Ignazio Abate hails Gianluca Lapadula for having “the same grit as Gennaro Gattuso” and points out he saw Milan’s success coming.
“Things are going well and now the tough thing is staying in second place for as long as possible,” Abate told the Corriere dello Sport.
“Nobody would’ve bet a Euro on us at the start of the season, but I did say we only had two or three teams ahead of us. People called me crazy and said I was too optimistic.
“Vincenzo Montella believed in the squad from the start, isolating us from everything and forcing us to focus only on the pitch.
“Every big club that starts a winning era with a strong group of players will run into problems when it comes the time to renovate the squad. For two or three years, we just weren’t up to the task.
“Now the locker room is healthy and mainly Italian, so that is our secret. The squad got back to winning ways with humility, hard work and unity.
“M’Baye Niang realised certain attitudes have to be shelved. He learned his lesson and not everyone does that. Suso had already impressed at Genoa and is now finding space here too.”
There have been few real additions to the side, but one of them is Italian-Peruvian centre-forward Lapadula.
“Lapadula is a positive example for even the most experienced players, because he has this determination and desire to prove himself,” continued Abate.
“He has the same grit as Gattuso, working his socks off for the team. It was a really smart signing.”
Lapadula is expected to start against Roma on Monday evening and not just because Carlos Bacca is injured.
“Roma are the ‘anti-Juventus’ this season, because they are so technically gifted. Monday will be very complicated, but we are in a good period of form too.
“We want to get back into Europe and we’ll see where we are in spring.”