AC Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso has given off an air of caution ahead of his side's trip to Ludogorets in the Europa League on Thursday; admitting that the Bulgarian outfit has more European experience than his inherited Milan side.
The Europa League could well be Milan's saving grace this season. After a summer of heavy investment, the Serie A outfit find themselves slumped into 7th in the league table, and have little hope of reaching the heights that were expected of them this term. However, a run in the European competition could definitely lift spirits around San Siro towards the end of the season.
📋 | Our #LUDACM squad list for tomorrow's @europaleague Round of 32 tie 📋 | Ecco i 2⃣0⃣ convocati da Mister Gattuso per l'andata dei Sedicesimi di #UEL A. Donnarumma, G. Donnarumma, Guarnone 🙌🏻 Abate, Bonucci, Calabria, Musacchio, Rodriguez, Romagnoli, Zapata 🛡 Biglia, Bonaventura, Calhanoglu, Kessie, Mauri, Montolivo 🏃🏻 Borini, Cutrone, André Silva, Suso ⚽ #weareacmilan
The first knockout round of the competition brings the Italian side to Ludogorets, who many would expect to crumble against the might of Milan. However, Gattuso appears to be wary of the threat of his opponents:
“There is respect for Ludogorets, because in the last six years they’ve been in European competition more than Milan,” said Gattuso in his press conference.
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“When I studied them, I saw some very precise characteristics and players who, if given room, can be devastating. We won’t underestimate them, because I think they can cause us problems.
“In the past, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Lazio have all really struggled here. Ludogorets have this precision that can make any opponent struggle.
“However, I am not accustomed to thinking negatively. If we lose, we won’t fall into a depression. Negative moments happen in football, we’ve been through them and hope not to be back there again.
“Ludogorets have more international experience than the current Milan players, but that mustn’t make us feel uncertain. In fact, it should help us stay on guard. You can’t buy experience at the supermarket.