Gennaro Gattuso tried to move the focus away from “deadly marksman” Krzysztof Piatek to the whole Milan squad after their Coppa Italia victory over Napoli.
The Poland international made the ideal full debut with a brace in the 2-0 Coppa Italia quarter-final win at San Siro.
“I congratulate the lads, because we put in a great performance against an excellent Napoli side. We defended well, then the quality of Lucas Paquetá and the pace of Samu Castillejo created the conditions to win it,” the Coach told Rai Sport.
“Piatek literally invented the second goal out of nothing. He is a deadly marksman in the final third. We’re happy to have him with us, but must congratulate the whole team, because we were able to suffer and defend as a unit. After that, Piatek made the difference.
“Napoli are a side who keep a lot of possession and force you back, because their full-backs turn into attacking wingers. You need to be smart about closing the passing channels and that is what we did.
“We were playing great football at the start of the season, but also had a very leaky defence. Now we are more solid. Paquetá brings quality, Castillejo pace. The whole team has improved.
“We must continue seeking solidity first and foremost, then we’ll find our way to goal.”
Piatek stole the headlines, but Tiemoue Bakayoko is increasingly becoming a hero to the Milan fans.
“I think he’s an atypical deep-lying midfielder in modern football. He can turn the moves from defensive to attacking, he takes men on and always gets past them,” continued Gattuso.
“He has learned so much about transitions, as at the start he got it wrong most of the time, but today he can do diagonal runs and close off the passing channels. He is a very important player for us.”
Considering Piatek’s form, will Milanisti see him alongside Patrick Cutrone?
“We tried to play with two strikers this season and with two lines of four, I just don’t like it. At this moment, I prefer to have a more balanced team.”
They face Roma on Sunday in a Serie A showdown for fourth place.
“We had the match ball to break away in fourth and we got it wrong. We had a lot of injuries and had the wrong approach in crucial moments, so that’s something we need to work on, to play with humility.”
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