The pressure is undoubtedly starting to build on AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso, as his side were held to a 1-1 draw at Empoli on Thursday night.
It was a third consecutive draw for the Rossoneri in Serie A, and yet again they were incapable of holding onto a lead as they dropped further points and now risk being left behind by their rivals early on in the race for a top-four finish.
From wastefulness in front of goal to a huge mistake from Alessio Romagnoli for the equaliser, there were individual errors involved in the latest setback but Gattuso will undoubtedly take the brunt of the criticism from fans given his side seemed to switch off in the second half again.
He spoke about his captain’s mistake as well as the team’s struggles after the game, and unless he can spark them into life to secure a win over in-form Sassuolo on Sunday, he could be coming under intense pressure to keep his job if he can’t prove himself to be the man capable of getting Milan out of this rut.
“I don’t have to say anything to Romagnoli,” he is quoted as saying by Calciomercato. “The goalkeeper made four or five miracle saves. We have to make as few mistakes as possible, we have to look ahead.
“There was another mistake and we are paying for them dearly. There’s regret over not closing the games and this is becoming a problem, we’re talking about another unlucky game.”
Meanwhile, Milan were without Gonzalo Higuain and Mattia Caldara in Tuscany, with the absence of the former in particular a blow given his recent form of scoring three goals in three games, while Fabio Borini struggled to fill the void.
It might not be the news that Milan fans are desperate to hear though, as Gattuso wasn’t overly confident in his assessment of whether or not Higuain would be available on Sunday.
“We hope he’ll [Higuain] be back for Sunday. There’s a bit of swelling and we’ll see what the doctors say tomorrow.
“Caldara is injured, he will have his chance, he is a very smart guy with important skills, we hope to recover him as soon as possible.”
It remains to be seen how much time Gattuso is given to turn things around and start to win games, but the pressure will certainly be building on his shoulders now.