AC Milan are already assured of a place in the Europa League knockout round but Gennaro Gattuso said it is vital the ailing Italian side get a result against Rijeka to help boost morale.
Milan are away to Rijeka on Thursday, with their passage through to the next phase secured as Group D winners with one matchday remaining.
But it is in Serie A where Milan are struggling – the Rossoneri languishing in eighth position and 18 points off the pace amid a three-game winless run.
Milan's poor form led to the sacking of head coach Vincenzo Montella last week following an off-season of big spending, the team's hierarchy turning to fan favourite Gattuso.
Gattuso was denied victory in his first match in charge – a 95th-minute equaliser from Benevento goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli remarkably salvaging a dramatic 2-2 draw on Sunday – and the Milan boss knows there is so much to gain in Croatia.
Milanello Malpensa— AC Milan (@acmilan) December 6, 2017
We are ready for #UEL!
Fasten your seatbelts: we'll take you with us on our trip to Rijeka! #weareacmilan
Siamo pronti per chiudere il gruppo D di @EuropaLeague
Allacciate le cinture: vi portiamo in viaggio con noi a Rijeka! #RIJACM pic.twitter.com/hNGWIuUQiA
"The match is important to us, not considering the standings, but on the psychological level. We need an important result," Gattuso said during his pre-match news conference.
"The ones who have not played so much this season will have the opportunity [against Rijeka].
"I want to see desire. It's an honour to play an international competition with the AC Milan jersey, and the players must feel the same.
"They have to work hard and bounce back. Today we prepared for this match considering the players who will be available."
Gattuso added: "I have been working with the first team only for eight days and the physical condition cannot be improved in eight days. It's not a consolation but we have to go step by step.
"The boys are giving everything and showing great desire. I decided not to bring some of the players because they have to recover. I preferred to give them some rest since we carried intense training sessions, both, yesterday and today [Wednesday].
"I expect to see the players with desire. The average age of this team is 21, yet, I want to see a sense of belonging. We can't give the impression of being afraid of winning."
"We know we have to improve," he continued. "Some of the signings have not yet reached their full potential, [Franck] Kessie and [Nikola] Kalinic for instance. They are not playing as well as last year but we are all working hard to step up and I am positive we will get there."
|No passports required - Burnley´s 51-year wait for European tie sees Clarets draw... Aberdeen|
|Huddersfield bring in Bacuna to boost midfield|
|Forget the GOAT and the goatee - just enjoy Ronaldo and Messi|
|Ronaldo bearing down on Daei after going past Puskas - The top five goalscorers in international foo|
|Portugal 1 Morocco 0: Record-breaker Ronaldo sends Renard´s men out|
|Halep pulls out of Eastbourne International|
|Brazil v Costa Rica: Coutinho ready for more Selecao toil|
|Muller and Bierhoff dismiss reports of German disharmony|
|Mooy can play at a higher level, says Socceroos boss Van Marwijk|
|Remarkable Ronaldo breaks Puskas´ European record|
|Belgian Grand Prix deal agreed until 2021|
|Isco: I´m not going to speak to Ronaldo again!|
|Slater expects to be fit for Origin II|
|Curran and Overton added to England ODI squad|
|Hussey fears Australia will be left with ´mental scars´|
|Fabianski swaps Swansea for West Ham|
|Loftus-Cheek ready to replace Alli|
|England are a team now - Rashford|
|Lazaridis calls for Cahill to start against Denmark|
|Arzani and Ryan can play at the highest level, says Bosnich|
|Dust (Ja)pan and brush: Blue Samurai fans clean up in Saransk|
|Lodge reaches agreement over New York attack|
|Gerrard can become a strong manager - Arena|
|Arsenal target Torreira has left for €30m, says Sampdoria chief|
|Murray unsure over Wimbledon participation|
|De Gea has to bounce back from Ronaldo shocker - Bosnich|
|Martinez not looking for perfection|
|Farah´s Wests Tigers return confirmed|
|Cubs get extra-inning win to split doubleheader with Dodgers|
|Denmark will ´struggle´ if Australia stop Eriksen, says Jakobsen|
|Astros´ win streak ends at 12|
|Lahm backs Germany, Low after losing start|
|Messi has all our support – Dybala|
|Strickland apologises for ´stupid decision´ that led to broken hand|
|Five-time Open Championship winner Thomson dies aged 88|
|´Positive´ Pogba not bitter towards media, says Varane|
|Portugal privileged to have ´humble´ Ronaldo, says Pepe|
|Strickland breaks hand punching door after blown save, out for up to eight weeks|
|He will have received good money – Costa delighted by Griezmann extension|
|Kane: Pochettino sent me love hearts after World Cup heroics|
|Nationals place Adams on 10-day DL with broken finger|
|Dybala: I can play alongside Messi|
|Lewandowski: Poland didn´t take enough risks|
|England´s Kane aiming to reach Ronaldo, Messi levels with World Cup performances|
|Kicker given three-year match-fixing ban|
|England confirm Alli thigh injury|
|Federer through, Zverev out in Halle|
|Back on the map and earning letters from ladies, Tabarez embraces Uruguay´s heritage|
|Rampant England rout Australia in record-breaking display|
|Pulisic in right place at Dortmund, says Arena|
|Wilshere confirms Arsenal exit|
|NASCAR at Sonoma: TV schedule, standings, qualifying drivers for Toyota/Save Mart 350|
|Muguruza and Kvitova cruise through in Birmingham|
|Leno among top 10 most expensive goalkeepers|
|Pained Salah unable to halt Russia´s unlikely march|
|Kyrgios downs ´legend´ Murray as Dimitrov and Djokovic progress|
|Neymar pain normal – Coutinho unconcerned by ankle issue|
|Russia 3 Egypt 1: Salah strikes but hosts right on course for last 16|
|We must make Ronaldo less exceptional, says Morocco boss Renard|
|Chandimal handed one-Test ball tampering ban, faces further ICC charge|
|Arsenal sign goalkeeper Leno from Leverkusen|
|Mexico style in Germany win surprised Arena|
|Monaco complete €20m move for Lyon teenager Geubbels|
|Saudi team don´t know cause of aeroplane fire, Pizzi reveals|
|Champions League qualifying draw: Celtic travel to Armenia, Ajax face Sturm Graz|
|I´ve never seen a player win on his own – Santos shrugs off Ronaldo dependence|
|Murray impresses despite narrow defeat on return|
|West Ham land club-record Diop signing|
|El Hadji Diouf hails ´perfect start´ for Senegal|
|Cisse and Senegal give cause for African celebration|