Gennaro Gattuso was “very angry” with the first half performance and revealed some flu concerns, but Milan’s 3-0 win over Empoli “bodes well.”
The Rossoneri struggled in the first half, with a Lucas Paqueta goal ruled offside, but ran riot after the break with Krzysztof Piatek, Franck Kessie and Samu Castillejo.
They are now just one point behind city rivals Inter and the Nerazzurri will visit Fiorentina this weekend.
“Paqueta only trained once this week, as he had flu. Tiemoue Bakayoko wasn’t well either and wasn’t meant to play,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.
“I didn’t like the first half performance, as we were moving the ball around with no impact, we at most tickled Empoli rather than hurt them. I got very angry, as we were almost caught on the counter with both full-backs pushing up and that must not happen.
“We moved much better after the break and things improved considerably.
“We must get the crowd on our side and the only way to do that is by fighting for every ball. There are 13 rounds left, we must take it one game at a time and not look at the table.
“People ask about pressure, but the moment you pull on the Milan jersey or step into San Siro, that is pressure. It’s true, Milan haven’t been challenging for the top four at this stage of the season for a while, but we are here and want to go all the way.”
Bakayoko has won over the fans and was given a standing ovation tonight, a far cry from the jeers and insults in his early months at San Siro.
“Football is great because it’s not life. In life, you do something stupid, it can take years to make up for it. In football you play every three days and have the chance to turn things around straight away,” said Gattuso.
“Piatek has scored regularly and the credit also goes to his teammates, who put him in the right condition to score.”
The arrival of Piatek and Paqueta in January has pushed some others on to the bench, but Gattuso leaves the door open.
“Being grumpy at not playing is part of the job. If I see someone who is constantly on the bench smiling and laughing, then that’s no good either.
“What I am after is respect. Respect and consistency, as hard work during the week is the only way to earn your place. You need to ensure you are ready and impress when called upon.
“The important thing is to be honest and clear. We look each other in the eyes and speak clearly.”
Milan have seemingly found their form now with a 4-3-3 formation, as Paqueta and Piatek fit the team more effectively than Gonzalo Higuain did.
“I was not at all pleased with my team for a while. We didn’t fill the penalty area effectively, we moved the ball too slowly and didn’t have the right movements. I was the first to take the blame, it was primarily my fault.
“I can’t promise anything to anyone. All I can say is this is a very young team with some very interesting players. We have to create some momentum and this win is a great example, because it was not easy in the circumstances and to step up several gears after such a poor first half. It bodes well.”