Skip to main content

Unbelievable


There’s something that I’m still struggling to wrap my head around: Milan are top of the table. Granted, we’ve only played two games. And there is much of our game that leaves much to be desired. But for a team that has had three different coaches since the beginning of this calendar year, even just having back to back wins is amazing. And when you look at the fact that we won against Lazio and away to Parma, it makes it even more incredible. It almost feels as if I’m dreaming, it’s unbelievable.

Pinch me I think I'm dreaming


So what is responsible for this amazing change in fortunes, even if it’s just two games? Especially when Milan played so very poorly in the preseason? It’s mentality. Inzaghi said from the beginning when he was promoted that this squad wasn’t good enough to earn a Champions League berth this season. That reinforcements would come. And most importantly, if they didn’t, this team would win by sheer grit and determination. That grit and determination is what gives power to the underdogs, takes losers and transforms them into winners. I mean the man got Abate to put in good crosses. And even get back to back assists for the first time in his career. Is that not all about mentality?

When you look at this squad, and especially the games, it really is unbelievable that a team that is so scrappy and makes so many errors managed to pull off these wins. Even more incredulous, we won on Sunday with Bonera on the pitch as a CB. Well, at least until he got sent off. But what gave us the edge was our grinta – our grit and determination to win. When was the last time we saw our boys so hungry to win? That despite epic errors, they overcame the odds and pulled it off anyway? When they talk about how important mentality is in sports, they saw this team. And the Milan team of the past two years, too. Not to take anything away from Inzaghi’s tactics (although he did choose Bonera,) but his ability to inspire and change the mentality of this team is nothing short of miraculous. Even if it doesn’t last.

You can see where they're getting their inspiration

Something I am more hopeful will last is Inzaghi’s first principle he taught the boys: knowing what it means to wear the Milan shirt. Even if this year’s kits are pretty awful, that crest means something… well I guess all three crests mean something. You see? Even with the confusing three different crests, he’s got them believing in Milan. (or maybe they have learned what it means to wear the Milan shorts?) Inzaghi mentioned Sunday after the match that when someone scored, every player on the bench jumped up to celebrate, and this made him happy. Well it makes us happy, too, and it’s obvious that there is unity and a desire to win amongst every player on this team.

This goes hand in hand with his vision to restore the Milan DNA. If you look at all of his transfer requests, they are good people first. Hard working, dedicated players, even if they wouldn’t necessarily be considered the greatest players. Players who keep their head down, have good character, and are good examples to others off of the pitch. Between choosing this caliber of people and mixing in some talent, too, Inzaghi is indeed restoring the Milan DNA. Now instead of reforming people from thugs to better-behaved people, we are restoring playing careers. That seems to be the biggest mutation of the Milan DNA.

Transforming this team from average to superhero

By changing the mentality, teaching them what it means to wear the Milan shirt, and restoring the Milan DNA, he has already achieved the seemingly impossible. And it shows in a player like Honda, who came here because he is a lifelong Milanista. In addition to getting a little bit of rest after the World Cup this summer, his game has been completely transformed with this new mentality. And so have his teammates’ games as well, making it possible for him to link up with them and play a better game overall.

We talk about tactics, about lineups and formations and playing style, but the most important aspect of the beautiful game is often overlooked. Mentality is an intangible, unexplainable force that we can see is there or see is missing, but few have the ability to mold it and change it. Those that can and do often make the best coaches. And if Inzaghi is able to continue doing this for a whole season and into the future, he may just become one of those coaches. This season has not even really started, but for now let’s just bask in the tiny miracle we’ve been given. We are top of the table. After two remarkable and error-filled matches. It’s too early to celebrate any real kind of accomplishment, but let’s just smile for now and try to let this sink in. We won back to back matches and came out on top so far. That’s unbelievable.


This post inspired by the music of EMF’s “Unbelievable”


Our next match is
Milan vs. Juventus
Saturday, September 20 • 20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT)