Milan is keeping the faith with Massimiliano Allegri as he sets an example for Serie A clubs. By Matteo Bonetti.
By Matteo Bonetti
We've seen the recent trend of trigger-happy owners firing coaches after a few poor results in Serie A . Imagine if Milan had fired Massimiliano Allegri when the team was near the relegation zone and gone with a new coach who had the same results Milan has had in the second part of the season. He'd be seen as a genius.
Instead, director Adriano Galliani trusted his instincts and realized it wasn't so much a coaching problem as it was growing pains from a young, inexperienced team still trying to build chemistry.
And, now, with a win against Genoa, AC Milan can go within two points of second place Napoli in the Serie A standings.
In what has been a spectacular comeback, the Rossoneri look to build on momentum which has seen them go undefeated in the past five fixtures in all competitions. They're now hoping to eliminate Barcelona in the Champions League , if they can protect a 2-0 aggregate lead in a sold out Camp Nou , which could be intimidating for a relatively inexperienced Milan squad.
Spearheading the revolution, summer signing Riccardo Montolivo has evolved into a complete box-to-box midfielder, capable of filling any position in the middle of the park. Despite being used out of position as an Andrea Pirlo -esque deep-lying playmaker, the former Fiorentina captain has captivated the hearts of Milan fans with impressive displays in the most important matches. He held his own against Barcelona's star-studded midfield, and also outshone Andrea Pirlo in the first Serie A match of the season between Milan and Juventus .
Meanwhile, Stephan El Shaarawy has been the revelation of the season. His first year at Milan involved plenty of growing pains, as the then-teenager had problems playing alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic , who El Shaarawy now admits was taking his space in the attack.
Il Faraone has been nothing short of sensational, scoring 19 goals in all competitions this season. One has to figure his recent goal drought is a product of simply being tired. He started nearly every match in the opening months, and did something unfathomable at Milan -- becoming a recently turned 20-year-old who has carried a struggling side. His quiet leadership and maturity during interviews is apparent, and the player himself has said he has developed a fantastic relationship with Mario Balotelli.
From a team that was in 17th place a few months ago and seemed hopeless, Milan's turnaround has been remarkable. It was only a few weeks ago that it started a trident which barely totaled 60 years of age in the attack. And the 18-year-old French striker M'Baye Niang has given rabid fans yet another potential prodigy to cheer about.
Going from scapegoat to savior, Allegri deserves credit alongside owner Silvio Berlusconi and Galliani. They went with a much - improved Milan youth sector when they knew they couldn't compete financially with some of the other European giants. Milan sticking with coach Allegri should be seen as a blueprint for all other Italian teams.