AC Milan Appoint Club Legend Gattuso as Interim Manager
Following a goalless draw against Torino at the San Siro, Serie A giants AC Milan have parted ways with manager Vincenzo Montella. The Rossoneri have pulled the plug on Montella following a disappointing start to the season. It is the second worst run after 14 league games having recorded six defeats only one less than the 1941/42 side. The seven-time European Champions currently sit seventh on the log 18 points off league leaders, Napoli.
Despite a summer spending spree of €230 Million backed by the new Chinese owner Li Yonghong, Montella failed to turn around the fortunes of Milan. The club hasn’t finished higher than the sixth position in the last four seasons. New acquisitions such as Leonardo Bonucci, Hakan Calhanoglu and Andre Silva have failed to settle and gel in with the rest of the team. AC Milan has already suffered defeats against top teams Roma, Inter, Juventus and Napoli this season. Mr. Montella’s dismissal comes 17 months into his job in a club that was once a fixture in the Champions League places.
Having been promoted from the youth side, Rino as he is popularly known, has his work cut out for him. The former midfield general featured in a team that included the likes of Paolo Maldini, Clarence Seedorf, Andrea Pirlo and Filippo Inzaghi. Gattuso made 468 appearances winning two Serie A titles, two Champions League titles, two UEFA Super Cups and Coppa Italia in a trophy-laden career that span over a decade. The controversial player known for his temper was capped 72 times. He won the 2006 FIFA World Cup under the management of Marcelo Lippi. He has been working in Milan’s youth system after failing to establish himself elsewhere. Gattuso has landed short stints at Palermo, F.C Sion, Pisa and OFI Crete from Greece. His average win rate stands at a disappointing 31%.
AC Milan are currently eleven points outside the Champions League qualification slots. The San Siro based side needs to qualify for Champions League to circumnavigate UEFA FFP (financial fair play). These rules were created to prevent clubs from overspending by boosting profits realized in China. This could have been one of the reasons why Montella’s contract was terminated.
Among the first things on his checklist as the new boss include;
Gattuso will need to prove himself like Zinedine Zidane has done at Real Madrid. He needs to show his tactical prowess as he will be facing more experienced managers.
Get the dressing room behind him
As the new boss needs to get his players together, playing as a unit. He needs to create a balanced squad that offers an attacking threat going forward.
Help new signings adopt
To achieve the two tasks above, Rino will need to help the new players settle in quickly. As a player who plied his trade at the San Siro from 1999-2012, Gattuso will need to impact players such as Hakan Calhanoglu positively. This is because, like Zidane, he is well aware of what it means to pull on the red and black AC Milan Jersey and the pressure and expectations that come with it.
Improve club performance
He will be tasked with an immediate reaction to revive the club’s fortune. Getting them into the top six will be the first priority then charting the way forward from there. Alternatively, he could seek to use the Europa League route into Champions League qualification. He has to work hard to prove himself worthy of the long-term appointment when the season ends in May. Given that his fellow teammates Inzaghi and Seedorf have both failed in recent years, he will have his to-do list full when he enters the Manager’s office at the San Siro.