Shevchenko unsurprised by success of 'lion' Gattuso

By Jamie Smith 7 March 2019 5
Shevchenko unsurprised by success of 'lion' Gattuso

Andriy Shevchenko has hailed former team-mate Gennaro Gattuso as the AC Milan coach closes in on Champions League qualification. 

Shevchenko and Gattuso played in Milan's Champions League triumph in 2003, the Ukraine striker scoring the winning penalty after a 0-0 draw in an all-Italian final against Juventus. 

Although Milan won another Champions League title in 2007 by beating Liverpool 2-1, they have been in the relative European wilderness in recent years. 

Under Gattuso, however, Milan's future looks bright once more and Shevchenko sang the praises of his former colleague. 

"'Rino' was always energetic," he told DAZN. "He was always there for us, he electrified the dressing room like no other. 

"On the pitch, but also off the pitch, he was a lion, someone who gave his heart and soul for the club, his team-mates." 

 

Gattuso is not the only member of Milan's 2003 vintage who thrived under Carlo Ancelotti to have forged a successful coaching career.

Clarence Seedorf and Filippo Inzaghi both returned to the Italian club for spells in charge, the latter replacing his old team-mate at the helm in 2014.

"I've asked this very thing to Ancelotti," Shevchenko added. 

"Because if you look at our AC Milan, back in the day, a lot of my team-mates are coaching right now. 

"This shows how that team was full of very intelligent players."

A run of four straight Serie A wins has moved Milan above city rivals Inter and into third place in the table as the race for a top-four finish continues.

Milan have not managed to secure Champions League qualification since finishing third at the end of the 2012-13 Serie A season, but Shevchenko is backing Gattuso to complete the job.

"This is the main goal of the club, of the entire squad," Shevchenko said. 

"Rino is making great strides as a coach, he’s re-making the squad in his own image.

"The most important thing right now is that they are getting things done."

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