Gattuso: “It wasn’t supposed to be an easy match, we all want the Coppa Italia, Çalhanoğlu is an added value”

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Gennaro Gattuso during Milan-Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro on May 5, 2018. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)
Gennaro Gattuso during Milan-Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro on May 5, 2018. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

Gennaro Gattuso was mostly satisfied after the 4-1 win over Hellas Verona and now looks towards the Coppa Italia final: ‘A victory would make our growth easier’.

The Rossoneri got back to winning ways last week with a 2-1 win over Bologna and yesterday they took on Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro, and it was clear from the start that Milan came fully-prepared.

After 10 minutes, Suso found Hakan Çalhanoğlu in the box and the Turkish sent a powerful shot past keeper Marco Silvestri. In the 32′ minute, Giacomo Bonaventura found Patrick Cutrone with a nice pass and the 20-year-old doubled Milan’s lead.

4 minutes into the second half, a great exchange of passes between Suso and Ignazio Abate resulted in the fullback getting a rare goal. Lee Seung-woo pulled one back for Hellas in the 84′ minute but the final goal belonged to Fabio Borini, who made it 4-1 in the 89′ minute after another Jack assist.

“On Friday at the press conference I said that I saw a team that is lighter in the head and is fresher mentally and physically after the Bologna win, and I got a confirmation,” coach Gattuso told Sky Italia after the final whistle of referee Fabrizio Pasqua, which officially sent Hellas to Serie B.

Stadio San Siro during Milan-Hellas Verona on May 5, 2018. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Stadio San Siro during Milan-Hellas Verona on May 5, 2018. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

“The fans chanting after the game that they want 11 lions in the Coppa Italia final? Who doesn’t want the Coppa Italia? We have to play the perfect match, we play against a team that has been protagonists for so many years, they have something more than us, but as a player I won against teams who compared to them we had something less. We need to get there with great lucidity and respect for the opponents. We must prepare well, we’ll see how it ends and we’ll definitely play for it.

“Matches against small sides? In games like this in my management we’ve always had a difficult time. At the start I didn’t think that we would’ve reached 60 points because we lost many points on the road against the small sides. It’s a team that has values, we saw it on Saturday.

“We miss something to compete with the teams stronger than us, [but] the average age is 23-24 years and good things can be done. The coaching job [he got the Milan bench in November 2017]? I see very little fun in my work, there is great pressure and I feel a lot of stress. I only enjoy myself when I have the whistle in my mouth. The thing I like most is coaching the players.

Hakan Çalhanoğlu , Giacomo Bonaventura and Franck Kessié celebrating during Milan-Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro on May 5, 2018. (@acmilan.com)
Hakan Çalhanoğlu , Giacomo Bonaventura and Franck Kessié celebrating during Milan-Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro on May 5, 2018. (@acmilan.com)

“Çalhanoğlu [who scored for a second time in a row]? He is an atypical number 10, he combines quality with quantity, he’s a number 10 that fits us in the modern football, he’s an added value for this team. He has a lot of room for improvement, both from mental and physical standpoints.

“Cutrone? He has a lot of room for improvement, he has great passion, he has very precise characteristics but sometimes he is not tidy technically. Because of his age and the passion that he puts it, he has a lot of room for improvement. He must have the desire and poison to learn and improve. At a certain point he stopped, he only thought of the goals he missed and the fact that he wasn’t a starter. At his age, the priority should be given to the work that eventually bears fruit.”

Patrick Cutrone, Giacomo Bonaventura and Manuel Locatelli celebrating during Milan-Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro on May 5, 2018. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Patrick Cutrone, Giacomo Bonaventura and Manuel Locatelli celebrating during Milan-Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro on May 5, 2018. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Speaking to Premium Sport, Rino said: “We all want the Coppa Italia [the final is on Wednesday at Stadio Olimpico]. We play against a team that has been winning for many years and you have to get there well. It’s not always the strongest team that wins the final. The motivations and the energies for this type of game come alone, we have to prepare for the match on a tactical level.

“It’s the most important game of the year and it can save us the season. Juventus are superior to us, we know that they have something more and in the last 6-7 years they’ve written the history books, like Milan did in 87′ and in the 2000s. We have to play a great game to be in business.

