Gattuso livid with Milan's shock exit

ATHENS • AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso slammed his players for "making fools of ourselves" after bowing out of the Europa League following their shock 3-1 loss at Olympiakos.

"We gifted the game," he said after Thursday's Group F defeat in Athens, where all the goals came in the second half.

Pape Abou Cisse opened the scoring for the Greek side, whose lead was doubled after an own goal by Cristian Zapata.

The defender made amends by pulling one back for Milan, but Konstantinos Fortounis' penalty sealed the victory for the home side.

Gattuso also bemoaned the brittle nature of the seven-time European champions, who simply went to pieces after missing several opportunities to score.

"We were too naive and allowed Olympiakos to get back into the game. We are very upset because we always make the same mistakes again and again," he said.

"We had the game in our hands but, if you create seven or eight chances in a stadium like this and then fall apart the moment things go wrong, you deserve to go out."

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    Years since seven-time European champions AC Milan were knocked out of European competition at a group stage (Champions League in 2001) before Thursday's Europa League exit.

The former Italy midfielder, however, refused to blame the hostile atmosphere at the Karaiskaki Stadium, or the refereeing decisions which went against his team.

"You can talk about the referee, about them throwing extra balls on to the pitch and the strange trumpet noise, but we should focus on what we can do to make Milan a better team," he added.

"We have to look at ourselves. They were better than us because they were energetic and determined. I apologise to all the Milan fans around the world for not having achieved our objective."

The last-32 draw will be held on Monday, with Arsenal, Benfica, Real Betis, Chelsea, Dinamo Zagreb, Dynamo Kiev, Eintracht Frankfurt, Genk, Inter Milan, Bayer Leverkusen, Napoli, RB Salzburg, Sevilla, Valencia, Villarreal and Zenit St Petersburg all seeded for the next round.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2018, with the headline 'Gattuso livid with Milan's shock exit'. Print Edition | Subscribe