Gennaro Gattuso says he believes he shares qualities with Antonio Conte as he expressed his delight at having been handed the chance to lead AC Milan.
Milan have given Gattuso control of first-team matters until the end of the season and the club legend hopes he can convince his bosses that he fits the mould of the former Italy coach.
“I see a bit of myself in Conte,” Gattuso told Mediaset. “Even if, obviously, I’ve still got a long way to go before I reach those levels.”
Gattuso shares Conte’s clear passion on the touchline — an issue that reignited the ongoing row between the Chelsea boss and Jose Mourinho — but says it is something he needs to rein in.
“I would like to be a little less fiery, less irritable and calmer,” he told ANSA. “It may seem like I’m enjoying myself, but it’s a struggle. My wife says I’m crazy and they should lock me up.
“Life as a footballer was much better and I enjoyed it more. I’ve been doing this new job for five years now and I feel more pressure, more responsibility, particularly when you are on the bench at the San Siro and things are not going well.
“But to be Milan coach at the age of 40 fills me with pride. Now, I really like doing this job — it makes me feel alive, and I want to get better at it. I’m at a great club and six months ago, I would never have imagined having an opportunity like this.”
Milan sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli suggested Gattuso was making a positive impression at the San Siro.
“Gattuso has great qualities,” he told RAI Radio. “He’s got an extraordinary capability of getting into the players’ minds and forming a group.
“In my opinion, Gattuso will become a really great coach. On our table, for the future, all that exists is the coach we’ve already got, and that is Gennaro Gattuso.”
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.