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AC Milan Crushed By Magnificent Manchester United in the Champions League

Posted by David Schiavone Thursday, March 11, 2021

Beck's determinationAC Milan crumbled 4-0 to Manchester United in the second round of the Champions, the seven time European Cup winners were an embarrassment to so many great Milan sides of the past as United completely dominated and overwhelmed the Serie A side resulting in a number of serious questions for the Milan giants.

Many would have expected defeat after the 3-2 first-leg result at the San Siro, but surely you would think Milan would at least put up something of a fight. This was not to be the case. Even Vice-President Adriano Galliani admitted he knew they would lose the tie, “I knew it was going to go badly yesterday afternoon. We had taken Alexandre Pato, Alessandro Nesta and Luca Antonini in the squad, but all three of them pulled out with injuries on Tuesday,” he stated.

“Without such important players and taking on a Manchester United side of such quality, it was always going to be extremely difficult.”

If I was being optimistic I would say the game could have been very different had Ronaldinho put away his early header, though Klaas-Jan Huntelaar also spurned a number of chances to put the Diavolo ahead, at the same time making his case for a prolonged stay in Milan all the more difficult. All the talk was of David Beckham and his return to Old Trafford, but even the introduction of D-Beck could not inspire any sort of fight from his adopted team.

Leonardo’s comments after the match told of a man gracious in defeat but also in full realisation of Milan’s problems: he said, “In all honesty, straight after the home game I had a strong belief, as the way we played was very good, aside from the result,”

“Here the game started in a strange way and we were faced with a team on a great night with real talent who expressed themselves. The 4-0 has to be tied to the fact we needed three goals and so the belief drained out of us. “He continued.

“I chose my line-up for Roma, but we also had in mind to experiment something that could be useful this evening. We needed to score early, get back from a deficit and make a real impact without Pato.

“I don't think it was a tactical issue tonight, as many things happened over the last couple of days that affected our preparation.”

On the decision to bring on Clarence Seedorf, the Brazilian stated, “We were losing 1-0 and knew we had to score three. I introduced Seedorf, who is not fit to play 90 minutes yet, to push the team up. Bonera got an injury, so he had to be one of them and I opted to put Massimo Ambrosini in defence so we wouldn't lose any more substitutions.”

The flaws Milan have were cruelly and brutally exposed by Manchester United, Alessandro Nesta was sorely missed at the back both as the defensive leader and calming influence on Thiago Silva. The full backs were run ragged by Antonio Valencia and Nani, while Wayne Rooney was his imperious best, though gifted a header by Daniele Bonera that all but killed the tie.

The reluctance of Milan to counter-attack was woeful. A desire to slow the play down and pick killer passes was clearly not effective against a Manchester United team full of hunger and desire. Ji-Sung Park and Darren Fletcher were wonderful in the central midfield area, giving no time and space to Andrea Pirlo at all. One thing that stood out for me was the distance between defence and midfield lines which allowed the United attack an age in which to play the killer ball. All too often Milan failed to close Manchester United players down.

For all the Rossoneri out there, lets hope Silvio Berlusconi was watching as it is obvious that his beloved AC Milan need investment; it should have been carried out last summer but if any challenge for silverware is to ensue in the future then Silvio needs to get his Euro’s out.

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