Austerity measures bite at sorry Milan
MILAN - Reuters
Milan midfielder Antonio Nocerino reacts after missing a scoring chance against Anderlecht. The Italian side had a disappointing start to the Champions League.AC Milan gave supporters a cruel reminder of what they were missing when the San Siro’s giant screen showed Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva scoring for Paris St Germain during the Champions League football ties Sept. 18.
Offloaded to help Milan try to balance the books, the pair helped their new club to beat Dynamo Kiev 4-1 while their former teammates were laboring to a dismal 0-0 draw against Anderlecht.
Coach Massimiliano Allegri, who also lost forward Antonio Cassano when Milan swapped him with Inter’s Giampaolo Pazzini, appeared to be clutching at straws as he tried to put a brave face on a shocking performance.
“In the first half we made a lot of mistakes and in the second half we had four goal scoring chances,” he told reporters. “Of course you need goals to win games but we took a small step forward and I’m happy with what the players did.”
Allegri has tried to remain upbeat while seeing his squad disbanded throughout the summer, although his team’s formation did not help the situation.
The coach fielded Pazzini and Urby Emanuelson in attack with Kevin-Prince Boateng just behind them and Mathieu Flamini and Antonio Nocerino on the flanks.
With the other midfielder Nigel de Jong concentrating on a destructive role, the plan left a huge gap in the centre of Milan’s midfield.
Milan had huge problems playing the ball out of defense.
De Jong, heralded by chief executive Adriano Galliani as the missing link in the Milan team when he was signed from Manchester City, did little more than pass the ball sideways against Anderlecht and in practice acted as a fifth defender.
In contrast, Anderlecht’s midfield was slick and passed the ball crisply, although the team had trouble converting its neat approach work into scoring chances.
Galliani has repeated that Milan had no option other than to sell Ibrahimovic and Silva as the club could no longer afford their wages.
While Milan has slashed their wage bill, the team could also suffer a drop in income through plummeting gate receipts.
Milan fans stayed away in droves, with the San Siro only one-third full against Anderlecht.