Giacomo Bonaventura the hero as Gennaro Gattuso bags first Milan win
It took some time, but Gennaro Gattuso finally got his first win as AC Milan coach with the Rossoneri's 2-1 victory over Bologna on Sunday night. A brace from Giacomo Bonaventura sealed the win and, while Milan's play wasn't convincing, it was a huge relief for their fans to get the three points.
Switching to a 4-3-3, Milan dominated early and had a direction about their play. While they still need to be sharper and more consistent, there were certainly positive signs and this win should help build confidence.
Aside from conceding a sloppy goal, there was still an air of panic and uncertainty at times that needs to be eradicated from their game. As mentioned above, the build-up play was much better, but they still need better quality on the ball to be effective.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Gattuso finally changed the formation; a move that supporters have been desperate to see. That decision alone gives him a high score. Milan also looked like they had a game plan, while his management and changes in the second half were spot on.
Player ratings out of 10 (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Gianluigi Donnarumma, 6 -- Little he could have done about Simone Verdi's fine strike, but produced one key save in the second half to prove his class. Relatively untroubled throughout, but stepped up when called upon.
DF Ignazio Abate, 5 -- He was caught just watching the ball in the build up to Bologna's goal as Mattia Destro shouldn't have been given so much room. While he put in his usual veteran shift working hard up and down the right flank, Abate was otherwise ordinary for the most part.
DF Mateo Musacchio, 5 -- Could have had better support during the conceded goal, but Musacchio did let Destro get past him far too easily and was often uneasy on the ball. He looked vulnerable in being caught out and was not great.
DF Leonardo Bonucci, 6 -- It was a decent performance from the captain, as he was defensively sound and looked comfortable in a back four. Was wayward with his passing at times, but a steady performance in the heart of the defence.
DF Ricardo Rodriguez, 6 -- Solid, if not extravagant, play from the Swiss international, as he carried out his defensive duties with minimal fuss and pushed forward whenever he was given an opportunity. Would like to see him do more with the ball in those situations though.
MF Franck Kessie, 6 -- A driving force in the midfield as he continued to make those brilliant bursting runs forward. He still needs to find the right pass when he gets into dangerous positions, but he's putting his mark on games again and is making progress.
MF Riccardo Montolivo, 7 -- The veteran arguably isn't great at much, but he's good at a lot of things. Produced a steady performance in midfield linking things up, but his highlights were two brilliant blocks that showed his commitment and that there's still life in those legs yet.
MF Giacomo Bonaventura, 8 -- Man of the Match. We've waited a while for this decisive version of Bonaventura to return, and we finally got it on Sunday. Hopefully it's just the start of a good run of form from him, but he looked a bit more energetic, had more ideas on the ball, and scored two crucial goals.
FW Suso, 6 -- Always inventive and willing to try to make something happen, but nothing much of note came off for him. Inconsistency continues to be his biggest enemy, as we know he can be much better.
FW Nikola Kalinic, 5 -- Credit is due for the assist for Bonaventura's first goal, but aside from that, his first touch and link up play often let him down. Better than recent weeks as he looked lively and had his moments, but an otherwise average performance while it could be argued he was isolated at times too.
FW Fabio Borini, 6 -- Never stops running, and continues to show his versatility by playing in various positions. Started on the left flank, finished as a right wing-back in the second half, and grabbed an assist with the delivery for the winning goal.
FW Patrick Cutrone, 6 -- Provided the team and the San Siro faithful with a lift as he chased down everything and did well in helping to see out the game.
FW Andre Silva, 5 -- Was always going to be difficult to get up to the speed of the game in such a short space of time. Showed glimpses, but didn't do as much as Cutrone off the bench.
DF Davide Calabria, N/A -- Brought on to add a bit more solidity on the right side after Borini picked up a knock in the latter stages.
Sumeet Paul covers AC Milan for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @SP_Calcio.