Gennaro Gattuso claims Milan have to improve when they don’t have the ball and says that while the Rossoneri are not a ‘great team’ yet, a hard fist doesn’t need to be used against the squad.
Milan only won one Serie A match from their opening four this season and are the only side in Serie A to have not yet keep a clean sheet. But the Rossoneri will look to change that tomorrow (Thursday) when they face Aurelio Andreazzoli’s Empoli at Stadio Carlo Castellani (21:00 CEST).
The Diavolo will be without the unavailable Caldara and Higuain, but are still expected to get the win. In today’s press conference, coach Gattuso underlined the importance for the victory.
“Empoli? We must win, I’m not looking for the perfect match but I want to take home the three points,” Gattuso told the journalists. “It won’t be easy, they are good at moving the ball around and they strikers make the right movement. We need the three points like we need bread.
“What has changed in the last 9 months considering Milan lost 2-0 to Atalanta in December 2017 and then drew them 2-2 in September 2018? It had been four years since Milan last scored against Atalanta at San Siro and this time we wanted the victory.
“I think we played the game we had to do but then we turned off the light. The problem that should make us reflect is that in 25 minutes we conceded 6-7 shots on goal and we seemed unable to oppose their play. We play good football, but when we give too much space we have to track back and we struggle a lot. We don’t like open games, our defenders come in tired and we’re always chasing on pitches we don’t like.
“We end up playing with the features we don’t like, and when we don’t feel at ease you see our flaws. Too many times it looks like we don’t like running but we also need to learn how to do the things we don’t like. The voices coming out of the dressing room? Before I leave here I want to know who spies and gives you the information!
“In these moments we must put aside the anger and find tranquility. Talk as little as possible. We’ve dropped a lot of points on the road but the performances are not all to throw away. Shouting and pounding the table and have sad faces is useless. We have to keep believing in our strength. When the club says that the goal is to improve the fifth and sixth place finishes, I agree and in this day I must transmit great tranquility and correct the things that don’t give us consistency.
“If we analyze the games we could’ve either won or lost them all… the team is nice to watch but we must be less nice and more concrete. The goals conceded and working on the mentality? There was a period in my Milan with Carlo Ancelotti when we conceded a lot of goals from set-pieces. Then there was another moment when we scored the 1-0 and then played as a team, closed in behind and only played the counter attack. Ancelotti asked us of this. What we’re lacking right now is conviction.
“We’re lacking the sensation that we can be in control of a game and then get this crazy sensation that we’re not going to bring the result home. Last season when we went ahead we won, this year we’ve conceded a lot of goals. My teams have always conceded very few goals and we need to improve in that regard. When we take the lead it seems like we don’t want the ball anymore, there’s a lot of concern. When all these issues arise at once, that’s when we have problems.
“The drops in the tension? I was a player and it happened to me as well to take incredible blows like against Deportivo de La Coruña and in Istanbul. We have to think in a single way and when we have the ball we know what to do. It’s not about the possession phase but about winning the ball. We’re not very orderly in the first pressure, when we don’t have the ball we have to start playing differently.
“If it’s a sin of youth? We are not the only young team… we have to improve, we must not look for alibis. At the moment we cannot wait, we must understand what to do in order to not concede goals and not to give in chances. Right now I don’t feel comfortable even at a 2-0 advantage because at the first chance [of the opposition] something can happen.
“If a hard fist will be used? I can’t say anything [wrong] about the squad. Above all, when the squad trains with great commitment and professionalism, respects the rules and is well together then there’s no need. Çalhanoğlu wrote yesterday that we are a family and this makes you understand what the environment is like in the dressing room.
“I don’t like to make a scene, otherwise you lose credibility. If someone behaves badly, like what happened with Kalinić last season, then I’ll intervene, but for now the guys have been following me and I don’t see why I should use strong manners. A bit of anger is perhaps missing but it’s difficult to explain why, you need to understand if they have it in their characteristics. You must be careful with having anger because sometimes you risk staying in 10 men and only doing damage.
“The psychological aspect? I haven’t talked about fear, it’s not right to talk about fear in a group like this. I haven’t studied to be a psychologist, I have to analyze mistakes and work. I know some players very well and I have to try to make them do something more, we must be in search of this. If Hakan is wrong on 2-3 balls then nothing goes well for him, I have to make him understand that it’s important not be get down because he was wrong on two balls. We have to work on this.
“We are not a great team, we are a team that plays well but still has many flaws to correct, and we have little time. When Leonardo says we need to change our mentality he’s not wrong, maybe that has to mean to play less well but always go looking for the win, even one we don’t deserve.
“We need better organization. What we are doing is not enough, but we mustn’t let ourselves down. Mistakes can happen but we have to continue working being always 100 percent focused. To become a great team that’s what we need, we can become a team that can cause many others problems. We don’t have much time, and we need to put in something more on a personal level.
“How do I judge this moment? Right now there is no need for slaps or to bang heads, we just have to understand the two phases of the game, we need to continue to do what we do when we have possession. When we don’t have it, we need to change our attitude. Last season at times we were playing on the counter, while this year it’s more build-up play. The problem is when we are off the ball as we stop thinking as a team. We need to be more compact during this phase of play.
“If I feel that we lack a leader? No, because at the moment Romagnoli is ahead for his age, the armband has given him a lot of responsibility. He is strong. Biglia is taciturn, but he knows when he was to talk. Higuain has leadership, Reina seems to have been here for a lot of years.
“Bonaventura has always been involved since arriving to Milan? Jack, if he was not called Bonaventura but instead had a Brazilian surname, would have had more value. He has football in his soul, he’s got a good technique. He would prefer playing more up the field but he’s a mezz’ala with specific characteristics, a player that attacks the space. If he’s physically well then he can also give you something in quantity. He knows how to position himself and manage the ball, and it’s no coincidence that he manages to find the back of the net with consistency.
“Cutrone? It was the first day we had him back in the fold today. He tried changes of direction in training and all went well: we are pleased to have him back, he’s important for us. Caldara? He has an inflammation in his groin but today he was back running. He doesn’t have an injury.
“Suso? I’ve always liked him and how he interprets the games; he hasn’t been scoring much but I would be really pleased if he keeps making two assists in every game. I think he’ll end his goal drought soon. He’s doing well and has to keep up the good work.”