Academy product Patrick Cutrone was the standout performer in an AC Milan team chock-full of expensive summer signings as his goal and assist helped the ambitious Rossoneri thrash 10-man Crotone 3-0 in Serie A on Sunday night.
The match at Stadio Ezio Scida was an opportunity for Milan fans – especially those who missed last week’s 6-0 demolition of Shkendija in the Europa League play-offs – to get a first glimpse of the likes of Leonardo Bonucci, Hakan Calhanoglu and Andre Silva, who have all signed up for a bold new era at San Siro.
However Silva, the striker purchased at a premium from Porto in June, did not start, with 19-year-old Cutrone preferred.
Any disappointment among travelling supporters faded when, after Franck Kessie opened the scoring from the penalty spot, Cutrone headed his first league goal before deftly setting up Suso.
Crotone’s task was made all the more difficult by the fact they lost centre-back Federico Ceccherini in the incident that allowed Kessie to notch from the spot.
Post-match Milan boss Vincenzo Montella hailed the youngster and stated his intention to keep him in the first team squad.
‘We have decided to keep him with us. Last year he improved a lot playing with me, and this summer he has impressed me and now we are seeing the results,’ Montella told the club’s website.
‘He is performing well but he has to keep calm because the toughest part is about to start: the pressure of being an AC Milan player, the media attention, which I wish wasn’t as overwhelming. He needs to remain calm.’
Milan’s winning scoreline was the same one by which reigning champions Juventus beat Cagliari in Saturday’s curtain-raiser and Milan will hope their determination to win a first Scudetto since 2011 has been effectively conveyed.