Gennaro Gattuso pin-pointed the secret to Milan’s success against Atalanta. “They’re enjoying themselves and everyone is putting their quality to work for the team.”
The Rossoneri consolidated fourth place in this head-to-head with Atalanta, overturning a Remo Freuler opener to win 3-1 in Bergamo with a Krzysztof Piatek brace and Hakan Calhanoglu strike.
“I think the secret right now is seeing the work the forwards do, the wingers soaking up the pressure of the Atalanta wing-backs. The desire we have when pressing and pushing to win back possession. We need to continue along this path,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.
“This Milan is enjoying itself, the players are enthusiastic, happy to be together and to train. We mustn’t lose that. After that, there is a lot of quality in the side, but more importantly everyone is putting their quality to work for the team and that is crucial.”
Inevitably, the team has been revitalised with January arrivals Piatek and Lucas Paqueta.
“Piatek and Paqueta should be happy with what they are doing, but if they are doing so well, it is also thanks to their teammates and I think they realise that too. The whole team is working well and we must make sure we don’t let go of that mentality.”
Gian Piero Gasperini said the game changed when Piatek equalised with the last kick of the first half and Gattuso agreed.
“We were certainly lucky to equalise 20 seconds from half-time, because otherwise it would’ve been much more difficult to score past this Atalanta.
“Piatek is a player who lives for the goal, but is also excellent on his movements and that type of goal we’re accustomed to seeing over the last few months at Genoa.”
Milan are now unbeaten in seven Serie A away games, their best run since April 2013, and even Calhanoglu scored his first Serie A goal of the season after 60 failed attempts.
“It all revolves around the desire, the sacrifice, the way the team manages to stay focused and organised. It’s difficult to break us down at the moment.
“I think over the last two games, Calhanoglu has started giving us something extra and rediscovered his quality. It is a different team now.
“The hug with Calhanoglu is something I think of all the players I train. I respect all of them, we are very harmonious and it’s my duty to ensure every player is in a condition to give their best.
“I was very demanding of myself when I was a player and would basically punish myself. In the last seven or eight months, I’ve learned to listen more to those around me, the players and directors, to listen and learn.
“In the first few years, I still felt like a player, but I’ve shaken that off now. It’s true, I do try to seek what I experienced and felt as a player.
“However, I don’t agree that I trust players. Never trust a player! Trust has to be earned, so if they get the wrong pass once, twice, three times, then we can run into trouble…”