Feature

Milan and Inter need to stand and deliver again

After living in the shadows of Turin-based giants Juventus, it's time for both Milan clubs to raise themselves as title challengers once again.

Mauro Icardi

Inter Milan captain Mauro Icardi during his team's loss to Chievo Verona. Source: Getty Images

It is a legitimate argument to say that most clubs in Italy have lived in the rather imposing shadow of Juventus during the last five seasons.

However, neither of these once-great clubs have been any sort of threat to the 'Bianconeri' during that time but for the good of Italian football it would be best if they were. 

The serious contenders for Juventus’s throne have been Roma and Napoli and, while there is a certain feel-good story about these two clubs given that they hail from football obsessed regions of Italy, the Serie A still needs both of the Milan teams to be serious challengers as well.

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The nation’s richest city and commercial heart has always produced two outstanding football teams and while both have had their moment in the sun at the expense of the other, it is hard to remember a period when both have been in the doldrums for so long as measured by their own high standards. 

AC Milan under the guidance of another new coach in Vincenzo Montella – one has lost count of how many they have gone through in recent seasons since Massimiliano Allegri was shown the door - were not convincing in their season opening game over Torino which ironically has taken on one of Milan’s discarded recent mentors in Sinisa Mihaijlovic. 

A hat-trick to the Colombian Carlos Bacca and some poor 'Toro' defending combined to give Milan the victory at the San Siro over a team which, at best, are a mid-table outfit. 

Milan need desperately to regain and earn the lost trust from their fans which have in some ways abandoned their team because they have been so disappointed by them in recent seasons. 

On a positive note the fans did warmly welcome the side onto hallowed turf of the San Siro right from the warm-up on Sunday and Milan desperately need to keep producing positive results in order to harness that new found enthusiasm.

However, if things do go pear-shaped the late summer love from the fans will dwindle down to a passing interest as the cold northern Italian winter sets in. 

Under a new ownership deal sealed earlier this month which will see Milan leave the hands of the flamboyant former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and move under the auspices of a Chinese consortium, the club should receive the desperately needed cash injection they crave to enter the serious player market given the huge financial loss they posted last season which hindered proceedings. 

With many of the top European clubs funded from money from various Gulf and other Asian owners, the days of a locally funded Milan were always going to end sooner rather than later. 

One the great names of Italian and world football risked being left behind as EPL and Spanish clubs moved well ahead forcing clubs like Milan to miss out on the top tier of quality players that are needed to compete at the highest levels, both domestically and in Europe.

Their neighbours Inter Milan, now under the guidance of Dutchman Frank De Boer after a recent switch from Roberto Mancini, have too experienced the paradigm shift of Chinese ownership recently even though they were already foreign owned. 



Hoping to capture a Serie A Scudetto – they haven’t won one since the days of Jose Mourinho in 2010 and they finished 24 points off the pace last season – the club got off to the worst possible start to the season on Sunday with a stunning loss to Chievo Verona, one of the real minnows of the Serie A. 

Inter are meant to be there in the mix with Roma and Napoli as one of the threats to Juventus but already De Boer has come in for some sharp criticism. In fairness to him he should at least be given a chance since he has only just started at the helm. 

The focus of the criticism has been on some of his selections which is nothing new for a coach, but the fact that he left out Croatian star Ivan Perisic did raise some eyebrows. 

Inter started with Italy’s Eder as their focal point in a rather strange 3-5-2 formation with the talented duo of Antonio Candreva and Yuto Nagatomo on the wings.

As time goes on and if results continue to be poor, it may be only fair to get De Boer to explain his thought process a little more.

He waited until the hour mark to send on Perisic but also left out the talented Montenegrin Stevan Jovetic.  It will be a complicated season for Inter’s coach if fans and the media are left scratching their heads at some unusual team selections. 

As the new Serie A season gets into full swing with midweek rounds and all, with travel to some small venues such as Crotone,  Empoli, Sassuolo and Pescara thrown into the mix, it is only fair to expect and demand a lot more than what Milan and their neighbours Inter showed in the opening round.



 


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5 min read
Published 23 August 2016 at 6:23pm
By Joe Russo