People have been looking so myopically at each and every match that I’m not sure they’ve taken time to look at the slow and sometimes steady progress that Milan have made this season. Especially psychologically. These are mostly the same players that played the first half of the season, but now they work together and play with confidence. Well at least they definitely did today. But the confidence really has been building, and tonight it was amazing to see it all come together to convincingly beat a top five team at home. And keep a clean sheet, too. They definitely gave us something to smile about.
|Love to see this, even better when it comes on the end of a win|
I don’t even remember how to write a proper review of a proper football match, it’s been that long since I’ve needed to write one. So today you will mainly get my ridiculous levels of happiness, hopefully that will be enough for you. Certainly there were lots of smiles and celebrations on the pitch and in the stands. And speaking of the stands, only about 28,000 of the Milan faithful were on hand to witness this miracle of mid-January, and they were certainly rewarded for their faithfulness.
They didn’t have to wait long, either, because in just the fourth minute, Bacca scored a great goal, taking a nice pass from Bonaventura and using his speed to get past and then around his defender. 1-0 Milan. It was hard to contain the excitement at such a beautiful early goal from this team. It was so easy to sit on my red and black couch in fear, not knowing when the big mistake(s) would come, like I have every match for the last three plus years. But this team played like a team, they worked together. They weren’t selfish, they didn’t concede the big goals, they made very few mistakes at all. I barely recognized them.
|Yes, Chewie, we love you too|
We played a great first half, so then my next fear was would they choke in the second half? Even for long enough to concede a goal, like they had on Wednesday? And just when I thought that Fiorentina were really starting to take advantage of their 69% possession, on came the subs. First off? Montolivo. I’m not even gonna hate here, he played a decent game, but he was getting sloppy, so Mihajlovic brought on the Kuco in the 69th minute. The momentum tilted back our way, then Boateng came on for Niang. I was honestly very skeptical of this move, but it was obviously the right one. Then Balotelli replaced Bacca in the 87th, and that was all the catalyst we needed. Because Kuco sent a pass to Boateng who hammered it home in the 88th to secure the win. 2-0 Milan. And we got a bonus cartwheel-aerial celebration, too. Well, and Mihajlovic looked to have kicked something again. Hopefully the league will look the other way since it was in celebration rather than frustration.
|Comes on, scores, celebrates. All in a day's work|
I struggle to put into words what this game meant or how proud I am of this team for reaching this point. It may not last, as we’ve seen many setbacks over these three and a half years, but for today, my heart is happy. Even if Fiorentina were not the ruthless Scudetto challengers we’ve seen in them for much of this season, we took only three shots, but made two of them. With only 31% possession. That is confidence. Not to mention that clinical finishing Mihajlovic has been talking about lately. People keep bemoaning that we don’t have the right players, but what if we had the right players, just with the wrong mentality all along? Because I struggle to find any one person I can single out who had a poor performance. Everyone stepped up, and when they all did collectively, it was enough to pin back Fiorentina and keep the clean sheet, too. Again, I don’t know how soon we’ll see them play this well again, so I advise you to be cautious in your expectations. But at least for today, they gave us something to smile about.
This post inspired by the music of Pharrell’s “Happy”
Our next match is
Empoli vs. Milan
Saturday, January 23 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)
Stay tuned for an all new Milan Obsession Podcast!