AC Milan playmaker Keisuke Honda has hit back at Sinisa Mihajlovic, saying the current squad of players are not to blame for the club’s fall from grace.
Sunday’s 4-0 home defeat against Napoli left the San Siro side with just nine points from their opening seven matches in Serie A, following on from the disappointing 10th-place finish last season which cost Filippo Inzaghi his job.
Mihajlovic has been repeatedly critical of his players after poor results this season, but Honda feels such an attitude is pointless and argued that Milan’s struggles are caused by a lack of investment in top players, rather than any issues with the team’s attitude.
When asked about the head coach’s comments, the Japan international said: “I don’t understand that. There is no point in blaming the players.
“Milan have used countless players over the past few years, and this year €100million was spent. There are a lot of players who play international football, and they still can’t perform when they join Milan.
“If we don’t learn from this defeat, it means that we are far from rebuilding this club. Looking at the past few years, I think it is clear this club cannot start over unless a lot of money is spent, like PSG or [Manchester] City.
“You either do that, or you have to re-examine the structure of the club. Management, coach and fans must be aware of the situation.
“In order to change the club, we must change how everyone evaluates it, whether it be directors, coach, fans or media. If that doesn’t happen, then five to 10 years are needed.
“I know I will be criticised because of my thoughts, but they are important for the future of this club. Milan’s problems are clear, as they are always the same.”
Following the Napoli game, Mihajlovic had said: “We are weak mentally and there have been too many highs and lows.
“Perhaps we need [Sigmund] Freud… since I’ve arrived I have been trying to work on the players’ mentality. I have been speaking to them individually and as a group, trying to analyse everything. Clearly it is not that easy.
“I expected to resolve things earlier, but evidently we have to keep on working.”