Italians have a word that loosely translates to “grit” in English, but there is more to it than just grit. Grinta is more like when you not only dig deep and play against all odds, but you play with heart, you leave your soul on the pitch, your every last bit of sweat and blood. Grinta is what we saw on Wednesday, when a tough away match got tougher. And tougher. And then even tougher. Until it seemed absolutely impossible that we were not down by multiple goals. And just when you just knew it was absolutely insurmountable, they achieved the impossible. The horror on the faces of the Bologna defenders as Pasalic’s goal hit the back of the net said it all. It was absolutely unfreakingbelievable. And it was all because eight and a half players played all 90 minutes with grinta.
OptaPaolo pointed out that this was the first time a team had won a Serie A match with two players sent off in all of the time they had been recording data, for over 20 years. MilanTV dug up a match in which Milan won while on nine vs. eleven, when nine men and one goal also earned Milan three points. But that was over 50 years ago. That’s how incredible Wednesday’s win was. So much grinta.
|It's been a while since Milan have pulled off a match like that|
One could argue that in addition to some bad luck with injuries, our squad dug themselves into the eight and a half man giant hole against Bologna. And of course, that is absolutely true. Our lack of experience and quality is a massive liability. But the miracle was that after sabotaging ourselves with red cards, the guys dug deeper, found their grinta, and overcame even themselves. And those black shorts. That wasn’t natural.
Much has been said about us not having won games like this in recent years, and it is absolutely true. In fact, Milan TV also put up an infographic showing the points earned in the first half of each season for the last five years. Not since the year we won the Scudetto, when we still had players like Ibra and Thiago Silva and all of the Senatori, have Milan won more points in the first half of a season. And that is all mental, stemming from the team being able to access their grinta and wield it on the pitch like a secret weapon.
|Everything we said about Allegri running the team into the ground is true... but we're finally digging out|
It’s no secret to Milan fans that this young squad has much less talent and a fraction of the experience of our last Scudetto winning squad. Much less. But the belief and heart that they have been growing individually and as a squad has been intoxicating to watch. After four straight losses, it was hard to see it at all anymore, and the performances weren’t much to look at, either. But when the going got tough in Bologna, we saw what they were really made of.
I am the first to point out my singular good thing that I can find to say about Poli every time his name comes up: that he runs a lot. And I mocked Montella profusely when he used his last sub to put him on in a game where it seemed like our coach was just mocking football in general. But Poli was like a source of nuclear-level grinta on Wednesday. And even when he got injured, having no subs left, he dug deeper. And the rest of the team followed suit.
|A most unlikely hero, yet neverending source of grinta|
I don’t know why it took the Mt. Everest of games for the guys to find so much heart and play so very hard. If they played with half that much grinta every week, we would win every game. But it’s almost more impressive that when they had everything stacked against them, they pulled that out. And it’s good, too, because with the new injuries and suspensions as well as facing a tougher opponent, we are going to be starting off with everything stacked against us from kickoff on Monday. Only time will tell whether it was a one time anomaly or whether it was a breakthrough pointing to bigger and better things. But one thing is for sure: for one epic match, we witnessed one of the greatest displays of grinta Milan has ever seen. And that is a beautiful thing.
This post inspire by the music of The The’s “Soul Mining” album
Our next match is
Lazio vs. Milan
Monday, February 13 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)