, Montella said: “First sensations after going through? It was an exciting evening, in some ways perfect. There was this love of the Rossoneri people on August 3… I’m delighted with the team’s performance and with the energy of the fans, and vice versa.

“We can work together in the best manner. The happiness of the people before entering the stadium? The fans wanted to take part in this new course. I’m proud of this leadership and this ownership that has created all of this in no time. What I didn’t expect on Thursday? Some guys surprised me positively, I was a bit worried about the approach in front of so many fans, but they played well.

“It makes me really happy seeing how the game was played. A young team has bene built, some are embryos who can grow. What counts is the result and immediately finding the team harmony and the right things in many of the new players. I think this team can find its identity faster than expected.

Vincenzo Montella and M'Baye Niang at the end of Milan-Craiova at Stadio San Siro on the 3rd of August, 2017. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)
Vincenzo Montella and M’Baye Niang at the end of Milan-Craiova at Stadio San Siro on the 3rd of August, 2017. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

“The whistles towards Niang in the end [the Frenchman played 90 minutes against Craiova yesterday]? I think he played a great match and that he’s gone a long way, even with respect to his own standards. I understand that some fans have good memory, but I would like him to be judged for what he does on the pitch. To stay with us, I think he must also accept the ungenerous whistling. At Roma, Damiano Tommasi was whistled in his first year and was then applauded for the remaining 10.

“If I want a striker to arrive as soon as possible or is Cutrone OK? Patrick is growing a lot and he started at a decisive moment last year. As for what might happen, I’m not in a hurry. There’s a month until the end of the mercato, I would be happy that these players can get to know each other.

Vincenzo Montella during Milan-Craiova at Stadio San Siro on the 3rd of August, 2017. (@acmilan.com)
Vincenzo Montella during Milan-Craiova at Stadio San Siro on the 3rd of August, 2017. (@acmilan.com)

“Personal reaction to the name of Diego Costa? There are so many names, some interest us, others not. Who would I choose? I don’t choose the players, I say what I need and then the club decides as they know the market better than I do [Sky expects the striker to arrive within 15-20 days].”

With Milan progressing to the next stage, it’s likely the Serie A opener against Crotone will be played on August 20th instead of the 21st. The Diavolo face Real Betis for a friendly on August 9th.

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Kourosh

Just to put any doubt about Conti playing well to bed, here is ratings from Football-italia where he was one of the best.

http://www.football-italia.net/107151/player-ratings-milan-2-0-craiova

And here is ratings from Gazzetta where he was the best along with Rodriguez and Cutrone.

http://www.milannews.it/rassegna-stampa/gazzetta-cutrone-il-migliore-molto-bene-anche-conti-e-rodriguez-tanti-applausi-per-gigio-263465

So yes, you are biased, even though you might not know it. Same performance from Calabria would have brought serious applause from people.

And interesting thing is he will get much better than this, it was an average performance compared to what he’s capable of when on his best form.

Gifted Italian

I think as a whole the defence played solid, Even Zapata has been playing well with the addition of conti mustacchio and rodriguez

Klum

The defence was the best part of the game just as Cutrone was the best part of the attack. Jack must learn to play the ball on time and not be wowed by cuddling it as if looking himself in the mirror. He gets the ball most of the time and too often he makes noting out of it. Same goes for Suso who hardly works without the ball in attack. He ought to be watching Messi and Salah, while Jack should be learning from Modic, Iniesta, Özil, Fabregas.

Farac_milan

I agree with the good conti performance. But the thing i really liked was when calhanoglu and bonaventura were on the pitch together. That left side was unstoppable and they can switch positions which makes it even harder for defenders. I hope we will see calhanoglu and bonaventura together more often. It Will be very hard for Montella making his first 11 with Romagnoli coming back, Biglia and Bonucci almost done and maybe another winger and striker.

