Bakayoko: “Staying at Milan is my dream, the relationship with Gattuso is perfect, Biglia and I can play together”

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Tiémoué Bakayoko before Milan-SPAL at Stadio San Siro on December 29, 2018. (@acmilan.com)
Tiémoué Bakayoko before Milan-SPAL at Stadio San Siro on December 29, 2018. (@acmilan.com)

Tiémoué Bakayoko has given an extensive interview to il Corriere dello Sport, discussing the start at Milan and his objectives going forward.

Bakayoko is without a doubt the player that has improved the most since the beginning of the season: after a very disappointing start, the Frenchman has conquered a place in the starting XI and has become one of the most important players in the set-up of Rino Gattuso.

“If I thought that in January I’d be a cornerstone of this Milan after my debut against Napoli at the end of August, as Gattuso ‘rejected’ me as a central midfielder? After those words I was not well and I wasn’t happy… I felt challenged in what is my position on the pitch,” the 24-year-old told il Corriere dello Sport. “With the coach, however, I didn’t even talk about it, I thought about working and resting. I know myself and I know what my qualities are: I was convinced that by training hard, the satisfactions would come.

Tiémoué Bakayoko celebrating at the end of Genoa-Milan at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on January 21, 2019. (@acmilan.com)
Tiémoué Bakayoko celebrating at the end of Genoa-Milan at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on January 21, 2019. (@acmilan.com)

“If I ever thought that I was wrong saying ‘yes’ to Milan? No, never. In my short career not everything has gone well for me. Sometimes the start of an adventure at a new club is difficult: it happened at both Monaco and Chelsea and for this I was not surprised that the story repeated itself at Milan.

“I needed time to adapt, but then… How much did I improve compared to the start? I’m surer. I have more confidence in myself and I feel more comfortable. Plus, I know my teammates better and they know me better. I’ve worked hard and I’ve always tried to do my best for the team. Things are going the way I wanted and I’m better than in the first three months.

Tiémoué Bakayoko before Udinese-Milan at Stadio Friuli on November 4, 2018. (@acmilan.com)
Tiémoué Bakayoko before Udinese-Milan at Stadio Friuli on November 4, 2018. (@acmilan.com)

“I played a game well and from then on I got more and more confidence. From the game against Genoa, I can’t say why, my feeling was that nobody can stop me on the pitch. Where can I still grow? In football and in life you can always improve. I’ve been here for six months and in a while I’ll be even stronger, continuing to work hard in training every day. If I’ve thought about my celebration in case I score, considering I haven’t scored yet? Yes, but I won’t tell you… maybe I’ll surprise you.

“What has been my best game at Milan? My family says the last one against Napoli, but I also liked the first game against Juventus, when we lost at home. Regret over how we lost the Supercoppa final? In the first 10 minutes we played well and applied good pressure. But then, I don’t know why, we gave them the ball. When you face Cristiano Ronaldo and Dybala, it’s a mistake you cannot commit.

“If I’m more suited to playing central midfield in a 4-2-3-1 or in a 4-3-3 as a regista or mezz’ala? I think I can do well in both the two-man and three-man midfields, and I don’t have a favorite position. I think I’ve shown it in my career and I don’t know why they say that I’m better in two.

Tiémoué Bakayoko during Milan-SPAL at Stadio San Siro on December 29, 2018. (@acmilan.com)
Tiémoué Bakayoko during Milan-SPAL at Stadio San Siro on December 29, 2018. (@acmilan.com)

“Milan’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League? For the club that it is and for its history, Milan must play every year in the Champions League. I’m happy to be fourth in the standings right now, but Lazio and Roma will not give up. If I’m concerned, seeing as Leonardo explained that my buy-out is bound to qualifying for the Champions League? I heard what he said… but I’m not in a position to talk about it. It’s a subject that concerns Milan and Chelsea.

“If I’d be happy if Milan bought me out? Why not? Staying at Milan is my dream, the thought is fixated in my mind, but I have a contract with Chelsea. What would I be ready to do to be bought out? I don’t know… I just want to finish the season in fourth place and then we’ll take care of it.

“From 1 to 10, how happy I am now? Very, very much. The team plays well and in the last 3-4 games we’ve done even better, not even conceding a goal to the opponents. We must continue like this until the end of the season. What is the secret of the great moment Milan are going through? There are no secrets, but I’m happy for our performance. On Tuesday in the Coppa Italia we offered the best test of the season against one of the strongest teams in Serie A and now in the league we are fourth in the standings. Everything is positive, but we must be concentrated until the end.

