Zaccheroni: “I like this Milan policy but results cannot be immediate, I’d never deprive myself of Kessié, Bennacer…”

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Alberto Zaccheroni during Qatar-United Arab Emirates at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium on January 29, 2019. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Alberto Zaccheroni has told the Milan fans to have patience, and said he thinks the Rossoneri are missing another striker who can score in double-digits.

The Diavolo play their last pre-season game tomorrow, taking on Cesena away from home (20:30 CEST kickoff).

Serie A starts next week and on August 25th the Rossoneri will face Udinese for the first Matchday and for Marco Giampaolo’s official debut. Alberto Zaccheroni, who arrived to coach Milan in 1998 after three years at Udinese, spoke to Tuttosport this week about the state of the Red and Black club.

“The summer friendly matches are only for the coaches to begin to understand the characteristics of the players, but they don’t give valid indications other than that. Therefore, we have to wait for the first official encounters to give a valid judgment,” the 66-year-old said.

“If I prefer to start the interview talking about Inter rather than Milan since I’m a Nerazzurri fan? I was a fan of Inter for up to 16 years. Then I rooted for the teams where I played and coached. And when I’m not coaching, I’m rooting for the teams that focus on young players.

Alberto Zaccheroni during United Arab Emirates-Australia at Hazaa bin Zayed Stadium on January 25, 2019. (GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

“If I therefore like this Milan? I like the line of focusing on the quality of the game and looking for young talent. But you must take into account that with this policy, the results cannot be immediate. The coach is new, the management is new, and even the ownership is almost new. The players purchased are in the growth phase and not in the middle of their careers, so it will take some time. But the Milanista fans have more patience than others.

“There’s still patience even after not very good seasons? I remember arriving in after an 11th and 10th-placed finish. And the fans welcomed me very well. And at this moment a patient approach seems to be the most reasonable considering the club can’t buy players who have already won the World Cup or the Champions League.

Alberto Zaccheroni during a press conference at Zayed Sports City Stadium on January 4, 2019. (KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)

“If Giampaolo is the Italian coach who plays the best football along with Sarri? It is a very subjective speech. Playing better for who? There are those who prefer vertical football that allows you to get to the goal with two passes. And there are those who, on the contrary, are excited by dribbling football. I think that, beyond schemes and tactics, it’s important that the coach knows how to capture his players. There are those who do it with words, some in training and some with results. All in function of going to score goals. And here there is one aspect on which I think that this Milan are a bit lacking.

“Which one? For me, a great team must have three offensive players who guarantee at least 50 goals per season. I’m talking about the starters and two reserves. At this moment, also considering Ángel Correa’s probable arrival, statistics in hand – only Piątek has the ability to score in double figures. Rafael Leão, Correa and Suso don’t. Then the midfielders have to compensate. That’s why I would never deprive myself of Kessié, a formidable midfielder with unique skills of inserting himself in the box. And looking at the last few weeks of the market, I would invest in a double-digit striker that adds weight to Piątek. I believe that Giampaolo could go and ask for a player with these numbers if he realizes that the lack is serious.

Alberto Zaccheroni reacts during United Arab Emirates-Kyrgyzstan at Zayed Sports City Stadium on January 21, 2019. (KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)

“The experiment of Suso as a trequartista? I like Suso very much when he starts off-center and converges in the middle behind the strikers. It’s different instead to wait for the ball when already in the middle as it will happen with this new position. It will be necessary to understand if he’ll be able to adapt where you need to simultaneously view the ball and the goal. But I bet on Suso’s desire for redemption after a season in which, in my opinion, he received too much criticism. And I have faith in Giamapolo who knows perfectly the characteristics that a ‘fantasista’ must have, because for him that role is fundamental.

“Which new Rossoneri signing intrigues me the most? Bennacer. Because in Giampaolo’s game the ability to keep the ball in the middle of the field is fundamental, otherwise you suffer on the wings because with the three central midfielders and a trequartista you are more grouped in the central area of the pitch. And the regista becomes fundamental there, the interpretation of the game saves you. But I think Milan will still be making some more signings.

