Milan, a totem to forget the derby. Newcastle arrives, Ibra is there to lend a hand

Milan, a totem to forget the derby. Newcastle arrives, Ibra is there to lend a hand
Milan, a totem to forget the derby. Newcastle arrives, Ibra is there to lend a hand

Get up again. Restart. But above all forget. Seventy-two hours after the “manita” suffered in the derby, there is the sweet symphony of the notes of the Champions League to awaken Milan still stunned after the nightmare Saturday. The calendar that doesn’t allow any breaks immediately offers the possibility of redemption against Newcastle, who have returned to Europe after twenty years and are led by the former Tonali player (with 4,235 supporters as a festive backdrop). We must take advantage of the latest defeat and react. Perhaps this is also why Zlatan Ibrahimovic showed up at finishing yesterday morning. Not with shoes, he would be missed (yet for the most nostalgic fans someone like him would still be useful). But for a sort of “revival” (already planned for some time) of an old friend.

That the Swedish totem visits Milanello is very normal, true, also in view of future managerial positions. The fact that he then decides to do so two days after the badly lost derby has a very different weight, obviously. We (also) need someone like him to shake up the team after such a thunderous fall. And the return of the leader, albeit in an informal capacity, is certainly useful. Also for Stefano Pioli, who ended up in the meat grinder of criticism more than anyone. “We know how much Zlatan cares about us and how important he was for our journey. I’m lucky to have coached him, his presence is positive and he made everyone happy.”

Yesterday the coach then wanted to clarify the need to apologize to the fans at the end of the match: “I feel the weight of the failures in the derbies, in this sense I have a clearly insufficient report card and you have no idea how much this situation weighs on me. If I could go from every single fan to tell them, I would. I am indebted to the fans, last year when we played really badly they always supported us. And I am also indebted because I am the coach who has lost the most derbies in a year.”

A “mea culpa” that does him credit. The coach wants to restore the relationship with the supporters (there will be 65,000 of them at San Siro tonight) but the wound certainly burns and still burns a lot, because if three clues prove it, five (like the consecutive defeats against Inter in 2023) they become a sentence. And the Rossoneri themselves are unable to get to the bottom of the derby syndrome. The transfer market, which between Bologna, Toro and Roma had given him so much in the first three days of the championship, became as if closed in on itself, a frame and not a picture of the San Siro. “It wasn’t easy, there’s no point in beating around the bush – explains Pioli -. We had a lot of expectations and confidence, it was a huge disappointment. But luckily we have the Champions League, to be able to ‘switch’.”

We will need less energy and more efficiency tonight. In all likelihood, the “new” Milan, with variable structure, will be temporarily put away in the drawer, the one with Pulisic, Reijnders and Loftus-Cheek to revolve around Giroud. First seasonal rotations in sight, with a change per department: the return of Tomori in defense (in place of Kjaer), the insertion of Pobega in midfield (for Reijnders), the Pulisic-Chukwueze relay on the right wing. The coach expects a strong contribution from everyone, even from those who remained on the bench longer than others. “From an emotional point of view, we ‘old people’ struggled more than the new ones. The new ones were more serene, and serenity helps you go on the pitch giving everything you have.”

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