Tiémoué Bakayoko and Gennaro Gattuso during training. (@acmilan.com)
Tiémoué Bakayoko and Gennaro Gattuso during training. (@acmilan.com)

“What are the best qualities of Gattuso? I don’t know if he has any qualities [Bakayoko says seriously before bursting into laughter]. I’m kidding, I’m kidding… Gattuso loves his players and gives everything to make them train well. His talent is to give love to the players. If Rino was one of my idols as a player? He wasn’t my ideal player… I say this with great respect because he won the Champions League which is my dream, and please do not tell him that [laughs]!

“If I consider myself a leader as Gattuso says? I don’t know… I try to give everything to the team and the fans, doing things by putting 100% because I have a big heart. It’s important when the coach thinks you’re a leader. Who is Gattuso for me? For me he’s the ‘boss’, a great person who’s helped me a lot: in the first 2-3 months when everything was not alright, we talked every day, but now there is no need for that because we understand one another with a look. Our relationship is perfect.

“My favorite Milanisti of the past? Clarence Seedorf and George Weah. What would I say if people told me I seem like [former Milan, Arsenal, Juventus and Inter midfielder] Patrick Vieira? It’s a nice compliment because Vieira was tall, physically strong but also really good technically.

Tiémoué Bakayoko and Franck Kessié before Lazio-Milan at Stadio Olimpico on November 25, 2018. (@acmilan.com)
Tiémoué Bakayoko and Franck Kessié before Lazio-Milan at Stadio Olimpico on November 25, 2018. (@acmilan.com)

“If Biglia and I can coexist, seeing as he’s almost ready to return [from injury]? I’m happy for him to come back because he’s a great player and he’s helped me a lot with my placement. We can play together but whether it happens or not, it will be a decision of the coach.

“What do I think of Higuaín’s farewell? I don’t want to say anything about Higuaín, he’s not my problem. If Higuaín asked me for some suggestions regarding his transfer to London? We talked about it a little, I explained to him that he is going to a beautiful city and an important club and then I wished him good luck… nothing more. If that’s all I told him? Compared to when I was at Chelsea, the coach is different [Sarri is on the bench instead of Conte]. I couldn’t tell him much more because I don’t know what the situation is like now. Things change quickly in a club.

“What was my relationship with Antonio Conte like? Very good. He behaved with me like a father: many in England criticized because obviously they didn’t like me, but he always let me play, he defended me and gave me confidence. I have a lot of respect for him.

Tiémoué Bakayoko during Milan-SPAL at Stadio San Siro on December 29, 2018. (@acmilan.com)
Tiémoué Bakayoko during Milan-SPAL at Stadio San Siro on December 29, 2018. (@acmilan.com)

“What kind of striker is Piątek? A very good one. Two goals on his debut is a nice business card. He has to work hard and you’ll see that he will continue to score a lot, he is fast and smart. He quickly entered the team’s mechanisms. I’m happy for him and we hope that he’ll help us get in the top four.

“What I expect from Sunday’s game at the Olimpico against Roma? Being a direct match, it will certainly be important for the standings: they are fifth and we have to win to get away from them. It’s what you need to do. In fact, it’d be better if we win all the games from here to the end…

“Who would I take away from the Giallorossi? Edin Džeko, because he is one of the best strikers in the world. Roma lost 7-1 on Wednesday in the Coppa Italia [they were defeated by Fiorentina]? It’s not my problem [laughs]… they will certainly be very angry, but this is football.

Tiémoué Bakayoko before Milan-Napoli at Stadio San Siro on January 29, 2019. (@acmilan.com)
Tiémoué Bakayoko before Milan-Napoli at Stadio San Siro on January 29, 2019. (@acmilan.com)

“If I spoke to Kalidou Koulibaly after the racism incident in the Inter-Napoli game? Yes, but what we said remains between him and me. If something like this ever happened in my career? Yes, during my first professional season. I heard some ‘buu’ directed at me, but I was young and I was just thinking about playing. I was not interested in what was happening around me.

“If I heard them now that I’ve grown up, I would behave differently. The FIGC has reformed the procedure to suspend a game in the presence of racist choirs [matches will now only require two calls and not three to be suspended]? That’s right… when we start hearing the ‘buu’, we should all stop.

