Gennaro Gattuso insists returning to Milan as Coach of their Primavera youth team “isn’t a step back”.
Gattuso officially returned to Milan on Friday, having won two Scudetti and as Champions Leagues with the club as a tough-tackling midfielder between 1999 and 2012, but he does so after failed spells in charge of Sion, Palermo, OFI Crete and Pisa.
“I’m proud to be back at home,” he began at a Press conference.
“In 13 years, I had a lot of wonderful moments and I have to say that credit must exclusively go to Fassone and Mirabelli for me being here.
“Marco [Fassone] did a great man-to-man marking job on me! I truly thank everyone for giving me this chance.
“The fans’ joy of me returning to Milan? I feel responsibility for them every day. They’re part of my way of being.
“I’m very happy, but I’m a person that pushes everyone, just wants to do things and only cares about doing this job.
“It’s true that I will work with the younger lads, but my duty will be to make them grow and certainly the support of the fans makes me very happy.
“My lads mustn’t show superficiality. Playing football is a privilege, you must always have great professionalism.
“I don’t like people that mess around, only those that work seriously and concretely.
“Montella? I like him very much as a Coach. I only have to learn from him and it’ll be a source of pride to work with him.
“In recent years, I’ve done a great deal of work in defensive play and I have to improve from an attacking point of view.
“Young players? I’ve always worked with young players, like I did at Pisa.
“I saw that many of the players I coached have improved in my two years there, and this was one of the reasons I came here. I’m here only to think about the pitch.
“My main motivation for returning to Milan? I saw a great desire from Fassone and Mirabelli, they did well in convincing me to be a part of this project.
“I’m here to show that playing football is something sincere, and I know very well that my working here will be very difficult.
“I had several offers, but I decided to return to a new club [referring to Milan’s new owners] that really wanted me.
“This isn’t a step back, they know me and how I think. These two years will serve to complete [my coaching education].
“Some people have congratulated me and others have joked with me, but those who know me know that if I make a decision, I’ll go through with it to the end.
“When youth players go into the first team, everything changes. It’s another sport, so it takes time. We need to raise the bar.
“We need to create players and also make them better from a physical point of view.
“I hope Milan win the title and qualify for the Champions League, but I’m only thinking about the Primavera and I don’t think I’m ready to coach Milan’s first team yet.”