Milan fell to an embarrassing 5-0 defeat to Atalanta on Sunday as we signed off 2019 on a terrible note with a damaging loss in Bergamo.
The warning signs were evident at an early stage and things gradually got worse as the game went on with the hosts running riot in the second half as we were simply outclassed.
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As has been the case for a number of years now, an upturn in form is seemingly always a false dawn as we’re still capable of horrendous performances like the one seen this weekend, and it remains to be seen what the fallout is in the coming days.
Outclassed by Atalanta
Both collectively and within individual battles on the pitch, Milan were second best and were completely outclassed by an Atalanta side which didn’t cost nearly as much to assemble.
While there is a major coaching influence involved in such a factor, the players simply didn’t compete and were hugely disappointing as we didn’t even match Atalanta in terms of effort and grit which is unacceptable.
If outplayed when performing at a high level, it’s easier to understand. However, Milan were never really in the game and looked to be levels below their opposition while making fundamental mistakes which should have been addressed in training in midweek.
Nightmare return for Conti
After a run of improved performances, Conti came crashing back down this weekend as he was exposed on countless occasions down the right flank.
It might have been helpful if Pioli addressed the situation and made adjustments to help him out with neither Franck Kessie nor Suso doing much to support him, but ultimately he had to do better in his individual battle.
Time will tell if that sets him back now and knocks him off course after showing improvement, but this was a game which brutally exposed his flaws which still clearly exist.
Players largely to blame
It was apparent throughout the game from Pioli’s reactions and frustration on the sideline that the players weren’t carrying out his instructions.
That was largely down to our lack of intensity and determination off the ball as players were seemingly out of position and didn’t close down quick enough, which essentially allowed Atalanta to play through us and create countless dangerous opportunities.
While Pioli will take some of the responsibility, it was embarrassing to watch some of the players on the pitch on Sunday not only in terms of their lack of impact in an attacking sense, but also what came across as a lack of desire in their defending and lack of intelligence and awareness on the pitch as they couldn’t cope with Atalanta.
Fundamental problems rear ugly head again
Every so often, it comes back to the same old problems for Milan. While we show signs of life and improvement, we’re still more than capable of producing an embarrassing display.
More often that not, it was always seems to centre around the same key players not doing enough and raising question marks over whether or not they should still be in the squad let alone the starting XI.
Conti, Mateo Musacchio, Ricardo Rodriguez, Franck Kessie, Suso and Hakan Calhanoglu were all poor, the likes of Rafael Leao didn’t do enough and it has to be said we’re surely going to start running the risk of losing pillars of the side with Gianluigi Donnarumma and Alessio Romagnoli perhaps starting to question their futures at Milan.
Embarrassing day for everyone
While a large part of this post is directed at the players, this is an embarrassing result for all concerned at the club, not least the fans.
It was simply nowhere near good enough on the pitch and so the players and coaches will have to face up to that element of the disappointment created this weekend, but it starts with the hierarchy and their decisions over the summer.
This season is now becoming a lost cause as it’s also questionable if we will be able to attract any decent names in January considering our current plight, and so time will tell if there are serious questions and changes made next summer to stop this cycle from repeating itself as this performance and result arguably stressed the need for a revamp and vital changes to the make up of the XI.