Milan winning but San Siro in turmoil: here’s what’s behind the whistles

Against Slavia there were moments in the match in which Meazza became noticeably impatient. From static play to discontinuity, passing through individual and departmental errors: all the reasons for disappointment in the eyes of the fans


March 8 – 8.40pm – MILAN

The Milan of paradoxes – the one that crushed PSG and then took three in Rennes, so to speak – is no exception even in the evaluations of its fans. Because even San Siro, from a certain point of view, is a paradox: people sometimes boo, but – luckily for the Devil – it is always full. And so it happens that while the overall seasonal turnout is moving rapidly towards one and a half million spectators (about one hundred thousand missing, in line with last year’s data), testifying to the great affection and desire to be there on the part of the his people, at the same time boos rain down. Last night for an eighth of the Europa League against the second team of the Czech championship – translated: there are more stimulating matches – around 55 thousand Rossoneri fans showed up at the Meazza. In the second half, after seeing Milan in numerical superiority for over half an hour and unable to definitively close out the match, they started booing. It didn’t last long, but the decibels were definitely substantial.

peaks and thuds

The episode that uncorked the discontent that had been brewing for a while was a mix-up in front of Maignan about a quarter of an hour from the end, when the Rossoneri seriously risked taking the three-to-three at the end of a tragic series of errors in the defensive phase. Leao’s goal (partially) fixed things, but it didn’t erase hardships that in theory shouldn’t have happened. The basic problem is that this Milan goes too quickly from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. Unpredictable: peaks and thuds that send fans on a roller coaster that they would gladly do without. And not only over the course of the season, but also – and here it gets more wicked – within the same match. Dazzling first times and complicated takes, or vice versa. Something that generates a powerful anger in those who witness it because when the Devil is in the moment up, it’s a spectacle to watch him play. And we wonder what the factor is that causes the team to lose everything: game flow and mental approach.

few outlets

Last night, in particular, Meazza was already getting impatient before the risks taken in the second half. Because, apart from the last quarter of an hour of the first half, Milan wore a gray suit that was not elegant, but boring and of poor quality. An infinite number of passes through dead-end horizontal routes, without movements dictated by the midfielders. One number above all to understand: Kjaer touched the ball 121 times (!), a disgrace, finding himself forced for long handfuls of seconds to exchange the ball with Gabbia, that is, with the only teammate who was truly “practicable” without taking risks. Alternatives: a few long balls that were lost in the void, not exactly the best way to flush out a team with one man less.

on a swing

What also stood out were the many, too many, technical errors. In all departments. Outgoing, in the choices on the attacking midfield, in the defensive positioning. Gabbia made a couple of blunders, Hernandez lost his man on the second Czech goal, no one was able to turn on Leao with any continuity. And, but this is a more general discussion, it would be reasonable to expect a greater contribution on average from the big players in the squad. The left lane, for example, continues to run on alternating current. Theo and Leao live for weeks on end and when they manage to convince everyone that the gear they are finally in is the right one, the next time they put it in reverse. Unnerving, in the eyes of the fans who – for some time now – have been especially angry with Pioli. Yesterday’s boos were aimed at everyone, but in the reflections of the Rossoneri people the first defendant is the coach, who generates a widespread sentence: cycle over, change inevitable. The people have already given their verdict, the club has not yet. First we need to understand the evolution of the last two and a half months of the season because right now it is legitimate to imagine any scenario regarding Pioli’s future. And in the meantime the paradox continues: San Siro continues to crowd with people, but many are ready to whistle.