MILAN – AC Milan’s new coach Gennaro Gattuso promised that he would offer more than just the aggression, anger and grit, which marked his playing career.
The famously combative former midfielder was appointed on Monday – the first time he has coached a Serie A club – after Vincenzo Montella was sacked following an indifferent start to the season.
“There’s no point in talking about Gattuso the player. We can’t just talk about grit and heart,” the 39-year-old told reporters on Tuesday as he was officially presented as Milan’s sixth new coach in less than four years.
“The aggression and anger are still there, but I’ve been through coaching courses. I’ve studied and travelled. My coaching licence wasn’t just handed to me as a present.
“I know not everyone likes me, but I know what I can give my teams,” he added.
Gattuso’s coaching career has taken him to Swiss club Sion, where he was sacked after three months, and Palermo in Italy’s Serie B, where he lasted six games, followed by six months at Greek club OFI Crete.
He then returned to Italy and spent two years at Pisa, who were promoted from the third- to second-tier in his first season and relegated back in his second amid financial problems.
Milan are seventh in Serie A, a disappointing start for the Chinese-owned club, which spent more than €200 million in the last transfer window.
“I’m convinced that we have an excellent team, with so many international players and a lot of youngsters. This is a difficult moment, but I’m sure they will do well,” said Gattuso, adding that his players needed to suffer when they lost.
“Milan’s shirt is a heavy one. There’s a big difference between victory and defeat. If they lose, they should be burning inside and Milanello (the training headquarters) should feel like a funeral.”
He also warned fans not to expect goal feasts at San Siro.
“My past tells you that my teams concede few goals, but don’t score very many either,” he said.
He did not want to set targets for the season, saying that he was only focused on Sunday’s game away to bottom team Benevento, who have lost their first 14 games of the season.
“We must treat it like a World Cup final,” he said.