AC Milan have denied rumours new coach Gennaro Gattuso has offered to resign but confirmed their players have been sent to a training camp “until further notice.”
Milan — who have also cancelled their annual Christmas dinner — lost 3-0 at Hellas Verona at the weekend and are currently 14 points adrift of the top four and qualification for Champions League football next season.
The change of coach from Vincenzo Montella to Gattuso has failed to yield an improvement, with the former Milan midfielder picking up just four points from his three league games in charge, including a draw with Benevento, who have lost all their other 16 games this season.
The Serie A club have therefore decided to cancel their annual festive dinner plans, which had been scheduled for Christmas Day, and the players will be checking in to their Milanello training centre for the foreseeable future.
“AC Milan announce that the team will go on a training retreat from tomorrow until further notice,” the club wrote on Twitter on Monday.
A club spokesperson also told the ANSA news agency that it was “absolutely false” that Gattuso had offered to resign from his job just weeks after being promoted from his position in charge of the youth team.
The spokesperson added that it was untrue that Gattuso was opposed to the training camp, saying the decision was “shared” by the coach and the club management.
On Saturday, Milan will face Atalanta with both sides on 24 points after 17 games of the season, three adrift of stuttering Sampdoria who, in sixth, occupy the final qualifying berth for the Europa League.
On Dec. 27, they face Inter Milan in the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia — a competition that could provide them with a route into the Europa League next season.
The Rossoneri will face Ludogorets in the Europa League round of 32 in February, with their general manager Marco Fassone recently saying that they may need to focus on following the example of Manchester United and aim to win that competition to return to the Champions League next term.
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.