Best wishes also to Ancelotti to understand quickly that the referees are the last of the problems. First come the goals, a game that denies them, a midfield that favors the lack and a defense that suffers the slowness of the maneuver. Speaking of conspiracies can give you a day's respite from the breath of unsatisfied people. But it only brings confusion.
Words by Ilaria D’Amico in the Gazzetta dello Sport. Written thirteen years ago. Yes, the article is from 6 November 2006. Carlo Ancelotti's black autumn at Milan. The day before, on the 5th, Milan were beaten 2-0 in Bergamo by Colantuono's Atalanta. And in the post-game Ancelotti unleashes himself on Sky Sport's microphones.
If on Saturday I was convinced that arbitration errors were the result of simple casualties, after this defeat I no longer believe it. In Bergamo, what has happened too many times this season has been repeated. A situation that is beginning to bother me. We have been damaged, I am very angry, we are not recognized in the field what we do. The measure is full, the level of our patience has been exceeded: we ask for greater attention and clarity.
The 2006-2007 season is the post-Calciopoli season. AC Milan starts that championship starting from less than eight, Fiorentina less than fifteen, Lazio less than three. That match, Atalanta-Milan, is directed by Tiziano Pieri one of the three referees appointed by Ancelotti in the deposition to the Carabinieri of Rome and to the deputy head of the FIGC investigative office Gianluca Leonelli. Fabio Monti writes in the Corriere della Sera on 7 November:
The real mistake is at the origin of the story. As there was no longer a draw, Tiziano Pieri was not to be appointed to direct Atalanta-Milan. An arbiter is not sent to direct the game of a coach who, fully aware, after explaining that Meani was not a mere restaurateur of passage to Milan without any responsibility in relations with whistles and assistants, had the courage to support: «Non I can say nothing about the existence of arbitration groups, but I certainly had the distinct feeling that some referees were less reliable. Among these, De Santis, Palanca and Pieri.
Two victories in thirteen games, the shadow of Lippi
In thirteen games, from the fourth to the sixteenth day, his Milan won just thirteen points. The average of one per game. Loses with Palermo and Atalanta. Draw with Siena, Livorno, Empoli. In thirteen games, Milan that at the end of the season will raise the Champions League, exceeds only Chievo and Messina: always 1-0.
At that time, tenth day, the Rossoneri are fifth in the standings, at 7 points, in the full relegation zone. Three days after Ilaria D’Amico's article in the Gazzetta, Repubblica shoots: “Affare Lippi. The coach of the World Cup is on pole for Milan ”. Here is what Marco Mensurati writes:
I received offers from three Italian teams – he confided – and I would like to understand what the situation is like ». The three teams that have come forward are Milan, Roma and Juventus. (…) The impression is that Lippi has hidden behind the polls in Rome and Juventus a speech that is more concretely on the table: the one with Milan. Contacts with via Turati have been in place for some time. The former national team coach is very appreciated by Berlusconi and Galliani. Both consider closed – as early as last season, to be honest – the Ancelotti cycle. There is a desire to change, and Lippi has all the features you need: winning image, international experience and a desire to challenge again.
We must not train fear
Then, the Lippi bubble deflates. But not the controversy or the bad performance of Ancelotti's team. On 15 November, in the aftermath of the third consecutive defeat – Inter, Atalanta, Roma – Ancelotti announces farewell to the two ends: "We must be more cautious". Before the trip – after the three consecutive defeats – Ancelotti declares: "We must not train fear, but rediscover awareness in our possibilities. The players are not held back by particular fears but the external environment is leading us in that direction. We must be good at not letting ourselves get carried away, we must have positive thoughts ».
Even that Milan, just like this Napoli, has a good aim to hit the woods: thirteen between poles and crosspieces in thirteen days. On November 26, the newspaper la Repubblica writes:
After 13 days Milan scores 12 goals, but the top scorers, with 2 goals each (Seedorf, Kaka, Jankulovski) are not tips for the trade. Gilardino, Inzaghi and Oliveira made a goal each, Borriello no one: according to the numbers, it is the worst division in Serie A.
The withdrawal in Malta and the elusive pact
On 6 December the home defeat in the Champions League against Lille also arrived and at the San Siro boos, Ancelotti replied: "They were too kind." "We don't have an identity," adds Gattuso. The whistles also arrive for the 0-0 home draw with Torino. Fortunately, just before Christmas here are two 3-0 victories against Catania and Udinese. And – it seems incredible – the company's decision to bring Milan into retreat for the winter break. In Malta. Ancelotti writes in the book "Preferisco la coppa":
The company at that point decided to take us all to a retreat in Malta, "at least you will put yourself in place physically and athletically". There we were reborn, we started to go at a decent speed: we looked like another team, so much so that within a short time we started talking about the famous Pact of Malta. So famous that there never was. I don't know what it is. The same things were always written in the newspapers: "The Pact, here is the secret to getting great again". Those articles intrigued me. So I asked the players, I suspected they had cut me off: "Oh, did you make a deal without telling me anything?" They didn't understand, they thought I was jerky.
The season ends with the victory of the Champions, in the final against Liverpool (the revenge of Istanbul) and fourth place.