Celtic trip a real test of character for Milan

Posted by Sumeet Paul

In the aftermath of the draw against Genoa on Saturday, the atmosphere around the club has been well documented as the Curva Sud made their frustration known to the players outside of San Siro. However, things aren't expected to get much quieter on Tuesday night as Milan prepare for a potentially decisive trip to face Celtic.

- Report: Milan fans trap players
- Marcotti: Mediocrity continues at Milan

Granted that to fully appreciate the atmosphere on a European night at Celtic Park, it requires attendance at the stadium itself. Nevertheless, given that there are numerous international players in the Rossoneri squad, they should have both the composure and experience to avoid being overawed by the occasion.

While that is easier said than done, it will undoubtedly be a real test of both their character and resolve given the difficult circumstances that the club currently face. As a result, rather than be stifled by it, this must be approached as the ideal platform for the leaders within this team to step up and deliver when it is most needed.

On-going controversy has rumbled on this week following Mario Balotelli's comments on Twitter, with speculation also suggesting that he has arrived late at training over the past two days. If the 23-year-old is genuinely hurt about the plight of the club, then he must respond with a performance on the pitch which will support the words of Adriano Galliani who insists that he isn't on the transfer market in January.

Perhaps more importantly, though, is the display put on in midfield where Milan can essentially win this battle. Riccardo Montolivo will return from his suspension, while Nigel De Jong and Andrea Poli can be expected to fill in alongside him.

Their calmness and precision on the ball, coupled with their tireless effort off of it will ultimately spread through to the rest of the team. If they can dictate the tempo of the game -- in other words slow it down and play at Milan's prefered pace -- through dominating possession, then the Rossoneri will have a better chance of silencing the passionate home faithful.

However, that will all be worth little if the strikers selected by Massimiliano Allegri aren't as prolific as their reputations perhaps suggest. Should Milan be as wasteful as they were on the weekend, then they will run the very real risk of being defeated and being left with a problematic conclusion to qualifying for the next stage.

At this point, it feels as though there are various concerns with this team. Some critics would fairly suggest that many of the issues stem from a poor defence which has been far from perfect so far this season.

However, perhaps the first obstacle that Milan must overcome is the negativity currently surrounding the club. Galliani has insisted that supporters mustn't "make a drama" of their probable failure to qualify for Europe next year, while Allegri has claimed that president Silvio Berlusconi was "satisfied" with the performance on Saturday night.

Yet the fact remains that if it hasn't happened already, the season is slipping away from the Rossoneri, , so they must be focused for this game, otherwise, Europe may only offer temporary respite from their domestic struggles.

Can Milan put their problems aside for Tuesday night and secure a positive result?

For all the latest Milan and Serie A news, you can follow me on Twitter @italiafooty

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