Tuesday April 2 2019
Gattuso: 'Milan were sluggish'

Gennaro Gattuso maintains Milan are just going through a slump right now and were “sluggish” against Udinese, but injury updates are not reassuring.

Krzysztof Piatek’s opener was cancelled out by a Kevin Lasagna counter-attack from Milan’s corner in the 1-1 draw.

“It’s a difficult moment, all teams get these during a season. It’s easy to talk about tactics and we are trying everything, but it’s just not working right now and we mustn’t give up,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“We seemed physically sluggish today, especially after the goal. We must never give up. We keep playing with the handbrake on, like we’re afraid of something, and that takes energy away from you, both physical and mental.

“Everyone has ups and downs in a season, so now this is our moment of being down. We’ve got to stay calm, rediscover our confidence and try to avoid damaging ourselves. When you’re not physically sharp, it feels as if the ball weighs 120kg.”

This was not only a disappointing result, but also saw Gianluigi Donnarumma and Paqueta limp off with a thigh and ankle injury respectively.

“Franck Kessie interrupted training after just 10 minutes yesterday and he had a fitness test this morning, while in the afternoon medical tests showed an inflammation, so we didn’t want to risk him.

“Paqueta had a nasty ankle sprain that was clear even from the touchline. Suso had a knock to his foot both yesterday and this morning, so he didn’t train, but we hope to have him against Juve. We’ll evaluate Donnarumma tomorrow, too.”

Paqueta’s injury means the 4-3-1-2 tactical experiment was relatively short-lived.

“When I say it takes time to try things out… We tried this today because we had to win, but you can’t have the same fluidity of movement with a system that you’ve used for a day and a half compared to several years. Something went well every now and then.

“Towards the end, Samu Castillejo kept veering right, so I couldn’t continue with the idea of a trequartista and moved to 4-4-2. Paqueta has different characteristics when playing behind the strikers.”

The Udinese equaliser was a classic rapid counter-attack, scored 11 seconds after Milan took their corner.

“The problem on counter-attacks is that it’s an issue of pace, because today we were sluggish for the first time. We didn’t cover the pitch with the right tempo, the right running, so Udinese caught us out.”

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