Despite leading Milan to four consecutive wins, speculation this week has suggested that manager Clarence Seedorf may not be as safe as he would like to think in his position. It appears that merely winning is not enough with varying reports claiming that Europa League qualification is essential, while others claiming there is more unrest than can be seen on the surface.
Having been appointed in January, the Dutchman's contract doesn’t expire until June 2016. Such was the faith that Silvio Berlusconi had in his former player. Nevertheless, given the difficulties in the opening months of his tenure, the pressure was immediately building as it appeared as though Seedorf may have been out of his depth.
La Gazzetta dello Sport have claimed that by failing to qualify for the Europa League, Seedorf will ultimately have failed in his audition as Milan coach, and doubts would emerge over his long-term ability to lead the club forward.
Essentially, Milan must finish fifth in order to avoid having to progress through the qualifying stages, which would also create a clash of schedule given their planned pre-season trip to the U.S. While city rivals Inter currently hold that position and have a five-point advantage, is it unfair to place such objectives on Seedorf even though he has arguably rescued what he can from the season?
It is hard to believe that the 38-year-old was told on his arrival that either he qualifies for the Europa League or he won’t last beyond the summer. The reasoning behind appointing him was to oversee a new cycle and help the club rebuild, and so the logic behind these rumours don’t appear to make sense.
That sentiment was echoed by Paolo Maldini mid-week, as the Rossoneri legend insisted that in order to have “a philosophy in the youth system, there must be time and investment”. Naturally, the former club captain talked great sense again, emphasising the importance of patience in a plan that needs “at least five years” to implement.
He argued that investment must be shared between the first team and the youth sector, and only then will Milan have the foundations for long-term success as opposed to their current strategy which looks to piece together what they can.
However, other reports this week were perhaps more intriguing and gave insight to the workings within the club and apparent pressure on Seedorf from the hierarchy.
On Wednesday, La Gazzetta dello Sport ran with a new angle which suggested that relations between Seedorf and Adriano Galliani were strained. The latter is said to be pressuring the coach to play certain players while Corriere della Sera went further and claimed Seedorf’s relationship with some in the dressing room was poor.
Both Seedorf and the players have put up a united front since his arrival and have reiterated that they are all together and fighting to help the club rebuild. As a result, most of the speculation can be ignored. While the performances may still be poor, if Seedorf continues to win games then surely that is enough to see him back next season with the Europa League a bonus as opposed to a necessity.
If rumours are to be believed, is it fair to place such objectives on Seedorf? Do you believe the reports of unrest could be true?
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