As former teammates for both club and country, Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso know each other well, with the playmaker admitting that he has been somewhat surprised by the AC Milan coach’s approach.
The duo played in midfield together for the Rossoneri for a decade and were also alongside each other when helping Italy to lift the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
While Pirlo has been happy to see Gattuso turn things around at the San Siro, there have been aspects of his coaching style which are somewhat at odds with his playing personality.
“I was expecting the defensive organisation from him of course and knowing how to fiercely be focused on his team,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I didn’t expect this desire to build and prepare for games.
“That has made the team beautiful to watch, which I didn’t anticipate. But Rino studied things closely and has gone beyond the label everyone had for him as a player as a very determined guy.
“It is worth remembering that coaches don’t always perform like they played.”
Pirlo is also a two-time Champions League winner in his career and another of his former clubs are determined to end their wait for success in that tournament, with the ex-Juventus man claiming that the Atletico turnaround could be the game which swings it in their favour now.
“When you are a strong team and prepare for games right down to the smallest detail, then these things can happen. Juve weren’t the team we saw in Madrid, they just had to convince themselves,” he continued.
“There is almost always a breakthrough game for you on the way to winning a trophy. The right year will be made up of episodes that make you understand that it is going to happen.
“In the case of Juve, the last round was perfect. They eliminated the team who had the final taking place at their own stadium and Real were also eliminated.”