By 90Min
February 16, 2018

Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso was full of praise for his players after they avoided a potential banana skin in the Europa League on Thursday evening.

Patrick Cutrone, Ricardo Rodriguez and Fabio Borini scored in Bulgaria as Milan beat Ludogorets 3-0 to all but seal their place in the last 16 of the competition ahead of next week's second leg at San Siro.

And Gattuso was clearly very proud of his team's defensive display as they restricted their hosts to half chances in front of goal. He also insisted that the back four being all Italian was not by design, and that other members of the squad are equally important.

"The defence's solidity is the merit of the guys, in everything, from day one," said the Milan boss. "They give a big effort. It's a coincidence that all the defence is Italian, I need everyone. [Mateo] Musacchio and [Cristian] Zapata are important."

Milan are unbeaten in all competitions since the turn of the year, but Gattuso remains on a short-term contract at the club. He was coy when quizzed on his future.

"I live things in a calm way," Gattuso said. "It's a dream for me to coach this team at 40. I've got a lot to learn, let's see how will it end.

NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/GettyImages

"It's not important whether Gattuso stays or leaves, what's important is Milan. For me it's a great honour and dream and I hope it lasts as long as possible."

Giancomo Bonaventura, who was one of Milan's strongest performers against Ludogorets, reiterated his desire that Gattuso remain at the San Siro beyond the end of the season.

"We hope that Gattuso is not a caretaker, he has created something beautiful," said the Italian international. "He is a capable coach and can do well."

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