AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso is surprised at how quickly his team have improved since he replaced Vincenzo Montella.
Gattuso took over from Montella in November, with the side having won just two of their previous nine Serie A games despite a major recruitment drive in pre-season. Although Gattuso's influence was not immediate, Milan have lost just three of his 17 games in charge across all competitions and are unbeaten since December 23.
On top of that, they have only conceded one goal in their last six matches on all fronts and have climbed up to seventh in Serie A.
#Gattuso: "@ASRomaEN played a great first half against Shakhtar. The Ukrainians are among the best teams in Europe and #ASRoma managed to dominate them. We need to give a good performance tomorrow, otherwise, it will be very difficult for us"#RomaMilan— AC Milan (@acmilan) February 24, 2018
It has all come as something of a shock to Gattuso, who is pleasantly surprised.
"It is crucial we've a team ready to run for 90 minutes and wage war, because we can't afford any errors," Gattuso told reporters in his pre-match news conference ahead of Sunday's trip to Roma.
"At the moment, we are all feeling enthusiastic, understandably. We're facing Roma and Arsenal on an even playing field.
"The fact is, it's always an even playing field, as you can see from the amount of points have dropped against the smaller clubs.
"What I did not expect was how well this team has grown in terms of specific elements. When I say we play as a team, people think I just mean running around a lot and helping each other.
"But there is a lot more to it than that. Our defensive actions have really developed and that's happened quicker than I expected. It makes me very happy."