Tacchinardi credits 'exceptional' Gattuso for Bonucci resurgence

AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso has done an "exceptional" job since taking over in November and should be considered responsible for Leonardo Bonucci's return to form, according to former Juventus and Italy midfielder Alessio Tacchinardi.

A poor start to the season following heavy spending resulted in Vincenzo Montella's dismissal, with Gattuso getting promoted from Milan's youth side to replace him.

Milan have lost just two Serie A games since Gattuso took over and they head into Saturday's clash at Juventus having won five in a row in the league.

Bonucci – who joined from Juve in pre-season – has also enjoyed a resurgence after looking a shadow his former self in the first half of the campaign, and Tacchinardi thinks that improvement is down to Gattuso.

Tacchinardi told Omnisport: "I am happy he [Bonucci] is back to his level. Honestly, if I was asked to build an ideal Serie A squad, I would go for Bonucci in the three defenders and [Lucas] Biglia in front of him.

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"It was appalling to see them play so badly at the beginning of the season. Gattuso has been great to give them back their own energy.

"For Bonucci this game will be important. People see only millionaires in footballers, but they are humans and have pros and cons, strengths and fears like anyone else.

"It won't be easy for him. You have so many ingredients already, but with the Bonucci affair, more spice will be added to the game.

"I played it [the fixture] for 11 years; it is absolutely never banal, for the history of these two clubs, the tradition and the will to be better than the other historically.

"To be honest, always with huge and mutual respect. They wrote the history of our football, but now they are both living a key moment.

"Juventus are always on top and need to consolidate that, while Milan, since Gattuso arrived, are doing something exceptional and he deserves it, proving he's a great manager."

Milan sit sixth in the table, 25 points behind leaders Juventus, who won the reverse fixture 2-0 at San Siro in October.

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