Malaga to put Milan turnaround to the test
AC Milan could find out if they have truly turned a corner in what has been a turbulent season when Champions League group C leaders Malaga visit the San Siro tonight.
Milan were lucky to escape with only a 1-0 defeat when an attacking Malaga side sent out by Chilean coach Manuel Pellegrini dominated the Italians at La Rosaleda a fortnight ago.
This season Massimiliano Allegri's side have floated between mediocrity - prompting club owner Silvio Berlusconi to hit out at tactical choices - and a level which suggests they may be about to confound their critics.
After a chaotic 2-2 draw away to Palermo last Tuesday, Milan's best and most promising result this season was a 5-1 victory over struggling Chievo on Saturday. For Allegri, it gave glimpses of the Rossoneri's potential.
"We still have improvements to make in some areas but we're going in the right direction and hopefully we will make something of this season, which didn't start well for us," said Allegri.
If players like Bojan Krkic, Stephan El Shaarawy and Urby Emanuelson put the finishing touches on the work of Milan's midfield as they did on Saturday, Milan's Champions League campaign may be about to get back on track.
Former Barcelona forward Bojan, playing in the "hole" as part of a 4-2-3-1 formation, had his best Milan outing to date, scoring his maiden goal for the club in a busy performance that also saw him inspire Milan's fifth scored by striker Giampaolo Pazzini. Dutch right winger Emanuelson added to Riccardo Montolivo's early strike and El Shaarawy scored his eighth goal in 11 games to reinforce his lead as Serie A's top scorer.
In group C, however, Milan have only four points from three games having scored three and conceded as much.
Emanuelson says only one result will matter for the Rossoneri.
"We'll need to beat Malaga because we need the points in the Champions League," he said. "Malaga are a good team and might come to Milan playing a bit more defensively."