Not even 24 hours after AC Milan was handed their latest embarrassing defeat in Serie A play, this time losing 4-3 to US Sassuolo with teenage sensation Domenico Berardi scoring all four goals for Sassuolo, Milan decided it was time to part ways with Massimiliano Allegri. While Milan stands in 11th with 22 points and are in the Round of 16 in Champions League play, the team finds itself six points from being the relegation zone and with no hope of qualifying for European play in the 2014-15 season, unless they win the Coppa Italia.
With Milan in the midst of its worst period as a club since the 1980’s when they were relegated to Serie B, change at the coaching position was undoubtedly needed, despite attempts by some to use numbers that Allegri’s firing was premature. A little over 24 hours after Allegri has been dismissed, Italian sports daily Gazzetta Dello Sport is reporting that former Milan player Clarence Seedorf will take over as coach of the first team and will be assisted by former teammates Jaap Stam and Hernan Crespo.
Seedorf will be coming into the job with no coaching experience, as he was just recently (as of several hours ago) a player for Brazilian team Botafogo. While it can be debated if it makes sense to appoint someone like Seedorf, who has yet to coach a game at any level, over someone like Filippo Inzaghi, who is already coaching Milan’s Primavera team, or potentially having an interim and hiring another former Milan player in Roberto Donadoni come the summertime can be debated, but now that Seedorf has been tabbed as the man to coach the team, we must analyze what he can and will bring to the job.
In looking at Seedorf’s appointment, we need to take a short term and long term outlook in order to properly assess what his appointment means and what it can produce. In the short term, Seedorf will be coming into a situation where he will have and command the respect of the players already there. Many of the players on the team either played with Seedorf, or at the very least are aware of who he is given that he has been such a great player for Milan and in Europe during his career. That alone means that he will help the team in creating a more positive environment surrounding the team, which clearly had taken hold in Allegri’s final days as coach of Milan.
Along with lifting the air of negativity surrounding the team, Seedorf will at the very least have better tactical and formational ideas when compared to what Allegri was known for having. As a player, Seedorf was known as one of the most intelligent and tactically astute players during his time in Europe and one must expect that he will find a way to be able to translate this over to his new role.
Looking at Seedorf’s appointment in the long term, aside from his ability as a coach, his chances of succeeding will only be possible if Milan helps him in acquiring quality players. With all due respect, the likes of Valter Birsa and Kevin Constant, to name a few, should have no place in a team like Milan at any point. Therefore, if the performance and ability to do their job well from those above Seedorf does not improve, then it will be hard to expect Seedorf, or any manager, to be able to get Milan back to the heights which they feel they must aim for given their rich history as a club.