Gattuso: ‘Play with heart, intelligence and desire’

Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso has called on the team to play with ‘clear heads’ as we look to secure three points in the Derby della Madonnina against Inter on Sunday night.

Pride will naturally be on the line when we face our city rivals, but arguably more important than that is the battle for a top-four finish in Serie A this season.

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A win would move us four points clear of Inter and fourth spot, and so it’s vital that Gattuso ensures the players produce a much-improved performance to the one seen last time these two sides met in October.

With that in mind, he has called on his players to show specific characteristics on the pitch on Sunday, which in turn could prove vital to securing the desired result.

“Every Derby has its own story,” he told the media, as noted by the club’s site. “We must forget about the first game because it was another match. Over the last few days, I’ve heard people say that we’re favourites and that Inter are dead. Favourites don’t exist in derbies. We must respect our opponent, playing with heart, intelligence and desire.

“We respect Inter because they have top players who can cause us problems. We must do well to cope with their pressing, unlike in the first game. We’ll need courage and I want to see a different attitude. I want clear heads and the team to show what we know they can do.

“There are some matches that you need to gear yourself up for, you need to talk and shout. However, this isn’t the case for the Derby, the atmosphere is already there. Little shouting and fewwords: there’s already enough tension.”

Meanwhile, Gattuso also commented on the absence of Mauro Icardi as the Argentine is out due to injury, although he was stripped of the captaincy last month and hasn’t featured since.

Amid talk of problems over his contract renewal, Gattuso wasn’t particularly keen to get too involved in the situation but merely reminded players that they must respect the dressing room.

“It’s difficult to respond to this question,” he added. “In my idea of football and talking about my players, I become the nastiest man in the world should someone show a lack of respect. Football teams are also built in the dressing room and respect is key. The dressing room is a sacred place.”

Meanwhile, Luciano Spalletti also suggested in his press conference that Radja Nainggolan won’t feature on Sunday either, perhaps giving us an even stronger chance of getting the right result.