Ricardo Rodriguez and Rômulo during Milan-Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro on May 5, 2018. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Ricardo Rodriguez and Rômulo during Milan-Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro on May 5, 2018. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

“We had a good performance against Verona. We have always struggled against the small sides, also in my reign, and I was afraid of repeating the Benevento match [which Milan lost 1-0 at home]. But I said that after the Bologna win I saw a team with freer of mind and this was a confirmation.

“The club has been dealing with this problem for years, it’s a matter if mentality: you can’t explain how against Napoli and Roma you make great performances [Milan drew Napoli and beat Roma away] and then… we must always play with desire, hunger and attention. Also on Saturday around the 70′ minute we took the foot off the gas and we did everything to help the opponents score.

“Cutrone or Kalinić up-front in the Coppa final [Nikola was subbed on for Patrick against Hellas]? We’ll see… Suso? He got a knee to the stomach, it was iced as a precaution when he came off, but he should recover. Çalhanoğlu? The nice thing about him is that he’s a number 10 of a new generation, he interprets the game not only at a technical level, but he combines quantity and running. He is important, he does the kilometers, goes to the back, goes to shoot and closes the passing lines.”

Gennaro Gattuso and referee Fabrizio Pasqua during Milan-Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro on May 5, 2018. (@acmilan.com)
Gennaro Gattuso and referee Fabrizio Pasqua during Milan-Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro on May 5, 2018. (@acmilan.com)

Gattuso also held a presser: “We have to improve in the last 20 minutes, we took the foot off the gas and we did everything to make Verona score. We need to improve on this aspect. We are young, and we must immediately fix this detail. On a positive note, we improved our standings position, but we still miss the points against the small sides, we did too little against Benevento and Verona. It’s been several years that these matches are hard for us and we have to start afresh from now.

“Yonghong Li [who arrived in Italy for the Coppa final and watched yesterday’s match from the stands]? I didn’t meet him, I ran away from the dressing room right away. But my English is not great, and his Calabrese is not great, so it’s hard to communicate with him [laughs]. He doesn’t make us lack anything and if I have to ask something, I talk to Fassone and Mirabelli who speak to him.

Manuel Locatelli and Rômulo during Milan-Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro on May 5, 2018. (@acmilan.com)
Manuel Locatelli and Rômulo during Milan-Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro on May 5, 2018. (@acmilan.com)

“Locatelli? He made me angry at the end, he and Kessié were walking on the pitch at the end of the game. Young players must play to express themselves at best and he can do it, he has play and vision. He can improve on the interpretation of the role, in the first half I really liked him.

“The Coppa final? Juventus have been at the top in Italy and in Europe for 7 years, winning helps to win and they know how to hurt you. We must not forget that despite the great football we played in Turin, it wasn’t enough, and we have to get there with lightheartedness and awareness that they are stronger, but we can play with them. We can’t do anything wrong and a victory could change the mentality of this world that surrounds me, the players and all the staff.

Giacomo Bonaventura and Rômulo during Milan-Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro on May 5, 2018. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Giacomo Bonaventura and Rômulo during Milan-Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro on May 5, 2018. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

“A victory would make our growth easier. The physical condition of Romagnoli and Suso? Suso took a knock to the thigh which was painful. We have three days to recover him in full, but I don’t think it’s anything serious. Alessio is fine, but Zapata also did well, Cristian is one of the strongest in the world, but his concentration is a flaw. When we pointed out the defect, he started working at the maximum, he has everything. He’s 31-years-old and he has everything to stay at the highest levels.

“The memory of Doha [the Supercoppa Italiana win over Juventus]? This victory is still fresh, but also there, there was suffering. We have to prepare for the match well because they are strongest win us, let’s recall the Doha final and the first 70 minutes from 40 days ago.”

Franck Kessie, Patrick Cutrone and Lee Seung-woo during Milan-Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro on May 5, 2018. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)
Franck Kessie, Patrick Cutrone and Lee Seung-woo during Milan-Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro on May 5, 2018. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

In his interview with MilanTV, Gattuso said: “The team found its vivacity? It’s there to the eye, but there are also numbers on paper because we work with GPS. After the Bologna victory, the team had less thoughts in its head. It wasn’t supposed to be an easy match. We were actually quite afraid because since I’m here, we have lost many points against the teams in the bottom of the table and we knew that we had to start off strong with the awareness that we can’t go wrong.

