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AC Milan’s 1-0 loss to FC Zurich at the San Siro on Wednesday was the shock so far of the UEFA Champions League, heaping pressure on new Rossoneri boss Leonardo.
Prior to Wednesday’s loss, Leonardo was already under plenty of pressure from the San Siro faithful who had seen their side win just 2 from 6 matches domestically this season.
In fact, Milan fans have been letting their team know their feelings, with plenty of jeers of frustration coming from the San Siro crowd, signaling widespread discontent with the current side.
And Milan’s latest poor result at the San Siro, means the Rossoneri have only managed the one goal at home this season, after several lackluster performances.
It all adds up to heap the pressure on Leonardo, who took over at Milan in the European summer after Carlo Ancelotti’s move to England to join Chelsea.
And it doesn’t get any easier for the Brazilian, who will see his side travel to the Bernabeu to take on an in-form Real Madrid in the next Champions League matchday.
Indeed, should Milan lose that game they will have 3 points from 3 matches and could be staring down the possibility of not qualifying beyond the group phase. Simply, that can’t occur at Milan and the club’s directors and owners won’t let it happen so it is clear Leonardo’s job is at stake.
Leonardo has taken over at Milan at a precarious time for the club, in the wake of the sale of Kaka to Real Madrid and the retirement of stalwart Paolo Maldini.
Also Milan’s squad is perceived as an ageing bunch who are perhaps past their prime. But the fact is there is still plenty of quality in the Milan ranks and they should be performing better.
Nevertheless, Milan vice-president Alberto Galliani came out to defend his coach and players saying on Thursday, “This group won't be touched and with these footballers and staff we'll go on until the end of the season."
Galliani added, “We are at the start of the (domestic) season and of the Champions League and it's still possible do anything. I'm convinced that with this group we can reach all our goals."
Despite Galliani’s vote of confidence the problems for Milan are glaring, with Ronaldinho producing ordinary performances while new signing Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has struggled to make an impact.
Even popular Brazilian Alexandre Pato is battling this season with some unconvincing performances.
Leonardo told the press after Wednesday’s loss, “Right now, our performances don't offer many positives. But football is strange, we went to Marseille and won 2-1. This team has the resources to try to get out of this situation."
Unfortunately for Leonardo, though, the fans aren’t as positive as him right now.
Indeed, many of the Milan supporters believe Leonardo was only appointed to the top job because he was cheap and they expect better, especially after performances like the 1-0 loss to Zurich.
The fans’ discontent is a sure sign that Leonardo is running out of time, despite his supposed vote of confidence. And considering the way Milan are currently playing, it’s hard to see Leonardo saving his job.