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Gattuso takes heart from Kaká

Published: Wednesday 2 May 2007, 2.15CET
Gennaro Gattuso is backing team-mate Kaká to continue his "devastating" form and fire AC Milan into the Athens final at Manchester United FC's expense.
by Paolo Menicucci & Richard Aikman
from Milan

Tournament statistics

MilanMan. United

Goals scored20
Attempts on target82
Attempts off target83
Fouls committed181
Yellow cards19
Red cards1
Published: Wednesday 2 May 2007, 2.15CET

Gattuso takes heart from Kaká

Gennaro Gattuso is backing team-mate Kaká to continue his "devastating" form and fire AC Milan into the Athens final at Manchester United FC's expense.

Despite seeing his side succumb to a 3-2 defeat by Manchester United FC in their UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg, Gennaro Gattuso is convinced AC Milan will reach the final thanks to the "devastating" form of Kaká.

Kaká class
The Brazil forward inspired Milan's short-lived revival at Old Trafford with two goals in 15 minutes that gave the visitors a 2-1 half-time lead - and Gattuso has every faith that Kaká will continue his UEFA Champions League heroics on Wednesday night. "If he is as devastating as he was in the first leg, we will win," said the Italian international, whose excellent display last week was curtailed when he limped off after 53 minutes with a foot injury.

'Important player'
Gattuso has recovered in time for the rematch, though, and is raring to go. "I feel fine," the 29-year-old said. "I thought it was going to be a lot worse but instead I have managed to recover so I am delighted." Milan's rival manager at San Siro, Sir Alex Ferguson, is another Kaká fan - though he also has a word of praise for Gattuso himself. "The obvious threat was there for everyone to see last week in the shape of Kaká," Sir Alex told "Kaká is the obvious threat. I thought he gave a terrific performance and we have to pay attention to that. We know where their threat's come from. They also have important players like Gattuso. He brings a lot of energy to them, he's a very important player."

'Incredible hand'
The combative former Rangers FC midfielder is demanding similar commitment from the stands at the Giuseppe Meazza, calling for British-style support for the Rossoneri. "I noticed with Liverpool [FC] and Manchester United that the English never give up and it's thanks to their fans," he said. "It's not a criticism of ours, of course, they always get behind us and sing. However, this time they need to give us an incredible hand. We know it will be tough but that's normal in the Champions League semi-finals. All Rossoneri fans should be proud because it's a miracle we've reached this stage. No one expected it. Considering the way we started the season and what happened, it has been a great result to get here. But we don't want to stop now." Gattuso, for one, will not be stopping. "I know only one way of preparing for this kind of game: I think about running and running until I cannot run any more."

Last updated: 02/05/07 22.15CET