Saturday February 24 2018
Gattuso: 'Keep Milan enthusiasm going'

Gennaro Gattuso warns Milan that “every game is on an even playing field, whether Roma or Arsenal. We’ve got to raise the bar and keep the enthusiasm going.”

It kicks off on Sunday at 19.45 GMT, click here for a match preview.

The Rossoneri are in the crunch period of the campaign, as they are in joint sixth place with Sampdoria, will face Lazio in the Coppa Italia semi-final and Arsenal in the Europa League Round of 16.

After this match, the side will remain in Rome to prepare for the Coppa Italia with Lazio on Wednesday.

“Luca Antonelli is the only one who is out for some slight fitness issues, but everyone will travel to Rome anyway so we can all be together. He can have treatment there,” said the Coach in his Press conference.

“The team is in very good shape. Today, I only want to talk about Roma. Everything that follows is not important right now.

“Roma’s results might suggest they are not in great shape, but in the first half they pinned Shakhtar Donetsk back and played wonderful football. The Ukrainians are one of the teams with the most quality in Europe, so that’s no mean feat.

“Roma have quality down the flanks, in midfield, they can take men on and we know they can cause us problems. We have to play a certain type of game and we’ll take the right approach looking to win.

“We are facing very strong players and therefore must raise the bar. We got past Sampdoria, but the level is stepping up and we’ve got to realise what level we are at now.”

There are reports Patrick Cutrone will start in attack rather than Nikola Kalinic.

“I have already decided who starts. I’m not saying who.”

“We’ve lit the enthusiasm of the fans, but it was in the first two months too with 50,000 fans and suddenly they vanished. Now we’ve got to keep it going. Milan need their fans right now.

“Europe was always this club’s home and we mustn’t be afraid of going forward. I know there are very difficult games ahead of us, but right now I am taking it one match at a time and am convinced this team can achieve something important.

“It’s crucial that we have a side ready to run for 90 minutes and wage battle, because we cannot afford any mistakes. Naturally, right now everyone is feeling enthusiastic and says we are facing Roma and Arsenal on an even playing field. The fact is, it’s always an even playing field, because we dropped a lot of points this season against the smaller clubs.

“What I didn’t expect was how well this team grew in terms of concepts. When I say we play as a team, people think I just mean running hard and helping each other, but there’s more than that. Our defensive movements have really developed and it happened quicker than I expected. It makes me very happy.”

Gattuso will meet up with Roma director Francesco Totti.

“We always have a laugh. He is the one who writes the most on the chat group of the 2006 World Cup winners.”

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