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Gattuso refusing to think about looming Inter clash

20:46 GMT+4 01/03/2019
Gennaro Gattuso - cropped
The Rossoneri's focus will not be allowed to drift ahead of the crucial derby in a fortnight, according to their manager

AC Milan head coach Gennaro Gattuso is refusing to think about the impending derby against Inter and insists his side's focus is squarely on their next two Serie A games.

Milan are two points behind their third-placed city rivals and one point ahead of Roma in fifth with the result of the derby on March 17 likely to prove pivotal in the race for a Champions League qualification spot.

Gattuso, however, has his sights set firmly on extending the Rossoneri's winning streak in the league to four games against Sassuolo at the San Siro on Saturday.

"Before the Inter match, there are two vital games to play against Sassuolo and Chievo," he told a media conference.

"We must focus on these matches, then we'll think about the derby.

"We now have only finals left to play, and we'll prepare for them all in the best possible fashion.

"Sassuolo have good players and they play Roberto De Zerbi's style of football. We must show them respect. The main thing is to maintain consistency both in defence and in our general play."

Spanish forward Suso has now failed to score since January 21 after another frustrating outing in Tuesday's Coppa Italia semi-final first leg against Lazio.

Gattuso, though, has backed the 25-year-old to rediscover the form that saw him linked with Real Madrid earlier in the season.

"He's going through a bit of a tricky spell," he added. "However, Suso isn't a problem for me. He was out for a month and maybe this has impacted him physically.

"He needs to remain calm because he has the qualities to do well and give us great support."

Inter, meanwhile, are still dealing with the situation involving striker Mauro Icardi, who continues to be left out of the club's match-day squads despite being their top scorer across all competitions, notching 15 strikes in 28 appearances, and the striker could mis the derby as a result.

The Argentine has not been selected for four successive matches, missing both legs of their Europa League knockout tie against Rapid Vienna and back-to-back Serie A games against Sampdoria and Fiorentina since a bust-up with the club following comments made by his wife and agent Wanda Nara saw him stripped of the captaincy.