MILAN (Reuters) - AC Milan have extended coach Gennaro Gattuso’s contract for another three seasons to 2021 after their fiery former midfielder produced a dramatic change in fortune at the seven-times European champions.
Gattuso had never coached a Serie A team before he was promoted from the youth side in November to replace Vincenzo Montella, who was sacked after a poor run of results.
He was initially appointed until the end of the season but will now be in charge until the end of the 2020/21 campaign.
Milan made a shaky start under Gattuso, winning only one of his first five league games in charge, but there has been a marked improvement since the New Year with eight wins out of 11, leaving them sixth in the table.
They have also reached the Coppa Italia final where they will face Juventus.
“The management decided to bring forward Gattuso’s contract renewal to reward his hard work the best way before the end of the season,” said Milan in a statement.
“This important gesture reflects the total harmony and empathy between the club management and the coach.”
Gattuso thanked the players for their effort.
“We hope to continue as we did in these first four months. I hope to get things right to bring AC Milan back where they are used to being,” he said.
Gattuso spent 12 seasons playing for Milan, winning two Serie A titles, two Champions League trophies and one Club World Cup, and was known as one of Italy’s toughest players.
He enjoyed mixed fortunes in his coaching career before joining Milan, though it was never dull.
He had short stints at Swiss club Sion, Serie B team Palermo and Greek side OFI Crete before a turbulent spell at Pisa, who were promoted from Serie C in his first season only to be relegated the next amid financial and administrative problems.
Writing by Brian Homewood in Bern; editing by Ken Ferris