If Arrigo Sacchi did not realise just how tough a job he was taking on when he returned to Milan, he does now.
Sunday's hapless 3-0 loss at Lazio was their second defeat in four Serie A games since the former coach of the Italian national team replaced Oscar Washington Tabarez last month. Milan have also been knocked out of the European Cup and the Italian Cup.
"In this situation we must not look for excuses," a beleaguered Sacchi said this week. "Everybody has to take responsibility. Some players are good professionals, but others are not. We can't blame Tabarez, who did good work here. It's time we turned the screws 360 degrees.
"What worries me is that too many players who are present are actually absent," Sacchi added. "In reality, we are not yet a team - we are merely a sort of representative group and nothing more."
At Winchester Crown Court on Tuesday, Bruce Grobbelaar stands trial on match-fixing charges. This weekend he will be between the posts as usual, but for Zimbabwe in a World Cup qualifier and not for his club, Plymouth Argyle.
Zimbabwe's coach, the former Sunderland player Ian Porterfield, confirmed yesterday that Grobbelaar will be in the starting line-up for Sunday's game against Togo in Harare.
"It's a good boost for us, having Bruce," Porterfield said. "He's the best player this country has ever produced.
"I know Bruce's case is coming up, but I think he's the type of guy who has handled pressures in his life before. I'm sure he'll be OK."
Argentina meet their neighbours and bitter rivals, Uruguay, in a World Cup qualifier for the first time on Sunday in the Uruguayan resort of Punta del Este, where the atmosphere is tense.
Last year, one Argentinian was killed in the border town of Paysandu in a skirmish among rival fans after a match involving Argentina in the Copa America, which Uruguay hosted. This weekend, about 6,000 Argentinians are expected in the 70,000 crowd at the Centenario stadium.
One bizarre aspect of the security precautions is that fans with painted faces have been banned. "Paint on the face makes identification difficult," Didier Opertti, Uruguay's Interior Minister, said.Reuse content