Straight from the dark heart of Italy
RESULTS Sat 22 Sep Juventus 2-0 Chievo, Parma 1-1 Fiorentina Sun 23 Sep Atalanta 1-0 Palermo, Bologna 1-1 Pescara, Catania 0-0 Napoli, Inter 0-2 Siena, Lazio 0-1 Genoa, Sampdoria 1-1 Torino, Udinese 2-1 AC Milan
AC Milan have had better weeks than the one just gone. The team lost their opening two home games for the first time in 80 years when they went down to a 1-0 defeat to Atalanta, having fallen by the same score to Sampdoria on the opening day.
Then on Tuesday, a mere 28,000 turned up at the majestic San Siro to see their side play out a insipid goalless draw with Anderlecht in the Champions League, leaving Milan without a goal in front of their own fans so far this season.
As if that wasn't hard enough to take, there then came an absolute PR disaster in the shape of a reported training ground bust up between Massimiliano Allegri and Filippo Inzaghi.
It is an open secret that the pair have never seen eye-to-eye, with Allegri unceremoniously dropping the veteran from the team last season to usher out a glorious career in such rancorous fashion that the pair had stopped talking to each other.
Yet, if reports from witnesses at Milan's Vismara youth academy training centre are to be believed, the feuding duo had plenty to say to one another - and some of it not suitable for sensitive ears.
Having finally retired in the summer, Inzaghi was handed the job of coaching the Allievi Nazionali Under-17 side, a move clearly seen as a stepping stone towards one day landing the big job at the club.
In fact, in his first press conference as a new “Mister” he was asked if he had talked to Allegri about any tips on making the switch, his reply spoke volumes: “No, I spoke to someone I respect: Carlo Ancelotti.”
Allegri had informed the academy director and former Rossoneri defender Filippo Galli that he would paying his monthly visit to Vismara on Wednesday afternoon, but when Inzaghi heard his nemesis would be in attendance he curtly informed Galli that the first-team coach would under no circumstances be allowed to interrupt his session.
It's safe to say things haven't exactly got Allegri's way of late
Allegri was not made aware of the hostile reception awaiting him and when he cheerily breezed in Inzaghi called out for his former boss not to walk across the training pitch if he wanted to talk to the players at the end of the session, but instead go around the touchline.
The feisty Tuscan was in no mood to have his authority undermined and questioned whether Inzaghi wanted his job too, to which SuperPippo is said to have replied: “Of course, and I could do a better job than you.”
By this time the session was coming to an end and the parents who were hoping to maybe get a word with either coach were treated to what is termed 'a frank and open exchange', with Pippo calling Allegri an amateur and basically telling his senior to clear off.
A visibly embarrassed Galli was forced to step in to intervene and then had no choice but to inform Adriano Galliani of what had happened in front of the young players and their families.
Such was the apparent childish nature of the argument, the raging chief executive called them to his office for a headmaster-like dressing down as the club went into damage-limitation overdrive.
A hastily-arranged appearance by the chastened parties on Milan Channel on Friday witnessed a denial that was so contrived it would have embarrassed even Mitt Romney or Nick Clegg.
A forced handshake and rictus smiles only re-enforced the hollow nature of what was a basically a piece of theatre that only served to highlight the fact Allegri’s stock is falling day by day.
While Inzaghi went back to plotting his rise to the top job, Allegri was left to pick up his demoralised team for a trip to Udinese, who were themselves feeling down in the dumps after failing to make it through the Champions League qualifying stage.
There was little to suggest either side were anywhere near finding a way out of their early-season malaise, until Mathias Ranegie headed the Bianconeri ahead just before half-time, with Christian Abbiati and Philippe Mexes failing to tidy up on the edge of the six-yard area.
Milan were equally sloppy after the break, despite Stephan El Shaarawy’s long-range effort drawing them level: Cristian Zapata – back to face his old club – fouled the troublesome Ranegie inside the area, received a second yellow and Antonio Di Natale stepped up to score from the spot.
Down to ten men, Milan were down and out as they quickly became nine, with Kevin Prince Boateng, who looks a shadow of the player he was last year, also landing himself two yellow cards – and this after only coming on at half-time.
As the players trudged off, a pocket of Milan fans were chanting one man’s name, and those calls for Superpippo’s elevation will no doubt get stronger if Allegri fails to halt the slide at home to Cagliari on Wednesday.
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