If the game against Lazio was an attempt by the players to rally around their embattled manager and save him from the axe, it was extremely unconvincing. The Rossoneri looked disjointed with very little confidence going forward. The four players used in the advanced positions were often unable to link up with their teammates and the side showed very little cohesiveness. The two holding midfielders De Jong and Essien struggled under pressure and were not able to maintain possession. On the attacking end, despite his best efforts, Balotelli could not make an impact coming off the bench.
AC Milan were able to avoid fourth straight defeat and gained their first point in a month, but the draw was not enough to keep them from dropping to 12th place in Serie A. With the players seemingly unable to reach the levels expected of them by their manager and supporters, the key to saving Seedorf’s job may lie with the manager himself.
The Dutchman seems to be fixed on certain ideals – despite claiming the contrary on Domenica Sportiva – sticking with a 4-2-3-1 formation, which clearly hasn’t had the desired impact since his arrival in January. His refusal to use two strikers has left Balotelli and Pazzini hung out to dry on many occasions. Balotelli especially has not looked comfortable playing alone up top. Kaká and Honda, both players more accustomed to playing in the middle, are regularly played on the right and left wing where they remain ineffective for most of the game.
One can hardly blame Seedorf for players’ inabilities to adequately adapt to his desired formation. The squad lacks competent wingers, but has a plethora of central attacking midfielders. Then why use a formation that doesn’t suit the players at your disposal?
Seedorf is trying to play champagne soccer on a beer budget. The tactics and philosophy being applied are clearly not bringing the required results and one can hardly blame Seedorf for the situation he inherited, but what can be blamed on Seedorf is an inability to compromise and find the right balance for the players he has at his disposal. Instead of forcing the current formation on his players, Seedorf must show willingness to adapt a new philosophy that would better suit his players’ abilities.