New AC Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso wants his players to replicate the gritty spirit he showed during his previous 13-year spell at the San Siro.
The former combative midfielder, who won two Serie A titles and two Champions League trophies at AC Milan between 1999 and 2012, has taken over the reins from Vincenzo Montella.
And Gattuso has warned his stars he expects them to give 100 per cent while he is in charge of the sleeping Italian giants, who have won just six of their 14 league games.
‘I think this team can do a lot more,’ Gattuso said. ‘We need to become a team, we have to go onto the field as a group… we need a battlefield spirit but there is talent.
‘I think it’s pointless to keep talking about Gattuso as a player. The spirit and never-say-die attitude has stayed with me. I never want to lose even playing table football against my son, that’s always there.
‘But I studied to become a coach, they didn’t gift me my licence. You don’t prepare for matches just with heart and determination… you also need to work on the physical condition and technical and tactical preparation.’
Milan’s first match under Gattuso will be on Sunday at Benevento, who have yet to earn a point this season.
Gattuso’s new side are seventh in Serie A and 11 points behind fourth-place Roma, which occupies the last qualifying berth for the Champions League.
‘I have to think about Benevento as if it’s the World Cup final,’ Gattuso said.
Gattuso, who has never coached in the top division, previously coached at Sion, Palermo, OFI Crete and Pisa.
He resigned from OFI – twice – with the club in financial difficulty and unable to pay wages. He also struggled with poor working conditions at Pisa.
Milan is facing financial fair play enquiries from UEFA because of their £189m summer spending spree, while there have been questions about the financial stability of the Chinese-led consortium that purchased the club from Silvio Berlusconi for £605million in April.
‘I have heard it said that the club has problems but the wages for the players arrive punctually,’ Gattuso said.
‘I love my job, I do it with great passion. It gives me a lot of adrenaline. For me the dream continues. It’s a privilege to coach a team like this.’