‘AC Milan need Higuain mentality’ – Franck Kessie

Gonzalo Higuain’s winning mentality can help AC Milan, says midfielder Franck Kessie.

After last week’s draw at Cagliari, the Rossoneri are looking to return to winning ways against Atalanta in Sunday’s Serie A clash.

And the Cote d’Ivoire international believes there is much inspiration in their ranks in the mould of the Juventus loanee.

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“He’s a great player who scores 20-25 goals every season,” Kessié told Sky per Football Italia.

“That’s what we need, he gives a lot to the team and it does so much knowing we can rely on giving him the ball. It’s normal for a team like Milan to have that kind of striker.

“His mentality is to win every time, and he can help the squad in that way too. We must always go onto the pitch with that mentality, like him.”

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Gattuso warns match-winner Higuain: Don’t become predictable

Gennaro Gattuso has advised Gonzalo Higuain to be less predictable with his movements despite scoring the winner in AC Milan’s unconvincing 1-0 win over Dudelange in the Europa League.

Milan were a major disappointment on Thursday and only scraped victory against the side from Luxembourg, who actually posed the visitors a few problems in the first half.

Gattuso’s men were also somewhat lucky to take all three points, as Higuain’s winner – a shot from the edge of the box – took a hefty deflection off a defender.

Although he proved decisive, Gattuso still felt it was necessary to give Higuain some advice about his positioning in the penalty area.

“We’re all happy when we win, not just Gonzalo,” Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia. “Today he did well.

“He could also have scored more goals, but it’s important for us to get and bring many men into the area.

“Lately he tends to peel away towards the penalty spot, but I would also like him to go to front and back posts.

“With Napoli he did that. He must change a bit, otherwise the other teams will notice him.”

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Despite the narrow win, Gattuso was pleased with some aspects of his side’s performance.

“I expected to bring the three points home,” he added. “it’s no coincidence that Dudelange are in the group stage of the Europa League: they did not get here by luck.

“I liked the attitude of the team. We could’ve killed it off earlier and it was more of a struggle than I’d have liked, but we got minutes in the legs of many players and we got the result.”

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Cagliari 1 AC Milan 1: Higuain’s first Rossoneri goal earns a point

Gonzalo Higuain’s first AC Milan goal salvaged a 1-1 draw at Cagliari but Gennaro Gattuso’s men are already falling off the Serie A pace.

Making his first appearance after serving a doping ban, Joao Pedro gave Cagliari an early lead when converting a rebound that Gianluigi Donnarumma perhaps should have saved.

Giacomo Bonaventura missed two great first-half chances to equalise but Higuain hit the target at Sardegna Arena on Sunday, in the process getting off the mark following his move from Juventus.

However, having thrown away a lead to lose at Napoli after their opener against Genoa was postponed, Milan languish in the bottom half after taking only four points from their first three games of the season.

Cagliari took the lead inside four minutes, Donnarumma tipping a drive from Leonardo Pavoletti on to the woodwork with the goalkeeper unable to keep out the rebound strike from Joao Pedro.

Milan were clinging on and the hosts soon hit the post again, Nicolo Barella’s superb swerving strike deserving better, then Bonaventura planted a free header wide at the other end.

Bonaventura produced an even worse miss in the 27th minute, arriving at the back post to meet Davide Calabria’s inswinging cross but sending his first-time effort flying over the crossbar.


Higuain was barely involved throughout the first half but levelled the scores 10 minutes after the break.

Franck Kessie charged down a defensive clearance and Higuain pounced on the loose ball, rounding goalkeeper Alessio Cragno easily before slotting a neat finish into the open goal from a tight angle.

Cragna did twice deny Suso and Higuain headed Diego Laxalt’s cross wide as Milan pressed for a late winner, but the Rossoneri could not find a way through.

What does it mean: Scudetto bid failing

Milan have a game in hand but they already sit eight points behind leaders Juventus, who are seeking an eighth straight Serie A title. Challenging the Bianconeri already looks beyond Milan and their targets for the season may need to be reassessed – Champions League qualification could be a more realistic goal.

Pat on the back: Higuain shows his worth

Higuain barely had a kick before the break and was isolated as Milan’s lone striker. But he showed his predatory instincts to haul Milan level, scoring what will surely be the first of many goals for his new club.

Boot up the backside: Bonaventura wasteful

During the first half, Bonaventura twice got into excellent positions to equalise for Milan. Yet he missed both chances, wasting the type of opportunities a poacher such as Higuain surely would have snaffled.

Key Opta stats:

– Milan have conceded at least one goal in their last nine Serie A games (W4 D3 L2).
– Joao Pedro scored with his third touch in Serie A this season.
– Cagliari scored their fastest Serie A goal since October 2016 (against Fiorentina).
– Gonzalo Higuain has scored seven goals in eight Serie A games against Cagliari.
– Cagliari hit the woodwork twice in a single Serie A game for the first time since January 2017 (against Genoa).

