5 things from AC Milan's bittersweet win over SPAL
Tullio M. Puglia / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Welcome to the 5 Things recap by theScore's Anthony Lopopolo, which highlights AC Milan's performances over the 2018-19 season. Here's a breakdown of Milan's 3-2 victory over SPAL.

Too little, too late

Milan closed out the campaign with four consecutive wins and 68 points - their highest total in six years. But it wasn't enough, leaving the team with a feeling of regret.

Milan gambled away their fate in March and April, dropping points to Inter, Udinese, Parma, and Torino. Not to mention all the other missed opportunities earlier in the season. Bottom line: Milan could've and should've wrapped up a Champions League spot before the season finale. They shouldn't have relied on other teams failing.

The players labored under the weight of expectations; some simply disappeared for months. The coaching was questionable at times, but the biggest regret is that this team didn't perform as well as it could've. Milan drew several games against teams in the bottom half of the table, and that cost them dearly.

Kessie ends season strong

Franck Kessie was the protagonist of Sunday's win, figuring into all three of Milan's goals to give his team a chance to qualify for the Champions League.

It was arguably Kessie's best performance in months. He made some clever defense-splitting passes that put his teammates in good scoring positions and looked composed from the penalty spot. Kessie finished an otherwise disappointing season strong.

Suso vanishes again

Was it too much to ask Suso to play three good games in a row? He was culpable on SPAL's second goal, allowing Mohamed Fares to get a clear header away, and struggled in the final third.

Suso is like this. You can't expect much from him defensively, even on his best days. It's more problematic when he's not contributing to the attack. What exactly is he doing then?

The 25-year-old has disappointed fans for a while. Does he really deserve to be included in this project?

Gattuso on the brink

All signs indicate manager Gennaro Gattuso will leave Milan in the coming days. He did well to keep the team competitive while dealing with a slew of injuries, but the lack of a cohesive game plan hurt Milan in the long run.

Milan didn't really establish a set style of play for any stretch of the season, often relying on Krzysztof Piatek's heroics to earn valuable points. Gattuso had the players' support - the fight they showed over the last four games suggests as much - but his emotional impact could only produce so many positive results.

The 41-year-old said on Sunday that he still feels like half a coach, and unfortunately for Milan, that's not enough. Milan need a manager who can develop and improve a young squad. This team didn't reach its potential partly because the coach couldn't help realize it.

Summer of change ahead

CEO Ivan Gazidis said he'll now take a few days to reflect on the season. Several players are likely to follow Gattuso out the door, including longtime servants Ignazio Abate and Cristian Zapata.

Other big-name players may well be put on the market if Milan accept a one-year ban from European competition. And if there's a time to serve a Financial Fair Play penalty, it's now.

The Europa League holds next to no appeal for a club of Milan's stature, and a season without it will hardly affect the team's financial accounts. There's an opportunity to build a solid project over the next year, with clear and realistic objectives. Gazidis will have to make a number of tough decisions over that time.

5 things from AC Milan's bittersweet win over SPAL
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