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Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
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Transfer Rater: Juan Mata to Inter Milan

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Higuain eyes 100th Serie A goal

Five Aside
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Sumeet Paul blog profile  By Sumeet Paul

Summer signings Andre Silva, Lucas Biglia come up short again in Europe

Gennaro Gattuso's wobbly start to life as coach of AC Milan continued as Rijeka blanked the Rossoneri 2-0 in Croatia.

As if this week couldn't get any worse following Sunday's disaster at Benevento, AC Milan put in a lacklustre effort as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at Rijeka in the Europa League. Top spot in Group D had already been secured and so the game didn't mean much, but a win would undoubtedly have been a welcome boost for Gennaro Gattuso and his men.

RijekaRijeka
AC MilanAC Milan
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Positives

It's difficult to pick anything positive from the game, aside from perhaps the determination of the younger players and that this was another perfect example of the 3-5-2 system, or variations of it, not working. However, that will only be a positive if it forces a change.

Negatives

The fact that the Rossoneri didn't even manage a single effort on target throughout the game says it all about their dire display. No creativity, no cutting edge and just another uninspiring performance overall.

Manager rating out of 10

4 -- Not only did Milan lack the grit that we thought Gattuso would instill, there's still a distinct lack of ideas and direction in their play, and that starts with the coach implementing a successful game plan. So far the boost that typically comes with a managerial change has been nonexistent. 

Player ratings (1-10, 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Marco Storari, 5 -- Little he could have done to deny either goal and so he can't be criticised, but the mere sight of the veteran in the starting lineup was questionable in itself regardless of whether or not the match was meaningless.

DF Cristian Zapata, 5 -- Not strong enough in the challenge throughout the game and hesitant at times, which leads to him making mistakes. After a string of impressive outings, this was a backward step for the Colombian.

DF Gabriel Paletta, 5 -- Did well considering he hasn't made a single appearance so far this season, but again, it's difficult to understand why he played. With the pressure off, it was a perfect opportunity to give youth a chance rather than a stalwart likely to be on his way out next summer.

DF Alessio Romagnoli, 6 -- While he suffered with the lack of quality being shown around him, it was a decent performance from the Italian. Whether this can be taken as a compliment or not, he was the best of the back three.

MF Davide Calabria, 5 -- In his defence, he worked hard and showed the determination that was lacking in some of his teammates. However, he couldn't match that with quality, either defensively or offensively in a disappointing display.

MF Niccolo Zanellato, 5 -- The youngster produced glimpses of some quality, but it was a struggle throughout. Good to see Gattuso give him a chance as that's what the younger group need, but he didn't really take the opportunity to impress.

MF Lucas Biglia, 4 -- It's a familiar story with the Argentine in that he lacked any real command over the game and kept things too simple. Further, he looked to struggle in keeping up with the intensity and tempo shown by Rijeka, which adds another problem to his list.

Milan failed to record a shot on target against Croatia's fourth-place side Rijeka on Thursday.
Despite spending €200 million this summer, Milan failed to record a shot on target against Croatia's fourth-place side Rijeka.

MF Manuel Locatelli, 6 -- Not a great performance by any means, but it was a positive one for Locatelli. Showed his determination and desire throughout, and while he wasn't always accurate enough with his distribution, it's good to see someone in the side take on the responsibility to try to play that decisive pass to make a difference.

MF Luca Antonelli, 5 -- Personally, he falls into the same category as Storari and Paletta. Although the veteran will always run tirelessly for the team and can be an attacking threat, his best days are behind him and it seems a little pointless to keep going back to him every so often.

FW Andre Silva, 4 -- Showed a desire to get around the pitch and be involved in making something happen. However, he didn't produce enough positive play in getting attacks going and never looked a threat to find a breakthrough. Still believe he's better off being used as a focal point alone up top with Suso and Giacomo Bonaventura either side of him.

FW Patrick Cutrone, 5 -- Great determination as always from the young striker, and had a great chance to find a breakthrough. Partnership with Silva still needs a lot of work and while it was a positive display, he wasn't good enough.

Substitutes

MF Ignazio Abate, NR -- Offered a fresh pair of legs in the latter stages but didn't have a great deal to do in either the defensive or attacking phase.

MF Riccardo Forte, NR -- Good to see the 18-year-old get a chance to feature for the senior side, perhaps one to look out for in the future.

Sumeet Paul covers AC Milan for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @SP_Calcio.

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