What’s next?

Milan travel to Luxembourg to take on Dudelange in their first Europa League group game on Thursday before hosting Atalanta in Serie A three days later. Cagliari are at Parma on Saturday.

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AC Milan 2 Roma 1: Cutrone late show thrills San Siro

Patrick Cutrone gave AC Milan lift-off in Serie A this season as the substitute snatched a 2-1 victory over Roma deep into stoppage time at San Siro on Friday.

Stand-out recruits Gonzalo Higuain and Steven N’Zonzi each had goals ruled out via VAR reviews for their respective sides after visiting defender Federico Fazio cancelled out Franck Kessie’s 40th-minute opener.

It was a frustrating night in front of goal for Higuain but the ex-Juventus man turned provider in the 95th minute, threading a fine pass for Cutrone to slot home.

Gennaro Gattuso led raucous celebrations as his team bounced back from last weekend’s chastening 3-2 loss at Napoli, while Eusebio Di Francesco’s Roma are now winless since the opening weekend.


Milan right-back Davide Calabria fizzed just over Robin Olsen’s crossbar before Roma’s Sweden international goalkeeper was called upon to thwart Higuain and Suso.

The breakthrough arrived when Ricardo Rodriguez proved too nimble for Fazio and Kessie caught the left-hand side of Roma’s defence napping – stealing in for a close-range finish.

Higuain sloppily lost possession for his opposite number in Roma’s attack, Edin Dzeko, to curl wide in the 49th minute.

The pressure was building on Milan and Fazio atoned for his part in the opener with a fine volleyed finish when the ball was worked back into the box after Gianluigi Donnarumma punched poorly from a corner.

The Rossoneri thought they had an instant response but replays showed Higuain was fractionally offside when he scampered in between Fazio and Kostas Manolas to finish coolly.

N’Zonzi was the next man to fall foul of technology, although the shaky set-piece defending on display from the hosts made Roma appear the most likely winners. Cutrone had other ideas.


What it means: Good news for Juventus already

Cristiano Ronaldo’s signing understandably stole the headlines but Juventus are confronted by an ambitious chasing pack this season. Among them, Roma have four points from nine and Milan are yet to truly convince, despite this last-gasp victory.

Pat on the back: Olsen looking the part

Alisson left sizeable gloves to fill at Roma. Olsen might lack the flashy footwork of his Brazilian predecessor but he is proving an instantly reassuring presence and chipped in with fine saves in either half.

Boot up the backside: Donnarumma ensures tale of two keepers

By contrast, Donnarumma was culpable for Roma’s equaliser. The youngster’s talent is beyond doubt but, as Gianluigi Buffon plays out the autumn of his career in Paris, it is time for him to eradicate such lapses from his game.

What’s next?

After a weekend of watching their rivals in action and the subsequent international break, Roma must bounce back at home to Chievo on the same day Milan travel to Cagliari.

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Sarri harbours Higuain ‘regret’ after striker snubbed Chelsea

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has “a little regret” after seeing Gonzalo Higuain snub the Blues in favour of making a move to AC Milan.

Despite having netted 55 goals over two seasons at Juventus, the Argentine saw the exit door opened in Turin over the summer.

The Bianconeri’s capture of Cristiano Ronaldo saw the South American deemed disposable, with various landing spots mooted.

Chelsea were among those to be credited with holding an interest, with Sarri having worked with Higuain in a previous post at Napoli.

He was, however, to be left empty-handed, with the Italian telling Sky Sport Italia: “Higuain? It’s a little regret but in the end everyone after the market has a few little regrets.”

The 30-year-old frontman admitted during his official unveiling at San Siro that he did not feel wanted enough at Chelsea to make a move to England.

He said: “I have huge respect for Sarri, but he was the only one who wanted me at Chelsea.

“Here at Milan everyone wanted me.

“The motivation and conviction they showed at Milan was fundamental.”

Jorginho

While the Blues missed out on one attacking target, Sarri was able to bolster his midfield and goalkeeping ranks during the Premier League transfer window.

Jorginho was brought with him from Napoli, Mateo Kovacic arrived on loan from Real Madrid and Kepa Arrizabalaga became the world’s most expensive shot-stopper.

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Sarri said of that business: “The club was willing and we took a great goalkeeper, very young but he can become a great goalkeeper.

“For the rest, Kovacic is a player who can be big, Jorginho has arrived, the backbone is already there.”

Kepa and Jorginho made their respective debuts for Chelsea in a Premier League opener with Huddersfield on Saturday, with the former keeping a clean sheet and the latter converting a penalty in a comfortable 3-0 win.

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