Gennaro Gattuso is only thinking about winning against Lazio and sending the fans home happy tomorrow, and says he would love to see Suso play like he did at the start of the season.
The Rossoneri haven’t won a match since beating Chievo over a month ago, but they’re still fourth in the Serie A table.
Tomorrow (20:30 CET kickoff) at San Siro, Milan play Lazio for a match that is crucial for their dreams of playing Champions League football next season and the boys of Gennaro Gattuso are preparing.
“The incentive of sending the San Siro fans home happy [over 60k fans are expected]? Getting the fans back on side tomorrow is a must,” Rino said in today’s pre-match press conference. “I read that this year at San Siro there have been more than 2 million fans, it’s an incredible number. We have to bring joy to our fans tomorrow and we have to be good at motivating them, it is a responsibility for us, and we can only do it with a good performance and with the right mentality.
“Lazio? They are a very similar to Juventus on a physical level, they’re well-organized and can always fill the box with different players when attacking. Tomorrow it will not be enough just to play well – we have to be determined, play energetically and with the will to win, a great competitive spirit will be needed with lots of strength and desire. We will have to play football in the best possible way.
“We’ve always struggled physically against them. If a draw would be enough or we want a win? We have to play to win and we know it will be a tough battle, they have always puts us under pressure. A draw or a loss is not bring contemplated, we should prepare for the game convinced of taking home the three points.
“Tomorrow’s game a test to leave the crisis behind? Yes, it’s an important. It is necessary to give continuity to what was shown against Juventus, it’ll be fundamental for the standings and for the three points. We have to play a vigorous match, putting everything on the pitch, responding blow by blow and playing technically well. We will have to be ready to fight. Lazio make you lose a lot of energy and therefore we must be ready to fight. The importance of the match must make us be lucid to have a great performance.
“Which of Gattuso’s Milan would I like to see again? I’d like to see a performance like the one against Juventus, obviously while making fewer mistakes. A team that believes in everything it does. I only want to see the same mentality with a compact and composed team.
“We trained well this week and I saw a team in good spirit. Refereeing situations mustn’t be an excuse. They’ve been discussed enough as it is. When a player makes a mistake, he doesn’t go anywhere and the same goes for the referee. You have to think about the pitch. It would be too easy to use them as excuses… There were mistakes in the two goals we conceded against Juve. If you just focus on the refereeing decisions, only excuses come out.
“Nicola Rizzoli has sent Gianluca Rocchi to be the ref for tomorrow? Perfect, he’s a guarantee, he’s been an international referee for many years. Only in Italy we’re making such discussions… We mustn’t be afraid of bad faith. They are professionals, we must respect them. Rocchi is a great referee and he’s a guarantee.
“Who is the most formidable rival for a Champions League spot in terms of the level of the game, considering Walter Sabatini has said that it would be an advantage for Calcio to have Roma in the UCL? It’s the first time that I hear these words. However, I watched Sampdoria-Roma and it seemed like a very open game to me, it was decided on a single incident. As a team, I would say Atalanta to be honest, they combine tactics, technique and physicality. Atalanta are a team that have been doing incredible things for years, they don’t seem to tire and they are going unique things. I really like them a lot and they’re in a good form.
“Who would I like to see as the protagonist of the last sprint? Only the team. I would love to see Suso play like he did during the first half of the season, he performed well against Juventus. He can contribute greatly to the outcome of the game tomorrow and this is my hope.
“If there will be changes in defense considering the mistakes? We’ll see tomorrow [it’s possible that Zapata will start over Musacchio]. If Borini has earned a confirmation? Let’s see tomorrow if he plays from the start. The midfield? I saw it doing well. We could’ve done better in the possession phase but against Juve I saw a nice midfield. I hope they’ll play a great game tomorrow. It’s the heart of the team and we must play at the maximum especially there.
“If Conti will be called-up? We’ll try him today. Yesterday he was very good, while in the other past few days he trained a bit with the group and a bit aside because his thigh wasn’t feeling good yet. We hope that he’s well because he is a player who can give us so much. The recoveries of Donnarumma and Paquetá? I believe Gigio will return to training duties from next week. Paquetá is improving a lot, today or tomorrow he’ll run on sand and we’ll evaluate next week how to proceed with his recovery.
“Our corners and dead balls? I’m not a magician. I know how much we work during the week on these situations. I cannot guarantee anything. I agree with those who say that we don’t take them well again. If Çalhanoğlu and Suso don’t raise the ball over the first man when taking the corners then it’s an individual problem… I can’t do anything, maybe I have to put myself next to them with a whip, I don’t know [laughs].
“Allegri has said that nowadays the goalkeeper has more touches on the ball than the midfielders? If you want to start from the bottom then the goalkeeper must necessarily touch many balls with his feet. He doesn’t slow down the game, he often makes very useful players and is an added player. Gigio is one of the best goalkeepers in the world for how he plays with the ball at his feet with his piercing balls out, he needs to improve with his long balls.
“If I’ve felt the need for a more mature player in recent months considering Romagnoli said it’s a strong and young team? When things are not going well then it’s easy to say that we are missing this or that. We are a young group, only games can make us grow. Compared to a year ago, things are better at the level of mentality.
“The coaching job? I feel the responsibility like all coaches but perhaps I feel it more because I played here for many years. I have always felt at ease when things weren’t going well, because I’m not afraid and I know how to give my best. When I see too many smiles or joy, I don’t like it. So I’m living this moment well, even though I know I have my responsibilities.
“It has been said that even if we qualify for the Champions League I could leave at the end of the season? It’s absurd. I have a two-year contract and you’ve all heard to the words of Maldini, whom I thank; I really enjoyed his words yesterday. My goal is to the return to the CL, the rest is chatter.
“Francesco Totti [Gattuso has been linked with the Roma job]? I haven’t heard from him in 4-5 months, I’ve called him for his birthday and since I’m a member of another club I can’t talk to other clubs. Don’t believe certain things, it’d be foolish and disrespectful to a club that has given me so much to hold certain discussions.
“The situation with UEFA? My responsibility is only the field. In the club there are great men working hard and diligently and I’m calm, it’s not my problem, they are people who are very prepared.”