Maldini

Truly for me i would love to see Suso, Silva, Hakan, Biglia, Kessie and bona on the pitch at same time they all will be unstoppable. So this points to formation 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-2-1

Kaka22

Exactly what I thought, if this performance was from Calabria the reception would have been different, actually the problem is they have a bias towards our primavera players

Baresis Dream

Yes, that clearly puts it to bed. My own eyes < god < football-italia. What will Conti's rating he if actually managed to connect a key pass in the final third? How many assists did he have to warrant this score ? Near assists? The average rating there for our team is around 8 for a game we barely created chances in (wtf!) against who knows from Romania (wtf2!) at san siro no less. It's not about criticizing or championing Conti. He didn't have a great game yesterday, but he might have great wonderful performances in the future. He wasn't… Read more »

Kourosh

You are entitled to trust in your own eyes and I respect that, I was just respectfully pointing out that they might not be the most educated eyes. If you believe your own analysis over the majority of other fans, that’s perfectly fine. If you trust it more than the majority of football experts and best selling newspapers in Italy who do this for a living, then good for you, but bro, personally I’m not that full of myself. Never mind football-italia, I posted Gazzetta above, Tuttosport below, and here is another one from sportmediaset : http://www.sportmediaset.mediaset.it/calcio/europa_league/europa-league-il-milan-vola-ai-playoff_1165609-201702a.shtml There are others,… Read more »

Baresis Dream

Ok Kourash, you seem like a reasonable sensible guy. Let me point out a few things coming out of my “full of itself” mind: 1. Football experts don’t write for football italia they coach football teams. 2. Most of these reporters copy off each other anyways, as they have many such articles to write, and unlike you or me, they aren’t necessarily fans who care enough to pay attention throughout 90 min (see any big difference between these so-called analyses?) 3. It’s all a matter of what yardstick you measure against. Did he give a performance better than Abate’s average… Read more »

Kourosh

I spoke my mind in the first place, then tried to prove my point by providing those links since I’m not an expert.

I could counter your points (your first two assumptions for example are way off) but I’m not gonna do it. It’s ok though, you don’t have to change your opinion, I accept your judgement for what it is. In general, I’m not usually one to prolong arguments, as I get bored easily (Milan10 amazes me in this regard 🙂 ) and nothing will come of it anyway. People rarely change their conclusions, no matter the circumstances.

Milan10

Well, that’s exactly because u still sleep under ur nice thick AC Milan blanket kourosh *dwayne Johnson eyebrow lift followed swiftly by real man wink

Ink

It was never about ratings. It was about trusting our own judgement. Personally what I saw, are two great tackles – which was a surprise considering how bad he is defensively, and some nice link up with Suso. Now, lets put this in retrospective. Did I see Abate blocking the crosses in the first match and put a solid defensive effort? I did. Did I see Abate linking up in the attack? I did (though, not too much – he had Borini). Did I see Abate working hard on the pitch and put up a solid all around? I did.… Read more »

Kourosh

Of course we can criticize after a win, it’s just the part you picked to criticize. Now obviously you have your conclusions, mine is you picked on Conti out of your fondness for Calabria-Abate, and the fact that you were oppossed to this transfer from the get-go. You believed it would be a waste since he’s not an improvement on Calabria if I rememnber correctly, and you’re trying to stay by your prediction through criticizing Conti when it’s unneccesary, which is not fair. That is the definition of being biased. Rodriguez is an awesome player, he had an assist on… Read more »

Ink

Also, another thing to put in retrospective, I have been impressed by Rodriguez’s performances. So you can understand I was not ecstatic about Conti’s.
Compare their performance in the match and you probably can see.

Misund

Conti didnt perform well for his own standards but he was a massive improvement over abate. Abete is im sorry to say useless. He cant get past his man and he cant cross. Conti have contributed to as many goals as abate have in two SerieA seasons. Calabria on the other hand is one exellent prospect. and we are lucky to have him. But Conti is older and more complete. More proven and ready to go.

Mike

Bro, conti.. blew my mind away.. the guys who is doubting him, I will just tell them how he tackled the ball, if Calabria or not to mention Abate can do once then I will tell you guys have better vision. Cuz the game he played didn’t show his attacking skills only also it showed his defensive skills too, massively. I with great pleasure say this, finally Milan has two solid wing backs.. last time we had was maybe 2007. So guys, we have suffered enough in the past, so we should be happy of the upgrades we got bcz… Read more »

AC4M

KESSIENNNNNNNN MOTM!

That goal couldn’t be disallowed!

musa

pls dnt loan calabria and mauri give them a chance motela loan Niang out of Italy.

fasobeli and mirabeli pls we need finisher Aubameyang or b
Andria bellotti or Costa plssssssss

Efosa

am so grateful to the management for mussaccio,this guy is a solid defender ,he has always impressed me from the moment he came to Milan

JIBOLA

Imagine Milan with Biglia, Bonucci and a world class 9 in this team, it’s gon be lit. Honestly am over-exited and av got every right to after 5 years of pains.

