Gennaro Gattuso refused to listen to “alibis, as referees make mistakes just like players. Milan lost qualification at San Siro” against Arsenal.
The Rossoneri were beaten 2-0 at home in the first leg, but had re-opened the tie with a Hakan Calhanoglu strike at the Emirates when Danny Welbeck dived for a shocking penalty.
From there, Arsenal grew in confidence and eventually won 3-1 on the night.
“I am proud of my lads, the qualification was lost at San Siro. What makes me angry is when we give up after going 2-1 down and concede the third. We have to keep going,” Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia.
“I don’t want to talk about the referee, because they can make mistakes just like players do. I am proud of my lads and we have to continue on this path.
“I think the team is raising the bar in Italy, these two games against a very strong Arsenal side showed we could cause them problems. I don’t look for alibis.
“As I said, I’m most angry about the third goal, because we shouldn’t let our heads drop and leave the field after going behind. We have to stay in it to the 90th minute.
“Now we have to take it one game at a time. I don’t want to hear any alibis right now, as we got it wrong at San Siro two weeks ago.
“This is a side that is young, can do a lot more and reach the levels where Arsenal are at right now. They have more experience and attacking nous.”
There was also a howler from Gianluigi Donnarumma to allow in a seemingly harmless snapshot.
“Donnarumma has to lift his head and move on. The greatest goalkeepers in the world make mistakes, so does Donnarumma, it’s not an issue. We just have to protect him and look forward. I have great confidence and respect in Gigio.”
Gattuso moved to a 4-4-2 system this evening with Suso and Calhanoglu as wingers, Patrick Cutrone and Andre Silva upfront.
“We had two lines of four and two strikers. The development in attack was very similar to 4-3-3, it was only when we lost possession that we effectively changed to 4-4-2.
“Franck Kessie was meant to push forward more, but I liked the character of the team and the way we attacked.
“Nikola Kalinic has more experience than Cutrone and Andre Silva, naturally. He moves very well, but at the moment is struggling with fitness issues and we know if he is in shape, he can give us a huge hand.
“Having two strikers is an option, so is one, the important thing is to play and work calmly.”