x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Allegri's calm reaction to poor decisions a fine example

The AC Milan manager's reaction to being on the receiving end of some poor decisions was refreshing.

Massimiliano Allegri, the AC Milan coach, took the bad decisions that went against him, with good grace.
Massimiliano Allegri, the AC Milan coach, took the bad decisions that went against him, with good grace.

Gianluca Rocchi is one of Italy's highest-ranked referees. He has been on Uefa's elite list for nearly four years.

But his handling of the Bologna v AC Milan match was not, as Rocchi would later say, his finest day's work. He missed a number of incidents in the 2-2 draw: Clarence Seedorf's handball; Archimede Morleo's handball; another possible Milan penalty when Gaby Mudingayi pushed Alberto Aquilani.

According to Stefano Pioli, the Bologna coach, Rocchi later apologised for "mistakes I might have made". But although players of both sides expressed their disappointment with the referee, neither Pioli nor Max Allegri, the Milan coach, used their press conferences to rage against Rocchi.

Indeed, Allegri was remarkably balanced in his assessment. "The referee got it wrong for both teams," he said, acknowledging the Seedorf handball and even offering the opinion that Zlatan Ibrahimovic had "dived" to earn Milan the penalty Rocchi did award.

On a weekend of high-pitched squealing about referees elsewhere in Europe this was a lesson in how to apply measured analysis and put into practice that overused word, "respect". Italian football needs to be sensitive about criticising referees. Allegri knows that. He was careful to point out that, though Rocchi made mistakes, they were haphazard failings, with no hint of bias. Inter Milan, who have complained about officials with too much paranoia at times this season, would be wise to follow Allegri's example.