Costacurta praises Milan
Milan legend Alessandro Costacurta says Vincenzo Montella brought “added value”, but worries about the defence.
The Diavolo are up in third place in Serie A, with fans daring to dream that a return to the Champions League could be possible.
“What is responsible for this success?” Costacurta considered, speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Montella, he’s brought added value. With his cult of possession, he’s raised the level of the team in terms of personality.
“Before I saw a frenzy, now there’s greater patience, there’s no longer a continuous demand to release the ball.
“The recipe works, because it’s not bringing wonders but simplicity. It seems to me the right way to go, since he doesn’t have a quality squad.
“When you give precise direction, you reap the rewards.
“Yes, in effect he’s been lucky but you make your own luck. I had lucky Coaches like [Alberto] Zaccheroni and [Arrigo] Sacchi, but they were people who took a chance and were rewarded.
“He’s been able to adapt and adjust to the raw materials he has, without falling into the temptation of distorting it.
“That shows flexibility and intelligence, and that’s his strength. Milan are a team now, a group which helps each other. Guys help their teammates out in the game.
“I’m talking, for example, about the final few minutes against Palermo. [Ignazio] Abate was very tired, but when Suso had the ball he tried to overlap anyway, to give his teammate an option.
“That’s an important sign. I think that’s the difference between Milan and Inter right now. There they don’t help each other, they’ve failed in that spirit.
“I really like the Italian project [at Milan], it’s very interesting. Then Milan have also freed themselves of some characters like [Philippe] Mexes and [Jeremy] Menez, who didn’t have the spirit I see in the current squad.
“It’s precisely that spirit which could take this team to the Champions League.”
So their spirit could make up for any technical deficiencies the Rossoneri might have?
“To be clear, this isn’t a Champions League squad, there are others who are more set-up for that.
“I’m thinking of Juventus, Roma and Napoli, who I consider to be better technically, physically and in terms of character.
“If you look at it on paper, it’s utopian to think of Milan in the Champions League. However, I look back at my own experience, with Zaccheroni in 1998-99 when we were worthy of fourth or fifth place yet we won the Scudetto.
“We succeeded because we built a team, we understood each other as a group.
“Juventus, Roma and Napoli have stronger backups, but the lack of European commitments could play into Milan’s hands.
“I’d say that they could do with a couple of signings though, and they both have to be experienced. They need a central defender and a regista, because there are no alternatives to [Manuel] Locatelli.
“From what I hear, Milan will change ownership in January and if they’re still in this kind of position they should try to strengthen the team.
“The real problem I see is in defence. Montella has several issues to solve at the back, because that’s the least cohesive part of the team.”