Gennaro Gattuso understands why his future at AC Milan is being debated in the press following an “embarrassing performance” against Real Betis on Thursday.
The Rossoneri followed an injury-time loss to cross-city rivals Inter on Sunday by lurching to a 2-1 home defeat to the Spanish club. They are second in Group F of the Europa League after picking up nervy wins over Luxembourgish minnows F91 Dudelange and Olympiacos prior to Betis’ visit – a better return than their woeful 12th-placed standing in Serie A.
“It’s only right that my position is under discussion,” Gattuso said, as reported by BBC Sport.
“It’s difficult for a coach to sleep after a performance like this, one of the worst.”
Some sections of the Italian media claimed Gattuso was called into a long meeting with Milan sporting director Leonardo following Thursday’s latest setback, during which he was informed he has two matches to arrest the club’s slump, according to Reuters’ Brian Homewood. Milan face the giants of the Liguria region – Genoa and Sampdoria – in their next pair of fixtures.
“I’m worried, disappointed, and angry, especially with myself,” Gattuso said. “I do not think about my situation, I’m thinking about how to solve this problem.
“I’m the first person responsible for this situation, I’m bound by the results. I train a great club and it is right for me to take responsibility.”
He continued: “It’s not a question of formations – the team has lost its identity. This performance baffles me. Probably my staff and I were not clear enough, otherwise we can not explain this performance. The defeat does not hurt as much as the performance.
“We did not play as AC Milan do. Right now what leaves me more worried is the fragility and the mentality. We must understand why the light suddenly turned off.”
Gattuso’s coaching record before succeeding Vincenzo Montella last November was modest, to say the least. He was sacked by both Swiss side Sion and Palermo, and resigned from OFI Crete when the Greek club was beset by financial difficulties. Following a unique record in charge of Pisa – he led them to promotion to Serie B, where they subsequently (and somehow) finished bottom of the league with the second-best defensive record – he returned to Milan to work in the youth setup.
He initially turned around the fortunes of a lavishly assembled squad last season – he simplified Milan’s tactics and brought humility to the club – but that propulsion has now spluttered into this campaign’s league record that sees them six points adrift of the Champions League places after eight outings.