If there's one thing an elite club needs, it's stability in the head coaching position. I've never understood sacking a coach midway through the season. Unless the squad is seriously underperforming or there is legitimate turmoil between the coach/player, doesn't switching tactics halfway through just disorganize the team and set them back to step 1?
A team like Chelsea has had four different coaches in the past four years on the search for the metaphorical Holy Grail known as the Champions League trophy. Owners that are salivating at the mouth for silverware utter the phrase "you're fired" more than Donald Trump in The Apprentice.
Milan had one of the longest tenured coaches in the Serie A. In 8 years, Carlo Ancelotti guided the team to a treble of Champions League trophies, and yet was questioned mercilessly for suspect tactical decisions. He was infamous for putting in the balding ageless wonder Emerson for a striker as soon as Milan would take a lead against Insert Provincial Side Here, which would subsequently lead to an equalizing goal, infuriating fans who asked for Ancelotti's head.
Carletto Sparks Up A Victory Cigarette
What's my point in all this? Unfortunately our undeniable passion leads to very short term memory. Ancelotti accomplished more in a few years than most coaches will in their entire careers, yet most of us were jubilant upon his dismissal, eager to see what Leonardo's youthful mind could conjure up.
Well, we won't be able to see Leonardo doing his signature pose where he covers his mouth with two fingers on the sidelines anymore. He has decided to go back to his native Brazil to spend more time with his family. I always liked Leonardo. From the moment he took charge, he made it clear he'd model the team after old Seleção sides: Leonardo wanted speedy offensive full backs with no discernible defensive skills whatsoever. Well, Antonini & Abate filled that roll perfectly. When half the defence is employed by players who suited up for Torino and Empoli, and another who is 68 years old, what success can you expect on the European stage?
Leonardo employed some questionable tactics, to say the least. You'd probably have better luck sticking a fire hydrant at center back alongside Thiago Silva than Massimo Oddo. At least the fire hydrant wouldn't play a part in assisting the other team. In this situation, give Albertazzi a run so he gains valuable experience. Also, shifting Ambrosini to central defence in the most important game of the season (second leg of MU-Milan) aided in the total collapse of the backline. Somewhere at coaching school, there must be a disclaimer that reads: Do not place a player in a position he has never played before in his career in a pivotal Champions League fixture.
However, Leonardo was also very, very unlucky. His major stars went down with injuries, and he has recently clashed heads with the owner, prompting Leo to deliver this tidbit about Berlusconi.
I cannot deny that our relationship is a difficult one. We are very different. Maybe we are incompatible
The question now is: who will step in to steer Milan in right direction. Many Milanista's feel that with Berlusconi in charge, they cannot seriously compete for any silverware. Now the debate rages on about Leonardo's successor. Will it be Milan's assistant coach Filippo Galli? Van Basten? Or perhaps the highly rated ex-Cagliari coach Massimiliano Allegri. The next few months will be interesting, if not disappointing ones, for faithful Milanistas.
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