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Serie A

AC Milan: Shevchenko backs Gattuso to turn it around

Gattuso the right man for Milan, says Shevchenko

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Gennaro Gattuso is a good fit for AC Milan and deserves the club's backing to continue as head coach, according to Andriy Shevchenko.

Ex-AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko is convinced the under-pressure Gennaro Gattuso possesses the right qualities to lead the club forward.

Gattuso's position has been a source of speculation for much of his first full season in charge and he narrowly avoided a fresh wave of scrutiny thanks to a come-from-behind 2-1 defeat of SPAL last month.

The Rossoneri had failed to win any of their previous five matches in all competitions and remain a point adrift of Serie A's top four.

Though coaches of the calibre of Arséne Wenger and Antonio Conte have been linked to Gattuso's post, Shevchenko - a Champions League winner with Milan - is staunchly in his former team-mate's corner.

"It is important to keep supporting Rino, because he's giving the team an identity and a sense of belonging," Shevchenko told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"He's the right man for this Milan. I'm happy that the club is keeping faith in him.

"I like this attitude of the club. There are people who have clear ideas, who are not shaken in times of difficulty. [Sporting director] Leonardo and Paolo Maldini are working calmly and competently. With Leo, Paolo and Rino, we're in good hands."

Milan's victory over SPAL came courtesy of Gonzalo Higuaín's second-half goal, the striker's sixth of a difficult Serie A campaign and first since October.

Shevchenko, now in charge of the Ukraine national team, believes Higuaín will come good as the heightened expectation around his off-season arrival from Juventus wears off.

"There is so much pressure on him and he has been unlucky," the former Chelsea and Dynamo Kyiv star said.

"Since the beginning of the season, Higuaín has been treated as the star signing with all eyes on him.

"He's a great player and is playing with his future, because if Milan qualifies for the Champions League he can stay at the club and prove that he cares about it. 

"He just needs to stay calm during difficult times, like everyone else in Milan. There are tough times in football, but they always pass."

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