“Abate’s goal? I embraced him, because he’s giving me so much as a player, he knows me better than anyone and he knows what’s going to happen when I change my face. He is a great professional and he’s training hard. He’s giving me a great hand also in the locker room.

Ignazio Abate and Patrick Cutrone celebrating during Milan-Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro on May 5, 2018. (@acmilan.com)
Ignazio Abate and Patrick Cutrone celebrating during Milan-Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro on May 5, 2018. (@acmilan.com)

“What aspect was more different compared to the first round against Hellas? I don’t want any merits, but certainly the fact of systematically raising the depth of the opponents. They tickled us on Saturday compared to the away fixture. I think this is the aspect in which there was the most difference. 7-8 actions were very similar but we worked well on our line compared to the first round.

“With the exception of Biglia [who is out until the end of the season with a back injury] we arrive to the final in a good condition? The fact that we arrive there with only two injured players, in my opinion, is a miracle, considering the conditions in which we worked: we changed the preparations, the loads of the work, the way we play. We were also a bit lucky, apart from the skills of my staff.

Fabio Borini scoring during Milan-Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro on May 5, 2018. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Fabio Borini scoring during Milan-Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro on May 5, 2018. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

“What Juventus characteristic I respect the most? Their mentality, the fact that they’ve played 7 years as protagonists in Italy and in Europe. They have something more than us and it’s a fact. We have to respect them but not forget the fact that we had a great performance for 70 minutes at the Juventus Stadium wasn’t enough. We need something more on the level of mentality, heart, soul, everything.

“How much I want to crown the path in the Coppa Italia with a trophy? I also want to win when I play with my son in marbles. For me it’s a pride to coach a team like Milan. Since I stopped playing I dreamt of coaching a team that played in a final and I hope to complete [the journey]. I think the club has given me a strong and young team that can become even stronger with small adjustments. We must experience it as something extraordinary, but not with too much pressure.

Gennaro Gattuso and Franck Kessié celebrating at the end of Milan-Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro on May 5, 2018. (@acmilan.com)
Gennaro Gattuso and Franck Kessié celebrating at the end of Milan-Hellas Verona at Stadio San Siro on May 5, 2018. (@acmilan.com)

“The difference between the first final as a player [Manchester, 2003] and the first as a coach? Then there was fun, now it’s a tragedy. You don’t sleep, you feel the burden incredibly… I really like it when I put the whistle around my neck for an hour and a half, it’s great fun for me.

“Now we enjoy this victory and from Sunday the head is on Juventus.” After the Coppa final (21:00 CET kickoff), Milan play Atalanta away from home and then end the season against Fiorentina.

26 COMMENTS

  1. “Alessio is fine, but Zapata also did well, Cristian is one of the strongest in the world, but his concentration is a flaw. ”
    Finally a coach adresses this!
    An honest interview as always from Rino, you can really feel the burden, passion and commitment he puts into this. This final against Juve can be somewhat likened to the final between Real – Atletico a couple of seasons ago, when Atleti beat them in extra time and after that became somewhat of a power house. I hope we can do that as well, but be more succesful as Milan is bigger historically and has had greater heights.
    We can do it, I hope we will!

    • Yes, mate I also praise you, your comments it had been accurate all season, Zapata is a great back up for any team, and what about professionalism? He hasn’t done stupid things like jumping from a roof like Niang, criticizing the coach like Cerci, or demanding to be on the field like paletta.

      He is always fit even if he doesn’t play, In previous season we had a shitty midfield and Zapata was always the last defender, he made like 10 last minute save and of course the pressure leads to a goal and spoiled fans failed to see what he did right and of course blame the foreign minority.

      I think Zapata don’t shit his pants so much if he is paired with Bonucci, he knows that the entire weight of the defense is not on him

      • I have to disagree.
        Zapata is world class. But those mistakes he make are simply too costly (C Zapata vs D Zapata)
        Just look at Romagnoli. He has been consistent all season. We need another like him. Zapata is a good backup, yes. But only to be used when there is no other option.