23 May 1999: Alberto Zaccheroni celebrating at the end of Perugia-Milan at Stadio Renato Curi on May 23, 2019. (Allsport UK /Allsport)

“If I realized that I had such a mature dressing room at Milan considering Paolo Maldini and Zvonimir Boban are now directors at Milan; Leonardo, Oliver Bierhoff and Demetrio Albertini have become directors; George Weah and Kakha Kaladze are involved in politics in their country; and Gennaro Gattuso, Roberto Donadoni, Andriy Shevchenko, Maurizio Ganz and Federico Giunti are coaches? Yes, they are people of great personality, and with a lot of respect.

“Maldini, Costacurta and Albertini were exemplary. No one has ever created problems. From day one I talked about respect for roles. In the locker room I was the only one talking on half time during the games. After three years I told Maldini that he too could spur his teammates when we were in trouble and he reminded me of what I had said on the first day about respecting roles. I’m convinced that outside the locker room he made himself heard with his teammates who were wrong in attitude. But inside he let me hear only my voice.”

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Milan10
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Milan10

And that double digit lplayer shouldve been cutrone, goddammit. I never overhyped him and said he’s new inzaghi or something like les midtables said but i did say he’s new massaro or simone; a one dimensional player who had heart and did their one job well. Correa and leao are fantastic, mobile, creative ss but their existence would mean jackshit when piatek inevitably is in goal drought mode or even worse, injured.
Oh, and people who say milan should forget abour correa clearly doesnt understand football, let alone 4-4-2 formation

soheil balini
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soheil balini

No Correa is better. He scored 7 match winners throughout his career. He also was a phenomenal at age 9. I say we sell Donna & Piatek to get him!

Seems-Simple
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Seems-Simple

this guy soheil is a troll. its strange to think he is a football fan because he doesn’t understand anything

soheil balini
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soheil balini

Yeah I watched my first football match (Milan-Genoa) friendly when I was 5 (& you probably wasn’t born yet). I went through stupid fans believing “Chamott” is better than Costacorta. I was there when fans like you believed Coco/Seedorf swap was a mistake. I was there when fans believed Pirlo is finished. I was there last year when I killed myself to people like you understand that Rino can’t take us to ucl. Fans that bet me to not come here anymore & yet they are. So yeah Im a troll for stating that selling young talents for next to… Read more »

Seems-Simple
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Seems-Simple

your a dinosaur mate. the reason you disagree with all the good of this team is because your used to the old days but I live in reality. football these days is nothing like back then and you would rather keep cutrone then sign correa…. that shows what you know. cutrone stats or no stats does not offer anything on or off the ball he is a finisher but that is all about it his touches are nothing special and his dribbling is not special his off the ball movement is not special… do you want me to lie about… Read more »

A.R.
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A.R.

Easy on the dinosaur comparisons, my friend! Soheil is not alone in the category of fans who were in the prime of their lifes during Milan`s golden years…
I completely agree, though, that the business of football today cannot be compared to how it was a few decades ago.

Nathan Graegin
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Nathan Graegin

I completely agree. We already saw that when cutrone was given real game time he scores consistently. In his first year he was a machine. But when you limit a forwards time like last year, then his goals dry up. Ppl say they couldn’t play together but the few times they did, not once did they get in each other’s way and cutrone even set him up for a goal. Having a ss while piatek is struggling makes zero sense. Let’s do math. 0 goals + 0 goals equals :0 0 goals!

