Capello: “Milan, what a shame not to win with a player like Leao”


Former Milan coach, Fabio Capello, shared his thoughts on the recent match against Atalanta, acknowledging the impressive performance of the Rossoneri, especially with a player like Leao on the field. “What a shame not to win with a player like Leao,” Capello lamented in his column for La Gazzetta dello Sport, highlighting the standout performance of the Portuguese forward:

“I was very curious to see how Milan would face Atalanta, one of the fittest teams in the league, after their defeats against Monza and Rennes. And for this reason, I went to San Siro to see it with my own eyes. Well, it was a good Milan. They created a lot and conceded little, played better than the opponent, maintaining a very high level of attention throughout the 90 minutes, seeking verticality and depth without getting lost in ‘tricks’ as it sometimes happens. There’s no beating around the bush, the 1-1 is tight for the Rossoneri, and I’m sure there will be some regret for only bringing home one point. If I were Stefano Pioli, however, I would still be happy with the performance,” Capello commented.

“The Milan team won all the duels, in a match where both teams often played man-to-man. Doing it against Atalanta, which thrives on speed and physicality, is never taken for granted or trivial. And then there’s Leao. With all due respect to the others on the field, the Portuguese deserves a separate chapter. He scored an extraordinary goal, but it would be simplistic to stop at that feat. Leao makes a difference with every touch of the ball. He dribbles past opponents, provides assists, forces the opposing team to double up, thus freeing up space for his teammates. On a night when Rafa was so dominant, not winning is really a shame. Also because at noon, Juventus, with a decidedly less convincing performance, extended their lead in the fight for second place. Football is like this, we know it,” Capello added.

“Juventus are now four points ahead of Milan, after beating Frosinone, but suffering a lot. Allegri’s team continues to concede goals that it would never have conceded until a month ago. Take the Cheddira goal, for example: in the box, there are five Juventus defenders and only one visiting attacker, yet it’s the Moroccan who heads the ball and scores almost undisturbed. The victory snatched in the last seconds with a scrappy goal by Rugani can, however, be a turning point because it dispels the anxieties of recent times. It will now be easier for Allegri, during the week, to talk to the team and address what’s wrong. Because when you win, the dressing room welcomes the analysis more positively, and a coach has more chances to make an impact with his words. However, it’s increasingly difficult to find words for Inter. Even on an afternoon when Simone Inzaghi fielded a largely revamped team, with only Dimarco, Mkhitaryan, and Lautaro as immovable starters, they made light work of Lecce,” Capello analyzed.

“To be honest, for an attentive eye in the first 45 minutes, it was evident that the Nerazzurri eleven didn’t have the usual automatisms: defense and midfield weren’t perfectly coordinated. Lecce, on the other hand, tried to play openly, but in doing so exposed themselves to the fierce counterattack of the first goal, capitalized by Lautaro. It was in the air, for those who have experienced many. Then in the second half, after Frattesi’s second goal, there was no more match. Behind the three giants, Inter, Juve, and Milan, there is now Bologna, fourth on their own. Thiago Motta’s group has matured a lot over the course of the season and can go all the way, driven by a delightful center-forward like Zirkzee. Atalanta, just behind, can be happy with the point taken at San Siro against Milan, but frankly, I expected more from Gasperini’s team. They have a lot of quality up front, even on the bench, but yesterday, very little was seen, considering the last few weeks when the Nerazzurri crushed their opponents.

“The race for a place in the next Champions League is wide open, and for me, Napoli is not entirely out of it yet, despite the two points dropped in the afternoon against Cagliari. There is some improvement, starting with the return of Osimhen, not yet at his best, but regularly on target. Calzona took off the Nigerian towards the end of the game. Well, in hindsight, it could have been a mistake, even though Napoli had chances to close the game before paying for the defensive naivety on Luvumbo’s beautiful goal in injury time. I remain convinced that to hope for a comeback in the Champions League, the best Kvaratskhelia should be recovered… Looking at Europe, I expect a great show from today’s matches. Torino, with rightly great ambitions, will be a tough test for De Rossi’s new Roma, who has done well to immediately get the players to follow him. It’s never easy when you take over mid-season. Fiorentina-Lazio, on the other hand, is a tactically very interesting match. Whoever wins will make a big leap,” Capello concluded.


Serie A obsessive.