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Why a change in mentality is needed for the Nerazzurri and Rossoneri

Tuesday 3rd May 2016
Cast your mind back twenty years to the mid-90s, when the Premier League was still in its infancy and Serie A was on top of the footballing world.The likes of Marco Van Basten, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and Gabriel Batistuta graced football pitches on a weekly basis. How times have changed.

More specifically, how times have changed for the two Milan clubs AC and Inter. Juventus recently clinched their fifth straight title after stringing together some fine performances thanks to their mix of youth and experience combined with a steely determination.

The Milan clubs, on the other hand, have had to watch helplessly as they watched their bitter rivals re-assert their dominance over a division which was once their own. It's easy to forget that both clubs have won a European cup over the past decade and a league title each. However, since their relatively recent success's neither have progressed but rather regressed into mid-table obscurity.

AC Milan's slow decline was briefly forgotten with their title success in the 2010-11 season and then their second place finish the following season. Yet these are the only two occasions where AC have finished inside the top two places in the league in the past ten years. The high-profile sales of Ibrahimovic and Silva coupled with the exit of former greats such as Maldini, Seedorf and Nesta have left the Rossoneri in somewhat of an identity crisis. Desperately trying to gain ground on the runaway leaders has seen chairman, Silvio Berlusconi; invest heavily in players not worth the price tag.

The hope at the beginning of this season was that AC would achieve at least a third-place finish and return to the promised land of the Champions League. Sinisa Mihajlovic, the man charged with the task, consistently repeated the statement that he wanted AC to be united going forward. Unfortunately for the Serb, this unity never materialized off the pitch and continuous disagreements with the powers above have led to his eventual demise.

Ex-Milan player Cristian Brocchi is the latest brave soul to accept Berlusconi's offer to revitalize a club wandering the football wilderness and will be hoping the words of his predecessor ease his employer's willingness to pull the trigger when things get tough.

Inter's fall from grace has been much faster and much more abrupt. Since the departure of the special one (Jose Mourinho) in 2010 the Nerazzurri have failed to finish inside the top two and have witnessed a sharp decline in results. Roberto Mancini, a familiar face with Inter fans, is the seventh managerial appointment in six years and despite what looks like an almost certain fourth place finish, there is a tinge of disappointment in the air surrounding the club. In the early stages of the season, Inter kept up with the pace being set by early leaders Napoli and it looked like this may well be the year they make a return to the summit of Serie A.
However, injuries to Mauro Icardi and Stefan Joevtic's poor form have left the men in blue without a consistent goal-scoring partnership to propel them to the top of the table.Credit must go to Mancini for steadying the ship and improving Inter's defensive record, which has made for poor viewing over the past few years.

Yet, like their neighbours, they appear to be suffering from their own identity conundrum; with new signings coming in for increasing prices and producing inconsistent performances the I Nerazzurri have been left to question where are they going wrong?

For both clubs the impending summer transfer window could be the most crucial yet in recent history, both managers will surely be prepping their cheque books and staring worryingly at their already stretched bank accounts. No matter the circus, that will no doubt ensue, when the transfer window opens the hierarchies of AC and Inter must be wary of past mistakes going forward. Well-thought and well-constructed deals are crucial if both are serious of challenging Juventus's tight grip on the division.

The most important trait that the Milan transfer committees should be looking for is not how many shirts they can sell but the right mentality; the winning mentality. Something which has been absent in the majority of both squads in recent times.
Matthew Bostock
21 year old free-lance football journalist and editor of Radcliffe Borough Football Club's monthly magazine. Avid follower of Italian football and Manchester United fan.

Total articles: 8

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