Gennaro Gattuso actually liked how his team looked until Mauro Icardi’s goal in the 92′ minute and said he is focusing on the next games of Milan.
Gattuso claimed in the pre-match press conference that he wants to see a Milan ‘without fear’ and ‘aware of their strength’. But in reality, the coach set up his team to play defensive football and was looking for a draw for the entire game.
The Rossoneri never really looked like they can threaten Samir Handanović and didn’t attack with numbers, playing a very cautious game, leaving Gonzalo Higuain completely isolated and frustrated at the top.
Milan came very close to getting an undeserved draw, but in the 92′ minute, Gianluigi Donnarumma’s brain shut down when Matías Vecino crossed the ball into the area. Gigio, who is the highest paid goalkeeper in Serie A and also the only one this season to concede in every game, mistimed his jump. Mauro Icardi headed it to the back of the net as he managed to lose Mateo Musacchio with a text-book feint, while Ignazio Abate (who was brought on to waste time) couldn’t cover him either.
Inter were the better side throughout the game, and were the only team trying to play football. Milan, who were uncharacteristically aggressive and conceded five yellow cards in the match, kept trying to play from the back but the Nerazzurri knew all about it and performed a very good high-pressure game. The Rossoneri defended well for 90 minutes but as always, ended up conceding.
“Inter certainly deserved more than us, but if this game had ended 0-0, there would’ve been a lot of positives,” Gattuso told Sky after the game. “We played a style of physical football that we don’t like to play, but we did it well enough. We could’ve passed it better and done better on the counter, but I’m happy with our game. Since the start of the season my team hasn’t really held out for 90 minutes, but this time we held out so well until the 92′ minute even with the many set plays.
“The only regrets are that in the last 15 minutes we had so many counter-attacks and didn’t make the most of them. We intercepted four or five passes and went clear on goal, but kept choosing the wrong final ball. That’s the biggest regret. Overall, it has to be said that Inter did more than us.
“The error on the goal? I don’t want to pick on individuals. There were errors from everyone in defense, as Abate went down too quickly to block the pass, Musacchio misread the cross too. We lost the game together, not because of Donnarumma. We lick our wounds and from Monday we’ll go on.
“We lost because we didn’t play with the right courage, we were distracted and conceded a naïve goal in the 92′ minute. The yellow cards? The team gave a lot, they gave everything, and I liked them a lot on this aspect. Inter are physically stronger, we have other qualities. We tried to challenge them physically anyway and I really liked the approach, playing a type of football we are not accustomed to. We had our chances too, but undoubtedly Inter had more opportunities.
“Cutrone’s position? Çalhanoğlu was starting to look tired and I didn’t want to change the tactical system, because other than set plays we had never really suffered until then. Patrick often played in that role. It’s pointless trying to cross into the box with their center-backs, so I preferred to use Cutrone in a wider role to bring some fresh legs and energy to the position.
“We could’ve moved the ball better and get out of their pressure better. There was no clean exit from my team. When there is too much pitch to cover, you worry about closing the passing lanes, so many times it’s difficult to arrive in the box at the right time.”
Speaking in the post-match press conference at Stadio San Siro, Gattuso said: “It was a step back at a technical level and instead a step forward in the consistency of the performance. Before the goal, we were playing against a team that is physically stronger than ours. We were lacking the courage to play and Inter earned the win. But at a mental level I liked the team a lot.
“Who to blame? I’m not going to say who was wrong or not… Donnarumma made a mistake in the goal conceded but Romagnoli and Musacchio could’ve done better. We are talking about a ‘keeper who until Saturday was well and recovering. This is a burning defeat but we have to put it aside and try to recover with serenity. Congrats to Spalletti who won a great derby, I hope to make up for it.
“It’s not an offense when I say that Inter are a physical side. Fear took over and afterwards it’s difficult to fill the box with Bonaventura and Kessié. Higuain? He got irritated because we were not good at making the most out of him, in the first half he could’ve had a couple of chances.
“Positive things? I saw a lot of them. Playing against Inter with this mentality is not easy, they can do a higher pressure, we have certain characteristics and we have to be careful. The biggest regret is the last 15 minutes. We were making the wrong choice at the last time, but it was the match we wanted.
“The standings [Milan are currently in 12th points with 12 points, seven points behind Inter]? In these nine Matchdays we’ve had highs and lows. We gave little to Inter, and at this moment we’re thinking about Real Betis, Sampdoria and Genoa. If we win both then the standings isn’t so bad.”
The 40-year-old also had an interview with MilanTV: “I saw what I was looking for against a very strong team physically until Icardi’s goal, we gave continuity to our performance during the game like never before this season. We were playing against a team stronger than us on a physical level.
“Technically we took a step backwards, but we took a step forward as per our mentality, viciousness and sacrifice, we could do something more with our movement of the ball, but they pressed us high up the field. If it ended 0-0 we would’ve been talking about something else.
“We could have been more courageous, we asked a lot from our wingers, we were not present enough in the box and Higuain was often isolated. We conceded few chances in the first half, on set pieces and free kicks due to our carelessness, in the second half we won back important balls and it felt like we were in better shape. This is the game that we had to do, closing the passing lanes.
“We held our ground, playing our game: we behaved well on set pieces, there were some good aspects, but this defeat hurts because of how it unfolded. We have to look ahead.”