AC Milan's mounting injury list cannot be used as an excuse for a poor performance in Thursday's crucial Europa League clash with Real Betis, Gennaro Gattuso has claimed.
Gattuso's side are missing a glut of first-team players, with Lucas Biglia, Mattia Caldara, Davide Calabria and Giacomo Bonaventura having been joined on the sidelines by leading scorer Gonzalo Higuain.
However, the head coach has insisted Milan, who sit second in Group F with six points from their opening three games, have enough quality to come good away to a Betis side who top the standings but are struggling for consistency domestically.
"The fact we have a few injured players can't be an excuse," Gattuso, whose side have won their last three matches to rise up to fourth in Serie A, told a news conference.
"We need to play a brave game. We are playing with less quality but we are showing more character. We have to express our football.
"Caldara and Biglia are out. We hope to have Calabria back on Sunday [against Juventus], the same goes for Higuain. I don't think Bonaventura will make it.
"Thursday's game is very important for us, there's a lot at stake. We must not repeat the San Siro performance [a 2-1 loss to Betis]."
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Milan's last defeat came in their home meeting with Betis, as goals from Antonio Sanabria and Giovani Lo Celso boosted Quique Setien's side.
Patrick Cutrone scored a late consolation in that encounter, and Gattuso lauded the youngster's progress.
"He has grown a lot in the last few months," added the coach. "Cutrone has improved a lot and working with such players as Higuain and Suso can be of great help to him."
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