Anyone who thinks Montella is playing just 4-3-3 needs better understanding of the game because in last 2 games, i’ve seen tactical variations and switch of players positions during games, this will create tactical unpredictability but requires players with high level of intelligence and attention to detail.

I’m hopeful and pray Montella does well to gel this team asap.

Ricky

For me I guess the system is similar to that of Barcelona where you have Iniesta and Xavi in front of Basquet. So here we have Bona and Kessie in front of Locatelli. Which is like inverted triangle in the middle.

Naz

Whatever about signing a new striker I’m far more concerned about paying for Bonuchi and Biglia! But isn’t Cutrone doing well? I’m delighted with him, he’s so committed and energetic, he lacks a little bit of focus as you can see by him going just a tad to early before the pass being made or even seen by his teammates but that will come with age and games under his belt I also think Kessie will be our most important signing he’s just a total destroyer in the middle of the field and works his socks of helping both defence… Read more »

Efosa

montella please if u do read this note that mussachio is too good and solid to be benched he is a rock in defence,knows wen to tackle and has good reflex,so I wud suggest when all players r back,deploy a 3-5-2 formation
donnarumma
mussa-bonucci-romagnoli
conti/abate—- kessie—— biglia/locatelli/montolivo—bona/calhanoglu—ricrod/Calabria
cutrone/x——silver

Slyfox

Things I observed from this match and subsequent matches Overall, yesterday’s match was the best Milan match we’ve watched in quite a while,I know some people will say its just craiova,but believe me when I say Wigan won the FA cup from the championship So,let’s take a look at our team and some of our players,and I specifically scouted two players from craiova DONNARUMA: After yesterdays performance and subsequent performances,we now see why we were so hurt by his initial decision,we didn’t admit it during his renewal saga because of pride,we were so hurt not because of his refusal(many players… Read more »

Klum

Here is what i think about the game. It was a poor match from Milan who could have done way more with their possession. They lacked COMPOSURE which is a weapon. I would have preferred to see Mastour getting the minutes instead of Niang who is too inconsistent and manipulative and full of ego to realise that he is too full of himself, too lazy and selfish. In the end he will likely turn out like Balotelli. He is 22 and I’m afraid he will be tolerated until 25 like his counterpart for us to realise that it was all… Read more »

Baresis Dream

Finally, someone who was not wowed and bedazzled by our performance last night. 2-3 chances against nobodies from Romania, who taught us a lesson or two at their home, and everyone here is over the roof.

Kourosh

I thought it was a good game. I thought we had a lot of composure actually. I think we should just forget about Mastour. And I definitely think Jack and Suso are great players.

That’s just me though.

Also, would you care to explain more about this triangle concept of yours.

Gifted Italian

tikka taca involving 3 players and the first person to recieve the ball is also the last

Kourosh

Thanks for the education.

lukman

I was in pressed with our overall performance.kudos to my boys. I said u shld all watch out for cutrone,the guy is improving game by game.pls fans,don’t put too much pressure on niage.leave him to develop chemistry with other players.he need our support and courage.

Agni

Congrats montella for a winning start at San siro this season.

Everything seems positive around milan.

Let’s keep the momentum and work peacefully towards the beginning of the serie a.

Awaiting good news on biglia and bonnucci front.

Forza Milan. Keep the diavolo flag flying high.

razorsss

Biglia has been given clearance to play. Clearance for Bonucci is underway. So nothing to be afraid of.

Psalmist

The way Kessi plays makes me think of a game between friends. He’s so enthusiastic in passing, tackling, pressing attacking and shooting. Does his job with a smile on his face.

Really feel like he is gonna become a firm fan favourite

VanBasten

he is the rock we where missing so many years
for me the best buy

Milan10

“Gigio is the son of us all and when a son makes a mistake you stiffen a little, then you don’t expect anything but the right moment to embrace him.” Great analogy Montella. Now that bonucci and big like are eligible I hope u try different formations for next matches. Progressive people are not afraid of trying new things right montella? And yes I also got goosebumps when Milan introduced biglia and bonucci. Like I said, I miss roaring San Siro. Also, if a night at San Siro was deemed too hot, I can only imagine how hard wc in… Read more »

Milan10

Look at don bona smiling in that picture. Only a guy who knows for damn sure he’s gonna score and help his team win would smile that way