AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso hails 'complete' Hakan Calhanoglu

The 24-year-old Turkey international joined Milan from Bayer Leverkusen last summer for a reported 22 million euros but failed to flourish under previous coach Vincenzo Montella.

Published: 10th February 2018 12:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th February 2018 12:40 AM   |  A+A-

AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso | AP

By AFP

MILAN: AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso revealed his delight Friday at discovering how Turkish forward Hakan Calhanoglu has become "such a complete player" after a difficult start to life in Italy.

The 24-year-old Turkey international joined Milan from Bayer Leverkusen last summer for a reported 22 million euros but failed to flourish under previous coach Vincenzo Montella.

Gattuso took over last November and Calhanoglu has looked more at ease, scoring and assisting in their last five Serie A games.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's trip to promoted SPAL, Gattuso said: "The whole team has improved, in my opinion.

"But honestly, I didn't expect Hakan to step up the way he has. He is only 24 years old, I like him a lot and he has impressed me. I didn't expect him to be such a complete player.

"Hakan (Calhanoglu) and Jack (Bonaventura) are playing with continuity and they are doing well. It's a matter of synchronism between them.

"I always try to field the best team. I'm very pleased with my players, with their commitment and desire they show on the pitch.

"We need to keep up the momentum because when you win it's easier to prepare for the next match."

Gattuso believes that Milan -- who are in eighth position -- can even make a charge for the Champions League places as Inter Milan, Lazio and Roma have had a recent drop in form.

Milan -- ten points behind Inter Milan who are in the fourth and final Champions League spot -- are unbeaten in their last five games and are looking to close in on Sampdoria and Atalanta who are just ahead of them.

"The other teams are slowing down but we have to win our games," said Gattuso. "Sampdoria and Atalanta are above us and they have to be our target."

But he is expecting a tough task against SPAL who occupy the first relegation spot, and have won just three times this season.

"I know them well as I played SPAL in Serie C and in Serie B. They know what they have to do and have physical players pressing high up the pitch with three centre-backs and the two wingers, especially with (Manue) Lazzari. It's not going to be easy as we play in a stadium which has been modernised, with a very passionate atmosphere."

Croatia striker Nikola Kalinic will miss the game with an adductor inflammation.

"It's a pity, but we have (Patrick) Cutrone, André Silva and (Fabio) Borini, who too can play as centre-forward," added the coach.

Stay up to date on all the latest Football news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

Asian Games 2018