Milan making progress with attacking quartet

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Alexandre Pato (r) earns AC Milan a 1-1 draw against MalagaGettyImagesAlexandre Pato (r) earns AC Milan a 1-1 draw against Malaga

After an entertaining 90 minutes at San Siro on Tuesday night, Milan hung on to second place in Group C as Malaga sealed qualification to the knock-out stages. The Rossoneri can feel hard done by not to have secured all three points, having looked threatening throughout the game, with Bojan once again leading the charge. A far cry from the dismal performances produced in the opening weeks of the season, so are Milan starting to find their feet?

- Pato rescues Rossoneri

Massimiliano Allegri now has his side playing with greater direction and dynamism and consequently producing a much higher standard of football. A lapse in concentration and dire positioning was their downfall in the first half as Eliseu gave the away side the lead, but going forward Milan are starting to look more accomplished. Far from the finished article, the build-up play however from Riccardo Montolivo, via Bojan, through to Pato (scoring his first goal of the season) is starting to show signs of real tangible progress.

"Is it a weight off my shoulders? No. I am relaxed and just need to play. I am coming back and want to help my team-mates, always doing my best and playing for the team. I think we are growing and have found a good tactical system where we attack consistently. We're playing fairly well and now just need a victory," Pato told Sky Sport Italia after the game.

Montolivo, along with Bojan, echoed the Brazilian's thoughts in their respective post-match interviews, emphasising the difference the switch back to the 4-2-3-1 system has had on the team. Following on from the great display at the weekend against Chievo, it is a system which complements the characteristics of the attacking players, but now what is needed is stability. While Allegri is perhaps right to rotate his players - affording some individuals much needed rest - he must build around this system and move forward with the players adapting to it.

Despite his goal, Milan's number 9 still has much to contribute. Largely anonymous during the game, a firing Pato could potentially be the difference in games such as these. Still working his way back to full match fitness and regaining his confidence, it will be vital in the coming weeks that 'the Duck' shows signs of progression alongside his team-mates. A return to goal-scoring form and Allegri will find it difficult to favour Giampaolo Pazzini.

The Milan boss now has an almost fully fit squad at his disposal. Aside from the disappointment of Ignazio Abate being forced to withdraw after a few minutes, several key players are now returning giving Allegri no excuses.

For all his industry and sparks of magic, does Urby Emanuelson do enough to justify his place in the starting line-up each week? With Robinho returning, the Dutchman could be forced to step aside. A front-line of El Shaarawy-Pato-Robinho with Bojan playing behind them, with fitness and form on their side, could prove to be a deadly attacking quartet.

Aside from the disappointing result, were you impressed with Milan's performance against Malaga? If Allegri continues with this system, who would you have as your attacking four?

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

ESPN Conversations