Gattuso: “Me versus Wenger? It’s not a contest”

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso has insisted he cannot compare to Arsene Wenger as the two prepare to face off on Thursday night.

Arsenal face the trip to San Siro to face the Rossoneri in the first leg of their Round of 16 clash, with the Gunners in poor form and Wenger under pressure.

However, Gattuso has insisted that people show respect to the Frenchman.

“It’s not a challenge with him, because in that regard it’s not a contest,” Gattuso said ahead of Milan-Arsenal on Thursday.

“He’s won so much in his career, he’s been managing the same club for 21-22 years. My path is still very long.

“It will be an interesting match, with more of a new philosophy like mine against him and his experience. He likes to play a style based heavily on possession.

“I’ll greet him and I’ll put myself in my corner, but there’s no comparison that can be made.

“I’ve been through games like this as a player, everything is different now. Compared to Wenger I’m in the children’s team, I’m just starting and he’s been coaching for 30 years.

“We’re preparing, Arsenal are a technical team that doesn’t like defensive transitions. We’ll have to do well not to suffer from what they do, and then make them run when we have the ball.

“We can’t be afraid of the 70,000 crowd [at San Siro], we need to play with great technical and physical quality. If we do that we can cause them a lot of problems.

“We need to experience it with great joy and prepare for it well. There are players who dream of playing games like this and never get to, so we can’t have the attitude that if we make a mistake it’s a tragedy.

“You’ll have a teammate who can sort it out for you. That’s the secret.”

Gattuso admitted that when he goes to sleep, he dreams of players like Mesut Ozil, who is set to start.

“The worry is how to stop Arsenal scoring. When I go to bed I dream of [Mesut] Ozil and Wenger, not about my playing days.

“That’s in the past, this is something different and you can’t compare it.

“I have to transfer the feeling that I and my staff had prepared them in a perfect way. When I played with [Carlo] Ancelotti that’s the feeling I always got.”

The former Milan number eight also commented on the tragic loss of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori.

“We lost a great man, with incredible humility. I was at Milan when he was in the youth teams. Whenever I saw him in the gym he’d always ask me if he could use it.

“The third time that happened I told him that this was his home and he didn’t need to ask my permission.

“The last time I saw him was on December 30 in Florence, before the match he told me that he was proud and happy for me and my new adventure with Milan.

“He needs to be the example for young people to follow, he was always respectful and had a fantastic attitude.

“We’ve lost a great man and we won’t forget him.

“The team was very shaken on Sunday and the sadness remained, there was none of the usual music in the dressing room.

“In training though nothing has changed. Arsenal are struggling but they have great champions and they’ve scored 18 goals in the Europa League. We have huge respect for them, and we need to put in a great performance.

“Milan haven’t played a European match in front of 70,000 people much in recent years, aside from [Leonardo] Bonucci and [Lucas] Biglia our team doesn’t have much experience in Europe because they’re very young.

“In Europe the matches are much more open, in Italy it’s a lot more tactical, we have to pay attention to their qualities.

“We have our own, but we need quantity and quality and in that respect I’m sure we won’t go wrong.”

Tags AC Milan Gennaro Gattuso Italy Milan News Rossoneri Serie A
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