Kalinic, Abate just two of the underperformers in loss to Atalanta
It's far from the most wonderful time of the year for AC Milan as they failed to provide any Christmas cheer in their 2-0 defeat to Atalanta at the San Siro on Saturday night. It was another abject display from the Rossoneri as they didn't deserve to take anything from the game.
None. After the disaster that was the loss at Verona last time out, it didn't seem as though things could get worse. Somehow, Milan managed to fail in every department in this game in another inexcusable performance devoid of any quality.
It started with the lineup and it continued with none of the players producing a good enough display. The lack of creativity, flair and class in the final third in this side is staggering, as they never really looked convincing going forward.
Manager rating out of 10
3 -- Gennaro Gattuso got this badly wrong. Even before kickoff it was obvious that the attacking trident he picked wasn't going to threaten, and he waited far too long to make changes. It wouldn't be a surprise if he walked away soon.
Player ratings out of 10 (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Gianluigi Donnarumma, 4 -- It wasn't a great performance, as he didn't cover himself in glory on the first goal while he fortunately avoided a nightmare blunder. However, the treatment and jeering he's receiving from a large section of the Milan faithful at home games is embarrassing. Doesn't deserve it, as it included a loud cheer as he slipped in the latter stages.
DF Ignazio Abate, 4 -- Just an average veteran who should have played his last game for the club years ago. Works hard as always but doesn't do anything positive with the ball and was continuously exposed defensively, never more so than in the build-up to the second goal.
DF Mateo Musacchio, 5 -- While he's still not convincing with the ball at his feet and building play from the back, he looked a little more steady defensively this time out. Still has much to do to warrant a permanent spot in the lineup.
DF Leonardo Bonucci, 5 -- It wasn't a particularly good performance, but the Milan captain was decent in possession and made some key interventions. With such a lack of quality in front of him, it's always going to lead to more pressure and mistakes.
DF Ricardo Rodriguez, 4 -- Largely ineffective going forward as he has a terrible habit of checking back and ending attacks, while he was troubled in his defensive duties. Not a great night for the Swiss international.
MF Franck Kessie, 4 -- Worked hard throughout and used his physical presence at times to try and get a foothold in the game. However, his lack of composure in dangerous positions is becoming increasingly frustrating, and he has shown zero improvement in that department all season.
MF Riccardo Montolivo, 4 -- Has overstayed his welcome in terms of his return to the team. Did show glimpses of quality and defensive work and he was great a fortnight ago, but plays it too simple and too slow, giving Milan nothing in the heart of the midfield. Continues to calm things down, but that's not what the Rossoneri need.
MF Giacomo Bonaventura, 5 -- All the pressure of creating something was on his shoulders on Saturday, and while he tried and pushed throughout, it didn't spark a decisive moment. It was too much responsibility on one player to make something happen.
FW Patrick Cutrone, 5 -- Reportedly in tears after the game; you can see in Cutrone's performances how much it means to him as he works hard and gives his best without question. However, faded out of the game and doesn't have the attributes needed to play out on the left effectively.
FW Nikola Kalinic, 4 -- It's simple: He must drop out of the starting lineup. A couple of flicks and lay-offs looked positive, but he didn't take his chances and doesn't do enough up top. Too many opportunities, not enough results. With one goal in his last eight Serie A games, it's shocking that he still played from the start.
FW Fabio Borini, 4 -- We all love Borini's work ethic and tireless displays, but he shouldn't be played in an attacking role. He doesn't possess the quality to be impactful from an attacking perspective, whereas his hard work is well received filling in elsewhere.
MF Hakan Calhanoglu, NR -- Should have started or at least been brought on earlier. With the current options not working, the Turkish international needs to come back into the side and play regularly, then a proper assessment can be made on him.
FW Andre Silva, NR -- Similar to Calhanoglu above, he has more in his all-round game to offer Milan and must start. Kalinic isn't producing, and unless he is a nightmare in training, it's difficult to understand why Silva hasn't already replaced him.
MF Lucas Biglia, NR -- Not enough time to do much, like the duo above, but he's also got a case for a recall to offer more quality in the Milan midfield, even though he's struggled this season, too.
Sumeet Paul covers AC Milan for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @SP_Calcio.