There was a sense of optimism and positivity this summer as Milan appointed Marco Giampaolo with a vision of getting back to the top and doing it in style.
Judging from his previous stints at Empoli and Sampdoria, the 52-year-old joined us with a reputation of playing attractive football, but it appeared as though his ideas and methods didn’t get across to the Milan players as things simply didn’t click.
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There were positive signs over pre-season, as Milan showed glimpses of his brand of football and that in turn suggested we’d see a transformation as the campaign went on. However, seven games in and having lost four of those outings to leave us in 13th place, time is already up for Giampaolo.
Debate will no doubt rage on over whether or not Giampaolo was given enough time, but it’s unclear if there were further issues behind the scenes which ultimately forced Paolo Maldini and Zvonimir Boban to make their decision.
However, Giampaolo is gone and now Stefano Pioli is expected to step in and try to lead us forward to reach our objectives this season, as per MilanNews.
Marco Giampaolo has now become the manager with the shortest coaching spell in the history of Milan (111 days) pic.twitter.com/9IwfuYTSB0
— Milan Eye (@MilanEye) October 8, 2019
Lack of conviction, clarity in approach
As noted by Football Italia, Giampaolo added to the scrutiny and confusion by conceding after his very first competitive game that he may have to make concessions and change his tactics and plans to suit his side.
That is a questionable move after just one game, and that arguably showed a lack of conviction and trust even in his own methods and a failure to implement his plans while the players were seemingly not good enough to adapt and make the necessary adjustments.
Should he have had more time? Perhaps, but ultimately he had a few months over the summer to either get his ideas across, or find compromises. It shouldn’t have taken the first game of the season to draw such crucial conclusions and similar questions were raised after each performance.
Conversely, some may look at that and credit him for trying to adapt in order to get the best out of his players.
Not enough improvement, failure to get ideas across
Seven games still perhaps wasn’t enough time, but it was sufficient in the eyes of the Milan management to be convinced that they needed to act and make their change now.
There were positive signs in the first half at Torino, and that was arguably the best we looked under Giampaolo in terms of our play on and off the ball.
However, from the opening-weekend loss at Udinese to the horror show against Inter and the capitulation at home to Fiorentina, those were unacceptable results and the performances were dire. Giampaolo needed his side to show improvement on a consistent basis at least in the performance aspect to show progress was being made, and ultimately he wasn’t able to and paid the price with his job.
Didn’t play new signings enough
From taking Ismael Bennacer out of the starting XI despite his impressive debut to Rafael Leao being benched against Genoa and the lack of playing time for Ante Rebic and Rade Krunic, these are all players who should have played more.
They all seemingly suit Giampaolo’s demands both on and off the ball with their energy, tenacity and technical quality, and yet he didn’t give them prominent enough roles.
Again, it comes back to whether or not he had enough time to work with them and if they would have gone on to become pillars of the side with patience. However, Giampaolo’s selections and decision-making weren’t working and it has led to the plug being pulled on his stint in charge.
Relied too much on underperforming stars
Even after our win over Genoa last weekend, a game in which Suso did little to impress, Giampaolo praised the Spaniard and insisted he had a good game, as per MilanNews.
By also sticking with Hakan Calhanoglu and Franck Kessie as well as giving Lucas Biglia and Samu Castillejo plenty of playing time, he was showing too much trust and reliance in players who simply weren’t delivering and have been consistently not good enough in recent times.
Suso and Calhanoglu were arguably the most culpable in that regard, and while they need to take responsibility yet again as another coach has departed, Giampaolo’s insistence on continuing to start them and leave them in the side in crucial roles without offering enough quality and consistency was a major factor in his own downfall.
Back in September, Giampaolo remained convinced that Suso was capable of playing as a trequartista, as noted by MilanNews, and it was calls like that which also must have seen him lose a sense of confidence and perhaps contributed to the decision to axe him.