After the end of the two-round series, AC Milan failed to go any further, but fell at the feet of its sworn enemy in the same city. As the defending champion, Milan’s performance has been stumbling this season. Although the Champions League has reached the semi-finals, the league competition for the fourth place is in jeopardy. A series of wrong operations last summer laid the foundation for this chaotic season. How to restart the Rossoneri revival requires Milan to think and choose together.
[The four-game losing streak has made the Milan summer window even more inefficient]
Even after 16 years in the semi-finals, Milan’s Champions League journey this season is quite bitter and embarrassing. In two rounds, I suffered a double kill from my rival Inter Milan in the same city. Counting the Super Cup and the second round of the league, I was defeated by my opponent four times in a row, losing 7 goals but not scoring 1 goal. No matter what ranking Milan will end up in this season, it is a fact that Milan’s four-game losing streak in the derby is absolutely zero, which makes the team miserable both inside and outside.
Losing the Champions League to a deadly enemy and competing for the fourth place is in jeopardy. For a defending champion, this is definitely an unacceptable result. Coach Pioli has almost overdrawn his prestige in this stumbling season. Although he helped Milan to return to the Champions League and win a Serie A championship, the successive fiasco in January has made him "stand in prison" in the hearts of many fans, and the four-game losing streak in the Derby is even more "solid".
The total score of 0-3 is not good-looking, and Pioli’s use of troops is also debatable. But in the last two weeks, Milan has already run out of ammunition and food. In the first round, Leo was injured and the midfielder Ben Nasser was damaged; In the second round, defender Jiafu went off halfway, and Kalulu, who came off the bench, made a big mistake carelessly. The rest of the players are almost drained by the long season, and Gill, Special Olympics and krunic have all shown fatigue; Mesias and Tonali struggled hard, but they were powerless.
The bigger gap between the two sides actually lies in the rotation of the lineup. On the starting Milan may be equal to Inter Milan, but in the long-distance running of the season, Milan’s replacement lineup seems to be weak. Last summer, five players, such as Decatur, Origgi, Adelie, Dester and Franks, who were introduced and returned, failed to meet expectations and were not even included in the Champions League registration list. Only German defender Jiafu and youth training teenager Pobega showed certain value.
From the appearance lineup in the Champions League stage, we can also see Milan’s inefficiency last summer-Decatur, who invested heavily, only played in the first leg against Tottenham in the knockout stage; The only new aid with a starting record in the knockout round is Zhongwei Jiafu; In the two wars against Naples, not even a new aid started. Milan lost Casey and romagnoli last summer, and Ibrahimovic was close to retiring, but the Rossoneri hardly got any new blood, and it was almost doomed that they gradually declined at the end of the season. Inzaghi can let Lu Kaku play the league, Zhe Ke play the Champions League, and Milan can only hope that Gill will stick to his teeth.
[The concept is different, but the operation is different]
Therefore, the gap between Milan and Inter Milan in this series is actually the gap between the summer window transfer results. In the past year, both teams have experienced brain drain, and Inter Milan chose to fill it with mature players, such as Lu Kaku, acerbi and mkhitaryan. However, Milan chose to invest in young players to "scratch the lottery". Except for Origgi, who signed for free, all the other players are young people under the age of 23.
Two different strategies have different advantages and disadvantages. Inter Milan’s choice can bring more instant fighting power to the team. The third-line parallel is closely related to the performances of mkhitaryan and Lu Kaku. acerbi’s aging and growing stronger offset the negative impact of skrinjar’s "defection", so that Inter Milan will not lose its fighting power because of the absence of the core central defender. However, the cost of the lineup is high and the age is high. Even if the Champions League income is more than 100 million euros this season, the Nerazzurri’s loss has reached 100 million euros.
In contrast, Milan pays more attention to the long-term growth of the lineup, but it also loses experience and ability. Apart from Gill and Kyar, there are no core players over 30 in Milan. The cost of the lineup is also relatively controllable. With the Champions League results this season and the breakthrough in sponsorship, the Rossoneri, which had suffered losses for years, are expected to have a financial balance or even a small profit this season. But investing in young players requires patience, and not every bet can be rewarded. Germany’s Zhongwei Jiafu performed well in the second half, but in the first half, he experienced several months of "slow fire"; Decatur, who has high hopes, has not adapted yet.
But on the other hand, the operation of Inter manager Mallota is still more sophisticated than that of Milan director Paolo Maldini. In recent years, Inter Milan has lost its lineup every year, but Mallota, a seasoned player, has played a perfect game. After Lu Kaku left, he signed Zhe Ke, while Eriksson signed Chaer Hanoglu when he suffered from heart problems. Instead, it was the teams of Rome and Milan who took most of the damage for Inter Milan. Even if Inter Milan’s financial problems are frequently reported in newspapers, Mallota can still guarantee the team’s basic set at the league level.
But Maldini’s operation was too idealistic last summer. Hong Niao Fund hopes to invest in young players, but it is free to choose the specific target. However, the Milan uniform team did not supplement the backcourt when Kathy and romagnoli left the team. Instead, they introduced an attacker with unclear characteristics and outstanding strength, Decatur. Every time Maignan is in a hurry, many Milan fans will think, how nice it is to spend this 32 million yuan on a lower back!
Start all over again, but who will get a second chance? 】
Outside the stadium, Milan also sent ominous signals more than once. Before the first leg of the Champions League, Maldini called Hong Niao Capital and asked for more investment. After the exit, he once again pointed the finger at the management, claiming that "the management’s strategy" decided the transfer operation. In fact, the relationship between local managers and investment funds in Milan has always been subtle. In 2020, even Bo Ban was fired after firing at the employers. This time Maldini chose to fire, which made people worry whether he would make the same mistake again.
Both Eliot and Hong Niao Capital are obviously profit-seeking, hoping that the value of the team will gradually increase. But on the other hand, Maldini received a lot of financial support. Last summer, Milan’s net investment was the first in Serie A, and 32 million euros of Decatur also set a new record in the American-funded era. While criticizing the management strategy, the resource allocation and choice of trader Maldini are equally worth examining. However, with the exit from the Champions League, the contradiction between the two sides seems to be open again. Before starting again, perhaps the Rossoneri will have to face internal friction first.