Milan: Gennaro Gattuso revealed his "incredible shame" after Saturday's humiliating 1-0 defeat to Benevento at the San Siro saw AC Milan become the first team to fail to beat the tailenders this season.
Pietro Iemmello's 29th-minute strike earned the club from outside Naples a first ever away victory in Serie A, delaying their probable demotion after just one season in the top flight.
It was a double blow for Gattuso whose first game as Milan coach last December had ended in a 2-2 draw at Benevento when goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli scored an injury-time equaliser.
Milan have now gone five games without a win with their Europa League hopes threatened.
"I told the lads that I feel an incredible shame. We have written a page that is not very beautiful in the history of Milan," said an angry Gattuso.
"Several players were embarrassing."
The 40-year-old former Italy and Milan midfielder ordered everyone back training at Milanello on Sunday.
"I take responsibility," he insisted.
"When you play against a team like Benevento, who play good football even if they are bottom of the table, you can't play without determination or soul.
"We don't even need the opponents to do anything extraordinary to beat us. We basically tickle the opposition, we don't hurt them."
Franck Kessie came closest to an equaliser on the hour mark when he rattled the crossbar, with Patrick Cutrone also heading wide on 74 minutes.
Benevento's top scorer Cheick Diabate came on in place of Iemmello after an hour but was sent off ten minutes before the end for two yellow cards.
But still Milan could not take advantage of their extra man, becoming the first team to fail to beat Benevento this season.
Already out of Champions League contention, sixth-placed Milan's Europa League berth is now under threat with Atalanta two points behind before playing Torino on Sunday.
"We have to apologise to the fans. We are ashamed of this game, but we must not let ourselves be overcome with despair," said Milan sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli.
'The joke of Italy'
Benevento club president Oreste Vigorito wept with joy in the stands at the San Siro after a fifth win of the campaign and first away.
However, coach Roberto De Zerbi said he regretted that the team were just beginning to show their true worth as they are 12 points from safety with five games to play.
"Benevento were the joke of Italy and he (Vigorito) felt the pain of that," said De Zerbi.
"This victory is very emotional, because it was a year of great mental and physical suffering.
"Winning at San Siro might not help us climb the table, but it will remain in the history of Benevento.
"It's a wonderful evening, for all we suffered through this season, and I'll never forget it.
"There are so many reasons why we failed to pick up points earlier, from banal errors to the fact we brought in so many important players in January.
"I will always regret not being able to work with this team from the start of the season," he added.
De Zerbi was hired to replace Marco Baroni in late October, but after setting a European record by losing 14 Serie A games in a row, Benevento did not get their first point in Serie A until the draw against Milan on 3 December.
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Updated Date: Apr 22, 2018 12:41:15 IST