MILAN (Reuters) - Zlatan Ibrahimovic has grabbed most of the plaudits for AC Milan’s Serie A resurgence but quiet coach Massimiliano Allegri again showed his tactical nous in Sunday’s 3-0 win at Bologna and deserves equal praise.
Goals from close-season signings Kevin Prince Boateng, Robinho and Ibrahimovic made sure leaders Milan are guaranteed to finish the year at least joint-top with next weekend’s home game with AS Roma their final match before the winter break.
“If everyone carries on doing well we’ll definitely be successful and we are aiming to win every trophy possible,” said former Inter Milan forward Ibrahimovic, in cracking form back in Serie A following a season in Barcelona.
“But there are a lot of games left so let’s talk about the scudetto a bit later,” he told Sky Sports after even Bologna fans applauded his performance.
Despite the giant Swede’s caution, Milan are big favourites for their first Italian title since 2004 and the decision to appoint little-known former Cagliari coach Allegri to replace Leonardo in the close season looks an inspired move.
The increasingly slow Ronaldinho was left on the bench again as Allegri continues to prefer Robinho’s pace and the ability of Boateng to break into the box from deep, qualities Milan have lacked in recent seasons.
Midfielder Andrea Pirlo, for years trapped pinging 30-metre balls from the halfway line under Leonardo and previous coach Carlo Ancelotti, has also been forced further forward by Allegri and set up Ibrahimovic’s goal.
“Massimo Ambrosini can cover the role in front of the defence. Andrea has done well and has confidence in this new role,” Allegri said.
“It gives us better quality when attacking.”
Milan owner and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi reduced club spending during the global economic crisis but his outlay this term and the decision to trust in the shrewd Allegri rather than going for a big name manager are paying off.
“Milan are the toughest side we have met so far,” Bologna coach Alberto Malesani said.
Berlusconi, who faces confidence votes in parliament on Tuesday that could sink his government, at least has Milan to smile about as Inter Milan’s five-year grip on the title looks increasingly likely to end.
Editing by Tony Jimenez. To query or comment on this story email email@example.com