Tiémoué Bakayoko before Milan-Torino at Stadio San Siro on December 9, 2018. (@acmilan.com)
Tiémoué Bakayoko before Milan-Torino at Stadio San Siro on December 9, 2018. (@acmilan.com)

“What is Bakayoko like outside the pitch? I’m a sociable guy and I have good relations with all of my teammates. My approach to the game is living it with serenity: I listen to music, I relax and I talk with friends. When is my first interview in Italian? Next season, next season…

“My answer means that I will stay? I’ll see you soon…”

30 COMMENTS

  1. Sign him. Sign him. He’s a player who can start for a team that can challenge for the scudetto. He’s one of our best players, we can’t afford to lose him. If we don’t make CL, I’d sell Kessie to try to fund his transfer. He’s a key member for us, he needs to stay.

     
  2. In life , everything happens for a good reason , when Biglia was injured we all started to panic because we had no replacement , few months now and we almost forgotten about Biglia ! Bakayoko is absolutely our best player this season , with Donnaruma coming 2nd. With the consistency rate , they can both be the best DM and GK in the league (they kinda are to be honest) or even the world ( there are only few better ).
    ”After those words I was not well and I wasn’t happy… I felt challenged in what is my position on the pitch” – this actually made me feel real bad for him , this could have destroyed his career if he disn’t have a strong mentality , but then he stated that he loves Gattuso and how he helped him a lot and all and i felt so comforted , Gattuso , tho poor tactically , has some really great values , if he can just improve in tactics , we won’t need no Conte nor anyone , but only ” if ” …

     
  3. If it was up to me I’d prefer Biglia comes fast so he can play with Bakayoko and put Kessié on the bench because he’s the only one slowing our play now but Milan are currently playing like a very very good team and I’m even confident Milan can finish in third place

     
      • At the start of the season I thought Kessie’s passing had really improved. His shooting had never been one of his strong assets. However, the last few games he has not been himself and his passing has detoriated a bit. I would want to replace him just yet because he has been a very good player for us last year. He needs to step it up just like Suso and Calhanoglu, they are all talented and good enough to help us.

         
  4. He needa to lower his Chelsea wages, and hopefully we can resuce his price, but – yes, definitely sign him.

     
    • Why does he need to lower his wages? He is the best player in Milan in recent games. I hope he continues like that.

      Isn’t he worth his wages?

      Kessie was the our champion in the midfield but now it’s Bakayoko. If he chooses to lower his wages that’s his choice not for us to require it of him.

       
      • We can’t afford to start paying everyone 7 million euros a year mate. He’s great, really good, but not 7-million-a-year good. Not yet anyways.

         
        • @Baresis Dream:

          But Milan can afford to pay Donnarumma 6/6.5 million after leveraging the club?

          Milan can afford to pay Bertolacci and Montolivo 2 million and 2.5 million respectively for warming the bench. We rarely say anything about these players irrelevance costing the club a combined 4.5 million a season.

          However, we fans expect Bakayoko who has been insulted by us to reduce his wages (another insult) after showing brilliant performances (physically and mentally) in the last few games?? C’mon

           
          • You’re point is taken, and it is true that players are overpaid. Making financial errors in the past hurts you in the present, same is true for any organization. As insulting as it is, you cannot just make money materialize.

             
  5. I had immense doubts about him (justified by his early performances!). But now he is turning decent performances and if he keeps doing this for the rest of the season, he might be the smarter choice over Kessie.
    But watch out for FFP. Would be a very unfortunate incident if we finish in top 4 and then handed a continental ban for FFP.
    Keep performing, Yoko.

     
    • I too had doubts over bakayoko. But he has shown me that I was wrong. He’s been excellent. Probably one of the best midfielders in the league. Should definitely be signed permanently. Anyone who’s seen me write has seen that I’ve defended Kessie through thick and thin but bakayoko has out shined Kessie in every aspect. So if I were to keep one it would be bakayoko. Kessie on his day is a beast but he is yet to find consistency. The good thing is time is on his side.

       
  6. He will do well in milan cos I can already see his confidence increasing. Forza milan per sempre

     
  7. Is this blog back alive for real? It will be good for us all. Baka should be bought. Good signs overal for the team as positive things and results are happening around Milan. Piatek scored 2 against Napoli, showing that he is a big game performer also which is a very good sign for us. I only hope Cutrone wont be affected as he feels he deserves to start ahead of Piatek. In my opinion, Cutrone is better off coming from the bench as he seems to score more when he does that. i might be wrong but i hope Cutrone isnt affected psychologically by Piatek’s arrival. He has been here, he has been faithful and deserves to be ahead in the pecking order. problem is that piatek seems to give guarantees already but doesnt look like a game changer coming off the bench. I feel if Cutrone came off the bench against Napoli in the league match, we would have won that one also. worth mentioning also is that we played 180 minutes against Napoli and conceded 0 goals. i hope we keep this form up.

