Gennaro Gattuso has revealed he told the club not to invest in the market, and said Milan should improve in finishing and how they handle end of matches.
Milan returned from the winter break and got the three points from Sardegna Arena after beating Cagliari 2-1 in a hard-fought and rather complicated match.
Nicolò Barella gave the advantage to the home side in the 8′ minute (Gianluigi Donnarumma could’ve done much better), but the Rossoneri – for the first time this season – managed to react and overturn the result. Franck Kessié scored in the 35′ minute after a controversial penalty call and then again in the 43′ minute thanks to a Nikola Kalinić assist. There could have been more goals in this match but Donnarumma – and especially Cagliari keeper Alessio Cragno – produced some important saves.
Ricardo Rodriguez got sent off in the 80′ minute but after strong pressure from Cagliari, they lost Barella to a red card as well (88′). Both sides finished in 10 men, but Milan – despite not having a great performance – had more luck and returned home with the points which got them to 7th place.
“The error of Donnarumma on Barella’s goal? Yes, he made a mistake, but when it was still 1-0 he kept us in the game with a miracle, so these things even themselves out, and we are happy for the performance,” Gattuso told Premium Sport at the end of the match. “We must take it one game at a time and then see how we end up. We are working hard; the players deserve credit, we are growing.
“The final minutes of the game? The players on the bench were laughing because of my reactions but if we conceded a goal then there would have been little to laugh about. We must be careful because in Benevento we were embarrassed and conceded in the last moment [their ‘keeper scored].
“We have to raise the bar from this point of view. I think that Lucas Biglia had a good match, Giacomo Bonaventura was also tired in the final moments. We missed Suso a bit as he found very little space, but I’m happy. We are growing and we’re playing good football, too.
“Kessié? It’s clear that he is stronger than I was, because he has seven or eight goals in his legs per season. In any case, we’ve got to focus on the collective and not individuals, because with individuals you don’t get anywhere. The team is alive, and we have great room for improvement.
“André Silva? There are 11 games coming up in 43 days, so there will be room for everyone, including Silva. André’s time will also come. It’s my responsibility at the moment if he doesn’t play and it is I who must have the courage to throw him into the mix and make him perform at his best. He is a young and talented forward who just needs to improve in a few areas.”
Speaking to Sky, Rino added: “The final corner and the risk of conceding a goal? In my opinion we have to improve on these aspects. We are doing very well but sometimes we forget that these matches have to be taken home until the end. In the first half we did well, in the second we were suffering a bit, we cannot sleep like that on a corner in the 90′ minute.
“What’s changed in my Milan? We have to think about one game at a time. We have room for improvements and I think about the collective. I was surprised by the availability I found in these guys, there’s great application and will to anything I propose during the week. I was afraid of having to go nose-to-nose since there are so many young players, but it’s not like that.
“If I’m exhausted after a game like this? I only lost my voice, but I’m not exhausted [smiles]. The strong winds in Sardinia [the game was nearly postponed because of this situation]? It helped us in the first half but penalized us in the second. On Sunday we won away from home for the first time in two and a half months. We made many shots towards goal? We have to improve in the finishing, we create a lot and collect little. I like the performance of the team in the last meters very much. We only think of working because we have 40 very, very difficult days ahead.
“The lack of understanding between Bonaventura and Çalhanoğlu? Many times when Rodriguez has to push forward, he doesn’t push like Calabria does, and Bonaventura doesn’t do the same movement that Kessié makes on the other side. Jack prefers to play the ball at his foot, like Hakan.
“This bond can improve, and we know it. Kalinić? I know that for a striker the goal is everything, but he worked hard for the team. The biggest difficulty is having to choose the starting XI every time, I’m sorry to leave some players out. If André Silva can be the best buy of January [he’s yet to score in Serie A]? I see how he trains in relation to his age. The greatest responsibility is mine and I must find a way to give him confidence and minutes. The chance will surely be given to him, he’ll play.”
Gattuso also had a post-match press conference after Marco Guida’s final whistle: “This is a team that knows how to play football, I’m happy because the thing that makes me proud is the fact that despite having a young staff these players are always available. I was afraid that we’d have to go face-to-face with the players but instead I would like to thank them because I see great availability.
“My team has shown to be in good conditions in the last 3/4 games. It’s difficult to play at this stadium and we knew that. Cagliari are a very intense team which can easily put you in trouble. It was a complicated match. My team showed that it can play the ball very well, although there is still room for improvement. We played some quality football in the first half, Kalinić played well.
“We create a lot, but we have to improve in finishing. Our wings did a great job today, they had a great interpretation of the game and gave little space to our opponents. This team has a lot of quality. I see great responsibility from the boys and a sense of belonging.
“The standings [the Rossoneri are two points behind Sampdoria who are 6th]? We focus on one game at a time. We can’t afford to make calculations regarding the standings. We still have a long way to go. The management could have done something in this transfer market, but I asked them not to because I believe in this team. Some of our players are very young and so many of our players can still do much more. My duty is to enable them to make the most out of themselves.
“Barella? Two ago I wanted Barella when he played for Como. He is a very interesting player, and he also was two years ago. He has improved a lot and has great room for improvement, he’s a great team player. The duel between Gigio Donnarumma and Alessio Cragno? For many years [Milan goalkeeper trainer] Alfredo Magni was the coach of Cragno at Brescia and it shows. At the level of methodology of working they are similar, although Cragno has less physicality than Gigio.”
The next two matches of Milan are very tough, as they face Lazio in Serie A and then in the Coppa Italia. The Biancocelesti of Simone Inzaghi are in 3rd place and yesterday beat Chievo 5-1.