        As for Paletta, I don’t think anyone can question Paletta’s professionalism.

        • Yes that’s why he is and should be the third choice cb, but this season he has improved his focus. I don’t think we need another cb who would you bench Bonucci? Don’t forget we still have Gomez and Vergara those guys are fairly strong. it’s in our best interest to invest in youth.

          Yeah red card paletta that wife incident should never happened. Anyone can blame the coach for results but, even if Matri-Kalinic issue we as fans don’t know what is the coach’s plan or what he see in training.

      • @Raven, thanks mate I appreciate that! Definitely agree about him being professional, but my point was, his lapse in concentration that no coach, or anyone other than from us on this blog, had pointed out before, just like Baresis Dream did now as well. On his day he is a top defender, but, once again, like Baresis dream pointed out, when in possession he can be very sloppy, plus his decision making at times, and that is, as Ink said, it often proves too costly. He also relies a little too much on his pace etc..
        Recently he has stepped up and been consistent, but I don’t think that anyone can argue that our defence looks, and is, more solid with Romagnoli in it. He has been class, and imo better than Bonucci. Perhaps pushing it, but it’s my opinion. Zap is a great back-up, Musa is good enough to be a starter. And if we would be able to keep him – speaking of professionalism – and have Roma, Bonu, Musa and Zap as CB’s for next season as well, then that position is more than set.

    • I think Gatusso put it perfectly – Zapata is physically a beast, and has almost everything (apart from good ball control) to be world class. In fact, he’s our best defender in set pieces imo. And like Raven points out, he seems to be a true professional.

      But world class defenders are more consistent than him, and make fewer mistakes on average. To be fair to fans here, he has made quite a few crucial mistakes at his time in Milan, and he doesn’t seem so comfortable on possession. But as a backup he’s great, no argument there.

  2. It s not that i dont belive in this team or Gatuzzo, in fact i think they are more than capable to beat Juventus, its just i don t belive the Italian football federation will allow Juventus to lose a title, after watching how was Napoli robed from the league title last week.
    Milan will probably get a bunch of yelow cards early on so they cant tackle any more and deffend efficently, plus some free kicks for Juve from good positios….i hope im wrong but this is exactly what happend last time.

      • so true… i follow Serie A more than 30y, they got offside goal / disalowed onside goal againts them / ghost goal / given pk & free kick easily… marota, moggi & calabrese cosa nostra they drive Serie A ad they want…

  3. Who do you guys think will start? Monty or Loca, Kalinic or Cutrone?
    I think Kalinic will start and that may be a good option, he may open some space for Suso and Hakan. Also Cutrone’s grinta gives results when coming from the bench.

    Monty after his bitching about not playing regularly don’t think he will play, although I think is a good option pairing him with Loca on the left, from a defensive perspective with him we can hold the pressure and hope a good counter. We also save Bona as we may need him when Hakan is tired.

    Borini can come veeery late on the game for Suso.
    I also wonder Silva on the wing, of course now is not the time for experiments but that has made me think a lot since January.

  4. Comment: the great milan is come back i think this wednesday milan vs Juventus italian cup we will win the match becouse we are the only one in italy to compit with europian teams in terms in europiam tounment forza milan

  5. If we can keep the same four cbs for next season then ill be more then happy. Theyve proved to be a good bunch. Romagnoli this year next to bonucci has really taken that much needed step in his career. Hes been solid. The back line looks so organised with them together. Obviously need two midfielders. Whether we remain with a 4 3 3 or move to a 4 3 1 2 (reports gattuso wants that for next season) we need another starting midfielder and at least a good back up. Calhanoglu may be good for a trequartista but we need somebody else creative. As for the strikers i feel like kalinic and silva are as good as gone, although i was really routing for silva to become something big he wont be doing so in a milan jersey. Nobody trusts him so might as well get our money back plus kalinic and get a proven striker. I would love to get a proven striker plus keita balde. That kid has proved himself in lazio and in monaco and can play both a wing position and striker. Plus his pace dribbling and creativity he would be a perfect addition to the team. One can only dream

    • Has Keita Baldé been good at Monaco? Have no idea. I think the plan is a new class striker + Keita.
      let’s hope the class striker is better than the previous mercatos “class striker”, aka Kalinic. Wont mind Belotti tbh, but if we’re getting rid of Cutro then this management is beyond saving, or unrelated if they let go of Loca.

