Kaka continuing to lead Milan charge

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Mario Balotelli is congratulated on his goal for Milan against Catania.AssociatedMario Balotelli is congratulated on his goal for Milan against Catania.

Despite controversy off the pitch this week, Milan players were able to maintain their focus on it, as they picked up a much-needed 3-1 win at Catania on Sunday. The Rossoneri's ability to replicate their midweek performance was fundamental, and it appears as though Massimiliano Allegri may have begun to turn the corner.

- Balotelli subbed after 'racial abuse'

After a four-hour meeting with club president Silvio Berlusconi on Friday, it is understood that Adriano Galliani's resignation as vice president has been rejected and he is expected to continue at the club. Galliani and Silvio's daughter, Barbara Berlusconi, will split responsibility between the sporting and technical sectors, but there is initial concern as to how the arrangement will work.

Nevertheless, despite falling behind against the run of play, as has usually been the case in Serie A, the Rossoneri bounced back in confident fashion in Sicily.

There were notable performances across the pitch, with Andrea Poli filling in well at right-back because of the absence of the injured Ignazio Abate. The 24-year-old has confirmed himself as an integral part of the squad with his versatility, but his performance was matched by several of his teammates.

Among the star performers was Riccardo Montolivo, who, aside from scoring his first goal of the season, was also able to dictate the tempo of the game alongside Nigel De Jong, as Milan dominated possession for extended periods and limited the danger on the counterattack.

However, as pointed out by the captain in his postgame interview, Kaka's influence since his return is continuing to be an important factor for Milan. That goes beyond his goals, as his general presence makes the difference for the rest of the players.

As noted previously, there was much scepticism surrounding the Brazilian's comeback initially, but with increased playing time, it appears his level of performance is only improving further.

Meanwhile, it is also no coincidence that Mario Balotelli has returned to form in front of goal since Allegri has resorted back to playing him as the primary striker. While he perhaps didn't have that much influence on the game before his free kick, there is no doubt that he responds to the added responsibility.

Additionally, with Stephan El Shaarawy's welcome return, Milan's attacking trio could look increasingly dynamic and flexible in the weeks ahead as Kaka showed he has the ability to play out wide when required.

However, perhaps the biggest positive from the performance was the increased intensity and focus from the players, which has arguably been missing in recent weeks. Their commitment has been called into question after a string of disappointing results domestically, and that ultimately resulted in the stand-off with the Curva Sud a week ago.

While the team deserved criticism at that stage, their performances, and more importantly their results, this week should now be praised as they have responded and can now build on these confident displays.

The pressure is still on the Rossoneri to continue their ascent of the Serie A table, but the signs of recovery have been a welcome sight this week.

Were you pleased with the win against Catania? Who was your man of the match?

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

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