Published On: Tue, Nov 28th, 2017

Gattuso: Benevento matchup 'like a World Cup final' for AC Milan

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Gennaro Gattuso knows what a big job he's undertaken as AC Milan's new manager, but is solely focused on beating luckless Benevento in "a World Cup final" on Sunday.

Despite splurging a huge €230 million on new signings over the summer, Milan is positioned seventh in the league. Roma holds an 11-point cushion over the Rossoneri in the final Champions League place, and Napoli is 18 points better off than Milan in first.

That poor return after such significant outlay cost Vincenzo Montella his job Monday, and Gattuso, a popular yet combative midfielder for Milan over the bulk of his playing career, was immediately ushered in to replace him.

Related: Milan parts ways with Montella; Gattuso to take over

“It’s definitely an important day for me,” Gattuso said at Tuesday’s unveiling, according to ESPN FC’s Ben Gladwell. “It’s a great responsibility. There’s a lot of work to be done, but it is a pleasure to work with these lads.

“There’s everything one could need to work well here. My staff and I know that we have a huge responsibility, but I know that this team can do well, we just need to become a team and play as a team. We need a battling spirit, but there is enough quality.”


(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

Gattuso’s record at the helm of Pisa last season was unique. The team he led to promotion the previous term finished bottom of Serie B, albeit with the second-best defensive record in the second tier. Backline solidity has been questionable at various junctures this term for Milan – Leonardo Bonucci has endured a torrid time since his huge switch from Juventus – but goals haven’t exactly been free-flowing either.

There is plenty of work ahead.

Gattuso appears to have a fairly straight-forward initiation this weekend when Benevento, an outfit that has lost each of its 14 matches in the 2017-18 Serie A campaign, hosts the Rossoneri. Somewhat appropriately given his mentality when he took the pitch as a player, the retired Italian international won't be taking that match lightly.

“It’s like a World Cup final,” the 39-year-old continued. “Now’s not the time to look at the league table or the Champions League, we just need to think about Benevento.”

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