AC Milan boss Filippo Inzaghi lives to fight another day
The narrative all week has been that Milan coach Filippo Inzaghi faced being sacked if he was unable to inspire his players to a win over Cesena at San Siro on Sunday. Fortunately for all concerned, the Rossoneri secured a 2-0 win over their Serie A opponent, and so Inzaghi lives to fight another day.
It is unclear how long the victory will have bought him, but wins will certainly take the pressure off and build confidence. In turn, that may convince the Milan hierarchy that there is still fight in both the coach and the squad, and we could yet see the 41-year-old secure his long-term future.
However, as has been the case all season with Milan, it is vital to take their performances and results a week at a time. Such is their inconsistency, they may well fall to another frustrating loss next week and the knives will again be out for Inzaghi and his men.
Goals from Giacomo Bonaventura and Giampaolo Pazzini sealed the win, but it was a far-from-convincing display with the visitors having opportunities to cause an upset.
Whether it is a struggle to dictate the game by dominating possession or succeeding in that aspect but leaving themselves vulnerable to the counterattack, Milan have yet to find the ideal balance at both ends of the pitch.
There were key moments in the game where certain players stepped up when needed, but collectively they are not yet completely in sync and that will hopefully come when the results start to arrive on a more consistent basis.
However, an aspect of the performance that stood out in particular was Jeremy Menez's increasing habit of being greedy in the final third.
It is difficult to criticise the Frenchman given that he has enjoyed a strong season thus far having scored 12 goals, but his inability to pick his head up and find his teammates is becoming a problem.
On numerous occasions the 27-year-old waltzed past defenders at will, yet when it really mattered he chose the wrong option. As mentioned previously, one man in particular who will suffer as a result is Mattia Destro, and that is a real problem considering the recent addition's threat in front of goal.
Nevertheless, Sunday's encounter can perhaps be viewed in isolation given the speculation over Inzaghi's future, as ultimately the key aim was to secure a positive result whichever way that may have arrived.
For those still holding on to hope of Champions League football next season, the three points move Milan to within nine points of Napoli but Rafa Benitez's men could extend that lead on Monday night against Sassuolo.
From Milan's perspective, the win was a solid result, but they must continue to focus on their own path and not look beyond their next fixture. A trip to Verona to face Chievo awaits next weekend, and the seemingly never-ending drama surrounding Inzaghi could yet take another dramatic twist if things don't go to plan.
Sumeet Paul covers AC Milan for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @SP_Calcio.