There was a fair amount of consternation in the press when Gennaro Gattuso replaced Vincenzo Montella in November.
Gattuso was a managerial novice compared to his more experienced compatriot, moving from his position with the Milan youth team to the senior side.
As former captain Gattuso carried serious weight with the squad but there was a general feeling that he lacked the tactical nous to bring together a team of individuals.
His time in charge began in truly awful fashion.
Gattuso’s first game was a trip to Benevento who hadn’t picked up a single point in Serie A all season, inevitably their goalkeeper scored a last minute equaliser to secure a draw against the mighty Milan.
The football world loved it, so much that Bacary Sagna recently took a pay cut to move to the plucky underdogs, but it did not reflect well on Gattuso’s managerial credentials.
His second match was a 2-0 defeat to Croatian side HNK Rijeka in the Europa League leaving Milan fans rather anxious about who the board had appointed.
The next four games saw a win in the league and Milan progress in the Coppa Italia at the expense of Hellas Verona before losing 3-0 to the same team just three days later, followed up with a home loss to Atalanta.
The jury was out on whether Gattuso had the minerals to take Milan forward at this stage.
However, an extra time victory over bitter rivals Inter in a Coppa Italia quarter final Milan derby sparked a revival in the Rossoneri’s form under their former leader, as well as getting a lot of the fans onside.
You owe Patrick Cutrone a pint for his 104th minute winner Gennaro.
However, since that momentum-shifting result, Milan have gone on to remain unbeaten in their next seven games and pick up four crucial league wins.
Milan have climbed to seventh in the table but are still 25 points behind leaders Napoli.
Gattuso has organised the defence containing one of the world’s best centre backs in Leonardo Bonucci, restricting their opposition to just four goals in their last eight games.
Bonucci found it difficult to adjust to life away from Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli at Juventus as he now has to fight for sixth place in the league instead of another Scudetto.
The key difference to Bonucci’s struggles under Montella and his back three is Gattuso’s immediate switch to a conventional back four which offers a little bit more protection.
However, despite the upturn in results Milan are still nine points behind Roma in the last Champions League spot which was a minimum requirement at the beginning of the season.
Especially after Milan’s Chinese owners dropped over £150million on star players in the summer window.
A more realistic target has to be jumping ahead of Sampdoria in sixth and then looking up at Lazio, who are eight points ahead of milan but have lost their last three league games.