Seems-Simple
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Seems-Simple

I disagree. cutrone scored but not as consitantly as you are making it sound. he scored a few goals here and there but in most games where he didn’t score he wasn’t offering much on or off the ball. now don’t get me wrong when the ball fell to cutrone he can score most of the time but he never really created these opportunities from his own play. if you want to compare players like legend inzaghi, inzaghi was not the best player to have on the ball but his off the ball movement was beyond world class cutrone who… Read more »

Nathan Graegin
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Nathan Graegin

Wait you think cutrones off the ball movement isn’t good? He makes piatek look like he’s standing still all game and cutrone link up play is def better than piatek. And cutrones first season he scored a lot, idk what you were watching but he had like 15 or so goals mainly from the bench. If you’ve been keeping up with his wolves performances he has a few assists and has been great in build up play.

A.R.
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A.R.

You should not underestimate the fact that Cutrone wanted more playing time, and rightly so in my opinion. Clearly playing Piatek and Cutrone together was not in the cards. Doing so for sentimental reasons would definetly not reflect positivily on the management`s ambitions. Now, I agree that Cutrone would be the perfect alternative when Piatek for some reason was not playing. BUT for Cutrone, sitting on the bench for 95% of the season would be catastrophic. He needs lots of playing time to develop further. Probably at Wolves he has been promised more of that than Milan was willing to… Read more »

Milan10
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Milan10

Maybe reading comprehension aint les midtables’ forte but i did say on this very comment that i wouldnt overrate cutrone and say he’s next inzaghi. I said hes massaro 2.0; a nice back up st who’s a bit one dimensional but get the job done. He’s classic #9 who cant do jackshit on the pitch except for scoring. And thats the whole point; he’s one of very few milan players who can guarantee 2 digits goals each season. Back then milan had tomasson or massaro, man utd had solskjaer, Arsenal had wiltord. Every team needs this kind of back up… Read more »

Raven
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Raven

Look pal, I’m south american who sees a lot of argentinian football TV shows, the Argentinian likes to hype their players, Correa gets nonattention, they know the player is average at most. Lo Celso that’s a good playmaker and actually what we need.

Protheus
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Protheus

Paolo Maldini to me is bigger thn any other names in football, maradona, pele, everyone else is not as big as maldini in my eyes. Yes, I’m biased of course, I’m one of his biggest fans. Such a complete superstar, a perfect role model, a champion with a single team, unfazed by money and any other bs. Watching him play football in his prime is a privilege for me, I’ve never seen any defender as elegant and as skillful as he was. Back thn it was rly easy to pick which milan jersey should you buy for the new season,… Read more »

Pele80
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Pele80

Is someone jealous of Giampaolo?. Lol.

Martin Bernhard
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Martin Bernhard

What, why would he be that ? if anything it should be giampaolo who was jealous of Zaccheroni as he had the better squad playing in a far better league and even won a serie a championship. As much as im intrigued by giampaolos style of management and tactics he has a long way to go before he tops Zaccaheroni.

Ash
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Ash

Accurate insight, i think Leao is the gamble who is supposed to deliver double digits. Let’s also not forget Cutrone delivered double digits when he plays i.e. 2 seasons ago he finished as our top scorer with 15 goals so it was a mistake to sell him for peanuts. in 4312 of ancelotti we have sheva and inzaghi both +20 goal strikers, we had kaka who would score 15-20 goals + seedorf who chipped in with 10 goals per season, zaccharoni is right in this context. Right now based on that logic, not saying its right or wrong we dont… Read more »

nick
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nick

While I agree with Zaccheroni assessment on having more strikers that can score double digits I cannot say that Milan management or coach isn’t aware that we need a backup for piatek. The transfer market hasn’t closed yet so I’m sure they are trying to sign more players. We are linked with Alexis Sanchez and just recent Depay agent was at Milan. I don’t know the backstory on why cutrone was sold but it was obvious that Milan wanted to get rid of him even at a low fee. This leads me to believe that there might be some locker… Read more »

Lando
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Lando

Exactly nick, if Milan think cutrone is as good as what people here think he is
then i doubt Milan would let him go easily
I strongly believe cutrone want to be given guarantee that he will get more minutes if not most this season, something that i think Giampaolo and the others couldn’t give
I don’t agree with Alexis tho, his salary is too high
i would prefer other options