AC Milan striker Gonzalo Higuain says he has learned his lesson after an on-field meltdown against parent club Juventus earned a two-match ban.
Higuain is available for Thursday’s Europa League tie at home to Dudelange, who have already been knocked out of the competition, as his ban does not cover European games.
The striker, who saw an appeal against the ban rejected, has hit two goals in three Europa League appearances so far this season and is hoping to justify the faith of head coach Gennaro Gattuso.
“I can’t wait to play. I want to help the team,” Higuain told a news conference. “I was pleased with how the team fared in Rome [drawing 1-1 with Lazio].
“Milan-Dudelange is a very important game for us. I’ve learnt from my mistake against Juve and it won’t happen again.
“I have a great relationship with coach Gattuso. We have similar characters. We have an important month ahead of us before the winter break.
“The goals are to go through to the next round in the Europa League and stay up there in the league to qualify for the Champions League.”
@G_Higuain: “We’ve been unlucky this season so far. This is a competitive team and we probably deserved more points but it cannot be an excuse. I was impressed with all the dedication my teammates put into training. Each and every player here wants to improve”#MilanDudelange
— AC Milan (@acmilan) November 28, 2018
Milan have been linked with a January move for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, which could push Higuain down the club’s pecking order, but he denied asking to leave and said he instead plans to pass on his experience to young team-mate Patrick Cutrone.
“The coach said I never asked to leave the club and this says it all about my intentions,” he added. “I only have AC Milan in my mind and I don’t consider myself the star of this team. I always give my all for this club.
“There’s still some time before the transfer market window opens. The club thinks about who to sign, I’m only focused on Dudelange. Ibrahimovic is a great player but we have Cutrone who has a great future ahead of him. I want to teach him everything I know.”
Milan’s injury crisis shows no signs of easing with the club confirming on Tuesday that Giacomo Bonaventura is out for the season, but Gattuso will not use missing players as an excuse.
“I spoke with him yesterday,” Gattuso said of Bonaventura’s injury. “He’s staying in the United States for a month before coming back. He’d had this issue with his knee for a while but he bit the bullet and we have to thank him for this. It was a very serious surgery.
“Mateo Musacchio will remove the brace tomorrow and hopefully he can resume a light run. I hope to have [captain Alessio] Romagnoli back in two weeks. As for [Mattia] Caldara, it’s still early. He should be back by February.
“We’ll make a few changes tomorrow. I’ll field two strikers for sure and also [Stefan] Simic might start in a four-man defence. Otherwise, we’ll play three at the back.
“If we don’t win tomorrow we are in trouble. We have to win at all costs, we have everything to lose.”