Former Milan coach Fabio Capello believes the Rossoneri can rediscover their form, with the help of their young players, Luka Jovic and Rafael Leao. Speaking with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Capello offered his assessment of where the club are at the half-way point of the season, and what they need to do to improve and compete for the title again:
Capello, what can push Milan to aim high again?
“The shirt you wear, one of the most glorious and famous in the world. This must be enough to relaunch yourself, the desire to honour it always and in any case. A coach who leads Milan must have this in mind and nothing else: to lead the team to success. True, it’s difficult. But I repeat, if you are Milan you have to try and never give up.”
Young people, the new Jovic, the market and Leao scoring again: which of these can help the most?
“I start with the young players because betting on them is an act of courage that I see more and more often. Doing it at Milan can be even more difficult. To see so many youngsters on the pitch in the Coppa Italia, and not just that, was beautiful. They showed they have spirit and quality.
Jovic has started scoring consistently: did you expect that?
“Milan have rediscovered the player they knew they had taken last summer. Lately he has been scoring and performing well. If he continues it would be important for several reasons: for him, for the team and for a healthy competition with Giroud”.
Will the market add new options to the squad: will it give further impetus?
“We have to see what the market will be. It would be important to take players who are ready, who do not have to get used to the championship. The abolition of the Growth Decree in this sense plays against us. However, we must also consider the players who will return from long injuries and will be available again.
And then Leao: the goal against Cagliari and the applause from the stadium are encouraging signs?
“I have always been his sponsor, Rafa is one of the few players worth watching matches for, he shows something different. The goal in the Coppa Italia helped him to regain self-confidence. It’s normal to expect so much from him, he got us used to beating his opponent: out of ten times he attempted the one-on-one, it happened that on seven, eight occasions he came out on top. I don’t think the full-backs have all become very strong and capable of stopping him, it is Leao who has to find himself again and the goal may have helped him.
Do you think he needs to be more present in the team game?
“You can ask more of him at the level of participation in the defensive phase, but it is more important that he rediscovers dribbling and scoring goals. I’m interested in him giving something more in what he can do, which until recently he was able to do naturally. And it’s not as if someone like Savicevic had all that much anger to go and get the ball back when he lost it…’.
Finding continuity will also be decisive.
“The two successes in a row between the championship and the Coppa Italia are positive, but already in the next match in Empoli we will need reconfirmation. Continuity is decisive to have more and more conviction’.
And to feed the dream of a comeback….
“Let’s be honest, the points from Inter and Juve are many. The championships, however, are decided in the spring and it’s not the usual phrase… Milan must be continuous and hope that the others are not.”
“Both Inter and Juve are equipped for the title. Inter might lose some of the grit and determination they have shown so far because of all the praise we give them, myself for one. In such a situation it happens to fall asleep a little. It’s more difficult for it to happen at Juve, Allegri is always on the ball: however, I thought the market could support him with some investment of substance, instead they fish from the domestic pool.
Milan’s season will be positive if…?
“Whatever trophy is added to the trophy cabinet will be of great value, especially if it is a European cup. In the championship it’s right to try to chase those in front, but also pay attention to the other candidates for the Champions League zone, there are many and fierce.