     
  8. I remember how a lot of people were against Baka, and pro Higgy during the summer mercato. I was against Higgy and pro Baka – knowing his Monaco form, but it was a gamble due to how he performed at Chelsea, although one that could be worth taking, especially since it was a loan deal. And man has it been worth it. I can’t think of any DM who is better than Baka, perhaps Allan, but he is a different player. With the calmness and presence Baka has he reminds me of Van Bommel – although they had different characteristics.
    Imagine that Baka was signed as a “vice-kessié”, and now has gone on to cement his spot over Biglia. I dont see how Biglia will be able to get his spot back unless we play a two man midfield, which I dont want. If only Kessié can regain his form then our midfield will be unstoppable.
    Hope we redeem Baka, he’s immense and invaluable to our squad. I love Kessié, I think he gets a lot of criticism, especially this season, but if it comes down to it and we’ll have to sell a player due to FFP to be able to fund Baka, my choice is Baka 10/10 times. Keep it up, KING Baka!

     
    • I was pro Higuain and lukewarm on Bakayoko; I admit I am surprised by the outcome. Bakayoko needs to continue showcasing his dominance in midfield, and work more to improve on his technique.

      But he definitely been great for us so far, no doubt about it.

       
      • Yes, he’s young so he’ll definitely improve. Just looking at him so far this season shows how far he’s come. Remember that in the beginning he was trying to do the hard passes, like long balls or passing that was intended to split through defences, but he’s stopped doing that as often and is now playing to his strengths, Kessié needs to learn to do the same.
        And about his technique, this stat might surprise you: https://twitter.com/MilanEye/status/1091393456461754368?s=17

        If Baka keeps this up, he will have cemented his reputation as the leagues best DM, and arguably one of the best in the world.

         
        • Yeah, he has great dribbling, for sure. But like you say Milanista, he needs to continue to play to his strengths – that is either short or through passes, with nothing fancy in the back. Also, he needs better ball control when under pressure, and more presence in the air.

           
  9. Bakayoko is more a mixture of Bommel/Vieira and he suits just perfect. Pair him with two attacking b2b mids on each side like Paqueta and we have ourselves one of the best midfields in Serie A

     
  10. Just imagine a midfield of
    Paqueta – Baka – SMS/Barella
    I’m so hight just thinking about it !
    With a good LW , we can be unstoppable ! For the first time in many years , we know exactly what spots we need to upgrade , Summer mercato will be reaally exciting !
    Let’s just hope on getting to UCL , with even 3rd pkace looking so possible with recent Inter form.
    Shoutout to Leo and Maldini for the great job.

     
  11. we should play 4 1 4 1 formation now….
    Donna
    Cala/Abate Musa Roma R.R/ Laxalt
    Baka/Biglia
    Conte/Suso Keissi/Hakan Paqueta/Hakan Samu
    Piatek / Crutone
    This formation will give the starting 11 more energy n speed in both wings, also give solidity in midfield during attack n defence……… Foraza Milan

     
      • The cunt, its high time to change formation coz we have just got the striker that we were searching for, now he needs more supply from both wings n from the middle…… if suso/ conte n samu makes good crosses and Hakan- Paqyeta combination supply him from back I think Milan will not face scoring problem…… beside this, this team showed 2 face in most of the game deu to pressure overload….. 4141 formation will also get rid of us from that problem n the team will play 90 minutes with the same rythm……. Forza Mlan

         
  12. Gattuso was the one who wanted Bakayoko and he resurrected him. The form of Bakayoko is thanks to Gattuso. And yes, the injury of Biglia helped him too. But it is Gattuso who believed in him.

     
  13. Haters, disbelievers or low intelligence people can say what they want about Gattuso, but the man makes his players better. Not every coach can do that.

    The man is on schedule with the season target, 4th place.

    All players will go over their limits for him and love him (no bromance)

    How stubborn he may seem, but Donnarumma had a really poor start and half of the season. People, and even I was shouting for Reina. But look at the youngster now? Superb performances.

    It takes courage for a coach to go through with giving players confidence, even when they play bad and play at the 2nd most successful club of the world.

    Yes, tactically he may not seem to be the best, but also he is learning from that. He gets better day by day.

    Forza Gattuso forza Milan

     

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