Gattuso - ‘Milan captain is Leonardo Bonucci and will remain Bonucci’

On another note, Gennaro Gattuso said that he asked for togetherness and discipline from the squad and the players responded in the affirmative.

Leonardo Bonucci has endured a poor start to life at the San Siro   -  Getty Images

AC Milan's under-fire captain Leonardo Bonucci received the backing of new coach Gennaro Gattuso, who was unveiled as Vincenzo Montella's replacement, on Tuesday.

Bonucci arrived at the San Siro during the summer in a surprise 40-million-euro transfer after helping Juventus win six consecutive Serie A titles. The 30-year-old immediately stepped into the role of captain as the Chinese-owned club pushes for a Champions League return. But Bonucci has had a poor season so far and Milan sits outside the European places in seventh.

"The Milan captain is Leonardo Bonucci and will remain Bonucci," Gattuso said at his first press conference as the new manager of Rossoneri.

Despite Milan's stuttering form, Gattuso believes the Italy defender can build the team spirit to turn around their fortunes.

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"I spoke with a delegation from the team yesterday and I saw guys with great desire to work and make themselves available," said the former Milan defensive midfielder. "I asked them for a great sense of togetherness and discipline, and they gave me their full availability.

"On the pitch I would always look out for a teammate, would have thrown myself in the fire for them. The players have to help each other."

AC Milan was one of the biggest spenders last summer, when it brought in Mateo Musacchio, Andre Silva and Nikola Kalinic, but has little to show for the 230-million-euro ploughed in by the new Chinese owner Li Yonghong.

"I've clear ideas," said Gattuso. "Montella and I have different methods. I like the team to move forward quickly."

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He said he was looking forward to getting the best out of the players.

"Suso. They say he can only play in one role (wing), I want to see if that is true. I also want to see why (Franck) Kessie isn't creating space like last year. Andre Silva, he's a player with huge quality. Sometimes he does good things but he does them alone and not with his teammates.

"(Patrick) Cutrone, like Silva, like Kalinic, he's like a tarantula -- he never gives up and has great passion. We need more people with that mentality."

Gattuso's first match in charge will be against tailenders Benevento on Sunday.