By Kris Voakes | Italian Football Writer
Whether AC Milan sack Massimiliano Allegri on Thursday, or they wait a few more days, it is now inevitable that the moment is not far away. Tonight’s Champions League Group C defeat to Malaga at La Rosaleda was the Rossoneri’s third in succession, and leaves the seven-time European champions nervously looking over their shoulder in what is a very weak pool.
Add to that their abysmal form in Serie A, where they have gained more points than only Palermo and sit in 15th place after eight matches, and it is clear to see why there have been rumours about Allegri’s future for some time. Earlier in the week, talk emerged that the club was negotiating a pay-off with the former Cagliari boss, and few envisage him being in the dugout a week from now.
When CEO Adriano Galliani was interviewed on the pitch at La Rosaleda before the match, he refused to confirm that Allegri’s future was safe. “I'm not talking about the coach, let's talk about the game. Allegri is Milan coach, now it's right that we talk about the game," said Galliani.
|MATCH FACTS | Malaga 1-0 Milan
It was the perfect opportunity to back the boss - as he admittedly had to a rival broadcaster several hours earlier - moments before a big Champions League game, and immediately after Zenit St Petersburg’s win over Anderlecht ensured that the Rossoneri would end the night in second place no matter what. But Galliani refused to take it, and that can only mean one thing. Allegri also refused to confirm after the game that club owner Silvio Berlusconi had given him assurances over his future.
Milan were not actually that bad against Malaga, and were probably worth a point on the balance of play. However, things have reached such a low ebb at Milanello that that cannot be seen as a deal-breaker, and a 1-0 defeat is just not good enough in the current climate.
Allegri has been a dead man walking for weeks. He arguably should have gone sooner, with the defeat at Udinese presenting a perfect time for the board to look elsewhere. They held on though, and since then the Rossoneri have added only one league win – and that with Allegri suspended and Mauro Tassotti calling the shots from the bench, while also picking up three Champions League points after a backs-to-the-wall performance against a Zenit side subjected to something of a civil war.
In their last three games, they have lost a Milan derby, fallen to a lethargic loss to Lazio, and now blotted their Champions League copybook against relative novices in Europe. At a time when players should be busting a gut for their underfire coach, there has been no sign of such endeavour from the Rossoneri players. Allegri just hasn’t been able to get the minimum requirement out of them.
Who comes in is open to question, with Tassotti and Filippo Inzaghi among the candidates. But, whoever the new boss is, and whether he arrives in 24 hours or in four days or a fortnight, the bottom line remains the same. Allegri is staring at the end of the line.