21 February 2019

GATTUSO: "THERE ARE NO EASY GAMES"

The Coach ahead of AC Milan v Empoli: "We can’t afford to underestimate this match"

On the eve of AC Milan v Empoli on matchday 25 of the Serie A season, Coach Rino Gattuso held a press conference at Milanello. Speaking prior to the Rossoneri’s final training session and the matchday squad being named, his comments were streamed live on Facebook and Milan TV. This is what he had to say:

NEREO ROCCO
"Yesterday, I went to acknowledge his statue at Milanello with a small cup of coffee in my hands."

CALHANOGLU
"A lot has been said about Calhanoglu's celebration, but I’ve got a good relationship with all of my players, not just with him. There are lads who are training with great desire but aren't playing much, at least up to this point."

EMPOLI
"I'm concerned. Tactically, they've changed their formation, managing to combine technical qualities with very interesting defensive work. There aren't any easy games this season: the group's development needs to come from games like this. It'll be a very difficult game for us, and I hope nobody underestimates this fact. Our concentration levels need to be good, just like they were in the first few minutes against Cagliari."

INDIVIDUALS
"Paquetá is alternating a lot with Calhanoglu out wide. He's capable of playing in many areas of the pitch, both in midfield and further forward as a playmaker. Zapata? I think he’ll be back available in a week. Conti as a wide forward? He's capable of playing there, but I think it's better to leave him in his natural position. We have wide forwards at the club."

CHANGES
"It will be an intense period. We have three games in eight days coming up so it's inevitable that decisions have to be made around this. Today, we'll understand who will play and in what system. When you're getting results, it's hard to make changes but it's right to give players opportunities. We need to keep our enthusiasm up and keep working in this way, disappointments can always happen. You can't let up at all."

ON HIS DEVELOPMENT AS A COACH
"I don't want personal compliments. I have to thank the team which is doing big things. I chose to do this job because I like it and I think that I know how to do things, I don’t need to hear people saying well done. The directors? Leonardo, Maldini and Gazidis are an asset. I'm in constant contact with them, they've done well to help me improve. This is a Milan side that belongs to everyone, not just individuals. Credit goes to everyone, but you need to remember that this is a young team and it can still improve a lot."

MORACE
"I speak three times a week with Coach Morace and I think that we're very well-prepared. There are lots of women at the Club now who understand football."

EUROPA LEAGUE
"At times, it's better to have the week to prepare for games so I think that those who aren’t in the cups have an advantage. That said, I'd have preferred to continue playing, be it on Thursdays or at weekends."

THE DIFFERENCES WITH EUROPEAN FOOTBALL
"You need to do well to keep moving, be it by running or moving the ball around. Because of this, rest is also very important. As a player, I was someone who always ran around so I'd be struggling at the end of the season. Atletico? They're a proper team, one that doesn't concede much. They're difficult to face because of how they defend but also because of all their counterattacks. This is all certainly thanks to the work of Simeone."

THE FUTURE
"Will I remain on AC Milan's bench for as long as Ancelotti? It's impossible to plan these things. The desire that players have also needs to be understood. We're certainly in good hands with Leonardo and Maldini: they have shown that they're able to make moves in the transfer market with the acquisition of two important players in Piatek and Paquetá."

 

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