December 17, 2018 / 5:09 PM / 6 months ago

Soccer-Former team mates Gattuso, Inzaghi battle for coaching survival

MILAN, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Gennaro Gattuso and Filippo Inzaghi, team mates for more than a decade in a highly successful AC Milan team, meet on the touchline on Tuesday in a battle for coaching survival

The pair, who won two Champions League and two Serie A titles together as players, are both under pressure after some poor results for their teams in Serie A and the stakes will be high when Inzaghi’s Bologna host Gattuso’s Milan.

Inzaghi’s job is in more imminent danger after a winless run of eight matches which has left his side in the relegation zone in 18th place with just 11 points from 15 games.

But even with Milan lying fourth, Gattuso is also in an uncomfortable position after his side, winners of only one of their last four league games, were knocked out of the Europa League in the group stage last Thursday with a 3-1 defeat at Olympiakos Piraeus.

“It’s all part of football, if you don’t get the results, you risk being sent home,” Gattuso told reporters on Monday in typically blunt style.

“The joys and adventures we lived through together cannot be forgotten. There’s a lot at stake for both of us but the respect, affection and friendship remain.”

Inzaghi had a season in charge of Milan before coaching Venezia for two seasons and joining Bologna in the summer. Gattuso was appointed 13 months ago after Vincenzo Montella was fired.

Gattuso said he expected more from striker Gonzalo Higuain, who has managed a modest five goals this season since joining on loan from Juventus — a poor return by the Argentine’s usually prolific standards.

“I spoke to Higuain and he is as disappointed as anyone about the situation, but, right now, he has to transmit experience and character,” said Gattuso.

“In difficult times, leadership is worth more than goals and he has to carry his team mates even when they make mistakes.

“I’ve told him that everyone appreciates him but he has to do more.” (Writing by Brian Homewood Editing by Ian Chadband)

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