Gattuso: 'I hope Higuain stays'

Gennaro Gattuso prepares Milan for the Coppa Italia with Sampdoria, but won’t rule out a Gonzalo Higuain exit. “I hope he remains as long as possible.”

It is a packed start to 2019 for the Rossoneri, who set off today by train for tomorrow’s Coppa Italia Round of 16 clash against Sampdoria at 17.00 GMT, then face Juventus in Jeddah for the Italian Supercup next Wednesday.

“We’re not going on vacation to Genoa, we are taking part in a competition that we really care about,” assured Gattuso on Sky Sport Italia and Milan TV.

“Last season, we reached the Final of the Coppa Italia and that was a huge disappointment. It’s true, we are facing a Sampdoria side in stunning shape, but we too will use the best team available to go through.”

Higuain is expected to start tomorrow, but it could be one of his final appearances in the Milan jersey, as even Gattuso isn’t disguising the Chelsea interest.

“If Gonzalo wasn’t training the way I like to see, then I would not have made the decision to use him in the squad against Sampdoria,” assured the Coach.

“There is gossip around him at this moment, but seeing the way he trains, the effort he puts in and the professionalism with which he treats me, you wouldn’t know.

“The rest is down to his brother, his agent and Leonardo. I hope Higuain remains as long as possible, but if that doesn’t happen, then we’ll see. As long as he is here and continues to behave with this level of professionalism, it won’t be a problem for me.”

Also included in the squad to face Sampdoria is January signing Lucas Paqueta.

“He’s smart, wide away, a player with very clear characteristics. He seems more European than Brazilian, as he combines quality with physical strength, sprays passes around and always wants the ball. We’ve made a huge signing.”

However, Suso will not be taking part, as he is still struggling with a groin inflammation, while Gattuso confirmed Mattia Caldara and Lucas Biglia “should be available in 25-30 days.”

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