I am absolutely gobsmacked at AC Milan’s performance in the International Champions Cup so far. While I know that preseason is all about building players fitness and confidence ahead of the upcoming season, Milan’s performances in the ICC this season has to be sapping away all the player confidences, not to mention the damage that it is doing to the Rossoneri brand.
After getting thumped 3-0 by Olympiacos in their opening game of their US tour, Milan were ripped apart by Manchester City on Sunday on the way to a 5-1 defeat.
According to Tuttosport, president Silvio Berlusconi was furious with the result against the Premier League champions, and that’s understandable given that a year ago Milan were beaten 5-3 by City in another preseason game.
The late start to the domestic season in Italy, compared to the other top European teams, inherently makes these types of competitions difficult for Italian sides, as their players are behind players from other countries at the moment in terms of fitness.
But it was not a lack of fitness that caused Inzaghi’s side to concede two goals in the opening 15 minutes to City. That was poor defensive play, and the eight goals conceded in the two games indicates that this will be another season for the Rossoneri fans.
After the City defeat Inzaghi seemed to be making excuses for the defeat saying:
“I am sorry because we conceded two of those goals after we had created chances. Only work will allow us to return as soon as possible to being competitive. It’s up to me to review the game and ask for anything more from everyone.
“In our current condition we cannot get near to the English teams, but certainly we have to give something extra.
“The blame is mine and I take it. The club knows exactly what we have determined, I will work with this team and when we are better and we have recovered everyone we definitely will not be like these two games.
“It is clear that we could have had little more attention and nastiness and it’s up to me to ask for more from the next game.
“I think that when we are complete that we can be competitive in the League. I expect more in the phases when we are not in possession.
“I’m angry with myself because if the team was like then it is through my own fault and that of my staff.
“We start again, we have to work. We have to come back to soon to concede fewer goals. We will have to improve on this.”
It was not a lack of fitness that caused Inzaghi’s side to concede two goals in the opening 15 minutes to City, it was poor defensive play, and the eight goals conceded in the two games indicates that this will be another season for the Rossoneri fans.
But it is not only on the pitch where Milan is struggling in America. Two very disappointing USA tours is hurting their brand amongst American soccer fans. With the implementation of Uefa’s Financial Fair Play, tours like this and the resulting increased sponsorship are crucial to the long-term success of a club, who no longer can rely on the deep pockets of their patron to bail them out.
Milan has one game left on their American tour, against Liverpool in North Carolina on August 2. That gives Inzaghi five days to sort out his leaky defense and stop this tour from being a disaster.