The writing has been on the wall for some time for Italian football, United’s demolition job this time last year was a sign of their struggle to compete.
Only the mix of Mourinho genius and some good players playing above themselves led an Italian team to the Champions League title last year, but it was just a high point in an otherwise steady decline.
The Rossinori, once seven times champions of Europe, let themselves down last night with a disgraceful performance from every possible angle.
In the first half outplayed. Supposed big game players went missing in Robinho and Ibrahimovic. Having realised that there was no way they could compete with the Premier League side’s tempo and industry Milan resorted to dirty Italian tricks.
Shirt tugging, hair pulling, slaps behind the referees back and one two footed lunge that left Spurs manager Harry Redknapp calling for a jail sentence for the offending player Flamini.
As it was, the referee, Stephane Lannoy refused to send anyone off, and while Flamini was lucky to escape with a yellow when he should have been carted off in a police van, the fact Gattuso survived the night without seeing red defied belief.
A once great midfield general, who has served club and country so admirably down the years, Gattuso epitomised everything that was wrong with Italian football. He snared, often behind the pace of play, berating the referee’s every decision against his side, tugged at Crouch’s shirt, backed in to him, slapped him and somehow got away with a throat push on Spurs assistant boss Joe Jordan, despite the linesman seeing it.
Back on the pitch he twice more raised his hands to shove Spurs players in the chest and was ironically only booked for the one well timed challenge he mustered all evening.
And after Crouch had scored a vital away goal and the final whistle had sounded came the ultimate disgrace. Back in Joe Jordans face, Gattuso lost his mind and head butted the former Milan player.
If UEFA don’t throw the book at Milan for their despicable tactics we’ll have further proof of their disdain for English football, and nothing should be taken away from this superb Spurs performance, that left a once great nations reputation in tatters, and many arguing the Championship provides a better standard of football. They’ve certainly got better fans and a great deal more class.