Former boss Arrigo Sacchi believes that AC Milan’s Champions League dream is still alive because Juventus could split up against Bologna.
After wasting their ‘match point’ against Leonardo Semplici’s Cagliari side last night at San Siro, another one is in hand against Gian Piero Gasperini’s men, who will play in the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday night.
Milan knew that a win against an already-safe Cagliari side would have been enough to secure a first Champions League berth in over seven years, but they froze under the lights of San Siro and ended up drawing 0-0, meaning a final game shootout remains on Sunday.
Sacchi spoke during an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport and gave his assessments on the season finale and where his beloved Rossoneri will end up.
Who do you see favorites for the remaining two places?
“Let’s go in order. There are ninety minutes to play and the challenges are: Napoli-Verona, Atalanta-Milan and Bologna-Juventus. Let’s start from Napoli. I only say one thing: pay attention to Verona, which is a tough opponent, very difficult to face.
“Cagliari’s draw at San Siro against Milan teaches that there are no games won before taking the field. Once it could happen, I have nothing to expect, you need some points, so we will remain friends and maybe next year… Now, fortunately, it no longer works like this: this all-Italian habit seems to have disappeared. So Napoli, who are doing well and have shown it, will have to give their soul to beat Verona, and it won’t be a walk in the park.”
We come to the duel between Juve and Milan. Who will obtain glory?
“Juve goes to Bologna. Mihajlovic’s guys have had a great season, sometimes they are a bit playful and not very careful, but they have several arrows to spend. Also in this case, in my opinion, the result is not obvious. Also because Juve did not suddenly recover.”
We come to Milan who wasted a sensational opportunity against Cagliari…
“Yes, but when you have to deal with a group of young people you are bound to encounter certain problems. You are told by someone who has always worked with young people and therefore I know what are the advantages and what are the limits. Believe me: the incident against Cagliari is normal when dealing with young players. They did extraordinary things when, in the previous period, they had continuity of performance and results. A bad game can happen, but it shouldn’t throw everyone into despair.”
The Rossoneri go to Bergamo and Atalanta are a tough customer…
“Very tough, but even the people of Bergamo have their flaws. They are great, they have internalised the game, but they still can’t manage wisely the periods of the game when the pace drops. They often concede goals, in these moments. Gasperini will certainly work on this aspect, but I believe that Milan can do it, the door is still open. And then there is another thing to underline about the Rossoneri…”
What is that?
“For the money spent, Milan are the fifth club in Serie A. They spent less than Juve, Inter, Napoli, Roma. Therefore, according to the economic logic, they should be fifth. Instead they are there to compete for a place in the Champions League. It must also be said that those who keep their financial statements in order are virtuous, or not?
“Not qualifying for the Champions League, therefore, would not be a tragedy. If anything a regret, yes, but Pioli is right when he argues that it should not be experienced as a failure. And then, I repeat, I think the Rossoneri can do it. Together with Atalanta, Sassuolo and Spezia they are the team that has played the most proactive and courageous football throughout the season. If the merits acquired counted for something.”