Gennaro Gattuso complained Milan “do not play like a team” and wants a very different attitude against Atalanta. “We risk another embarrassment.”
It kicks off on Sunday at 17.00 GMT, click here for a match preview.
The team spent the last few days in a training retreat away from friends and family, used as both a bonding exercise and punishment for their embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Verona.
“We worked hard and had a few more hours on the training field. The problem with this team is not how it works, but we need some poison, more grit and bile,” said the Coach in his Press conference.
“There is experience from some of the older players, who with an extra word can fix positioning issues. At the first sign of difficulty, this squad disappears from the game. You can see it from the footage, they just lose their way.
“I was not satisfied against Verona, because every time we allow the opposition to come forward, we look ready to concede at any moment. As soon as we get stretched out, all our weaknesses are on show.
“We have to train the mentality, because physical fitness is not enough. I get the feeling my team doesn’t understand the danger in some situations. On the second Verona goal, the full-backs were all pushing up, but that was my fault. It’s something we need to improve, otherwise we risk another embarrassment.
“A training retreat was the least we could do after a point against Benevento and the 3-0 defeat to Verona. Some false things were written, as none of the players rebelled. If someone had, you would’ve been the first to know.
“It was also reported that I offered my resignation, but I never even thought about that. I was meeting with the club at the HQ to discuss the training retreat. This is a huge opportunity and I knew when I accepted there would be difficulties. I knew there would be hard work and 400m fans to make happy.
“We went in to the training retreat because we had to give a signal to the players and the fans. We were embarrassed. I see the lads give their all in training, but it’s not enough, because in a match situation we seem to only do the bare minimum. We are fragile and seem to put ourselves in bad situations.
“We hope the fans don’t protest during the game. If we suck, then they can jeer us at the final whistle. I cannot understand how we keep getting caught with both full-backs running forward simultaneously. It’s no coincidence we get caught on the break, as we’re dummies for falling for it.”
It’s a very tricky tie against Atalanta in the Lombardy Derby, especially as the Orobici are level on 24 points with Milan and challenging for Europe.
“We must try to avoid losing possession as we play out of defence, otherwise we’ll be in trouble,” continued Gattuso.
“I expect the same mentality I saw in the opening 20 minutes against Verona. It’ll be a very physical game, while Atalanta have quality as well as being very physical.
“Both of us are in the Europa League, so have the same schedule, but watching the intensity of Atalanta is very different to our level of intensity.”
Some changes are forced upon Gattuso, as Suso and Alessio Romagnoli are suspended, while Hakan Calhanoglu returns.
“There are Coaches who send scouts up trees to view the training sessions, so I’m certainly not going to tell you who is replacing Suso.
“I will say that every now and then we don’t seem to play as a team. That is lacking. I must treat my players differently depending on their personalities and characteristics. Some need a pat on the back, others require a slap.”
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