Gennaro Gattuso believes Milan could’ve played better football against Barcelona, even though they picked up their first International Champions Cup win.
Milan ended their USA Tour last night as they faced Barcelona at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, and they return to Italy with a small smile on their faces as they beat La Blaugrana 1-0 with a last-second goal.
The result however, doesn’t really tell the story of the match as it was a poor performance from the Rossoneri, who despite playing many starters were dominated by Barcelona’s reserves and Barca B players.
“We struggled but we knew it could have been like this,” coach Gattuso said in the post-match press conference. “We can be pleased with the win but surely it’s a step back in terms of quality compared to the matches against Spurs and Manchester United.
“I said that I wanted to see something interesting at a tactical level and at times I saw it. We were lucky not to concede but at the same time, we did well to stay in the game and we could’ve scored goals. We could have played a better quality game but since they were moving the ball around quickly and we had to try to intercept their passes we didn’t have the energy to play on the counterattack. It was a step back in terms of quality.
“The defensive performance? I’m very satisfied, but it’s for the 26 days we’ve done, the work and the kind of games we played. Barcelona were packed with kids? These kids, if I’m not mistaken, are worth €200m and they know how to play football. It was a difficult game but we prepared for it.
“We wanted to create a lot of passing lines. We were organized but when we had the ball we could’ve developed differently. The attitude of the team? Fouls are useless, but the competitive wickedness matters. You have to get to the ball first. If I’m not mistaken, Çalhanoğlu and Kessié, in the second half, lost 4-5 balls in a trivial way. I like the spirit, it must burn when you lose. I said the other days that against Tottenham we lost but I didn’t see that spirit, but today we saw it.
“André Silva [who scored the winner for Milan]? He’s an important player. He had great difficulties last year, but he’s young and still has ample room for improvement. I cannot say that he has to work [harder] because he’s working too hard, more than he has to do. With continuity he can improve and unlock the situation. He’s a very interesting player, he does what he does very well.”
The Rossoneri will return to Italy tomorrow and the players who took part in the USA Tour will be given two days off, with training resuming at Milanello on August 8. Serie A starts on August 19.