      • Rumors are floating around that Guttuso is a big fan of Mandzukic and Belotti so maybe both will come to Milan, if not one or the other will most likely arrive.

        Both are strong and can play as a lone striker. Best options for us in my opinion and Milan should get them both if possible.

        Swap deal on the cards for Keita Balde with Andre Silva going to Monaco. Kalinic is definitely on his way out to Germany or China.

        As for the midfield, Fellaini is being strongly linked to Milan.

        If Milan sell Cutrone it will be total outrage from the fans, so i doubt that will happen.

        • Damn. Keita Baldé, Belotti AND Mandzukic would be insane. tbh, I doubt that will happen, but who knows. But if the plan is to play 4-3-1-2, what should we do with Keita? Isnt he a second striker/winger type of player?
          Fellaini would ruin it though. Unless he comes as a backup to Kessie or something. We would still need a playmaker though!
          Yeah let’s hope so man. Cutro, and Loca has to stay! Calabria as well but I dont see anything about him leaving, in every aspect haha.

          • Yeah, i’m not a fan of Fellaini either but if we get Mandzukic and Belotti or front line will be devastating.

            Keita Balde will play on the left wing with Calhanoglu playing more central in Bonaventura role.

          • For sure, that will be INSANE. Damn, Im not the one who gets my hopes up but damn that would be too good to be true… a huge fan of Mandzukic, a player we need and will be symbolic with our rise to put fear into our opponents again. A player Gattuso will love, kind of like Simeone and Costa.
            You mean Hakan will play trequartista and Baldé as Mezz’ala in the three man midfield? Wonder if he would accept a role like that, dunno if it wuold work, he is too attacking. Although Di Maria played there to great effect during Ancelotti’s time in Madrid.

          • Keita has like 8 goals and 8 assists in less than 25 games. So for a debut season those are good numbers. Hes versatile and thats what i like, no strwnger to serie a too. It would be crazy if we can get all those players plus keeping cutrone. And i wouldnt mind if locatelli went out on a dry losn only. I dont like him sitting on the bench. Apparently donnarumma linked with psg again and raiola pushing for it

    • I think in summer we are going to get: Keita Balde(Swap A.Silva), Belotti(Cutrone + cash) i hate it too, Strinic(free), Wilshire(around 20 mil), Mandzukic(swap with Bonaventura) and recently I hear talks of Fekir but that is just too good to be true.

      • Have you read about this or is it your own speculation?
        I really hope we wont give up Cutro. Or if we do it, it will be on a dry loan + cash for Belotti, we seriously can NOT let him go, it would be so dumb and a matter of time before he would end up at Juve in that case. Not sure how to feel about a swap between Mandzu and Bona. Bona on his day is a player of great quality, but recently has shown that maybe he doesnt quite have it on the absolute top level, but he would be a great back up player if he would accept it. Fekir would be very sweet.
        I really feel this mercato will be so bittersweet. With the eventual signing of Strinic, and then if we let go of Cutro, and perhaps Bona as well. Oh well, these are all speculations, we’ll see what happens.

  6. Ribbery n Robben will be free agent next summer, we can get them both( their salary will be little bit high), their experience n winning mentality will help us a lot, Keita n Suso will be good back up for Riberey n Robben……..if those two not interested to join Milan then go for young talents like Dolberg, Neres, Kluivert,Frosberg( they all r in a range of 15-20 million)…… Choose one from Belotti n Karim Benzema… …..Then next season will be bright…..Forza Milan

  7. A swap between a.silva for keita balde would be pretty sweet al tho silva is a good player i think he will be realy good for another team
    Bonna for manzukic ? I would do it
    Bonnaventura had a realy bad season and we need a class striker and manzukic is pretty good so i would tottaly do a swap deal with juve . So
    Bonna -manzukic
    A. Silva – kaita balde
    if we can get rid of that awfull kalinic
    And replace him with belotti would be totally awesome .
    And then get max meyer and wilshare and it would be mental .

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