Fikayo Tomori was presented to the press at Milanello yesterday and he promised to give his best for Milan.
Tomori only arrived last week but was immediately thrown into the mix due the injuries of Pierre Kalulu and Simon Kjær.
The 23-year-old, who is expected to play from the start alongside Alessio Romagnoli tomorrow afternoon against Bologna, was presented to the press yesterday at Milanello training center.
“The fact that I joined the club and was immediately ready and reactive in the first days? I think I’m very happy to be here, to be playing again and to come to this club in a good moment,” Tomori said. “So I want to help the team as much as I can and the best way to do it is on the pitch and being on the pitch is why I’m happy. Helping the team the other day, unfortunately we didn’t win but it was nice for me to play my first game.
“There were many former Premier League players on the pitch at the Derby and if I felt the intensity and the thrill of the challenges I’ve already experienced in the Premier League? Yes, in a way. The Premier League is very fast and aggressive and things like this. So I know it was a derby and derbies are very intense and emotional, which is good. In England there are a lot of games like this so obviously here it’s a bit different but the spirit and the intensities were much the same and I like this kind of situations.
“Why have I chosen Milan and if I feel the history of this club considering many great defenders played here? I think I can answer both questions in one. When you talk about all the players that have played at Milan – you know, this is why I’ve chosen this club. As you said, there’s obviously Maldini and Nesta, Baresi… all these great players who’ve played here and before I came here obviously I knew about Milan and the history. I came here on the first day and saw the museum and I didn’t only see the history but I felt the history of the club and this spirit of the club and everything. So, I know I’ve made the right decision and I want to come and help the club try and get back to winning Serie A and back to where it was before, and the club is in a good moment now and I just want to experience that and be a part of it.
“If I believe we can win the Scudetto? Of course! I came here and the team was on the top of the league and as I said the history of Milan is trophies, so I think that to be in the position that we are now and to not think about the Scudetto is something that we shouldn’t be doing – we should be thinking about winning the Scudetto and Milan, as I said, I came here and I felt the history of the club and everything, I’ve seen all the trophies that the club has won so yes. I think the Scudetto is always something that you want to try and win and we can’t be afraid of wanting to win it, and we can win it and we have to have this kind of motivation and the goal to win it. I know everyone in the squad is together and has the same kind of spirit to win it and we’ll give our best to do so.
“Which words did Maldini tell me to convince me to join Milan? I think that as I said before, Maldini is probably the greatest defender to play the game and when my agent told me that he wanted to speak, I was a bit surprised but of course when I’m speaking to him – and obviously I know about Milan – and hear about the project and things like this, there was no two thinking about it. I wanted to be here and to experience this club and to be here.
“The fact that Lampard who’s been my mentor has been sacked from Chelsea? Before, when I was at Chelsea, I had Lampard as a manager, he gave me the opportunity to play for Chelsea, where I’d been since I was 7 and it was a nice time there, but I think of where I am now at Milan and am focused on here and now and I want to do my best for myself, for the club, for everyone, so when I was at Chelsea last season that was my mindset and now I’m at Milan and it’s the same mindset. I’m hungry to play well and to help the team, wherever I’m at.
“The fact that I’ve not only changed clubs but also changed countries in the midst of COVID? It’s difficult at times, obviously I’ve come to Italy and I don’t really know much Italian. And when the manager speaks I’m trying to piece together what he says, but everyone since I’ve been here has been helpful, helping me translate and understand what the manager wants and what everyone is saying. So, the transition hasn’t really been too hard and I’ve always wanted to try something new and I know there’s more to life than the Premier League and England and things like that. So I was ready to go abroad and try something different and to improve myself and develop myself – not only as a footballer but as a person. And I know I’m in the right place to do that and probably one of the best places in the world to do so.
“Which differences on a technical level I think I would experience in Serie A compared to the Premier League? Obviously coming here I knew that it was going to be something different to English football. As everyone knows, English football is very aggressive, very attacking and very intense. And here I think I have to think about my game a lot more, which as I said before, is good for my development as a player. Not just playing on instinct but I’m thinking of where I need to on the pitch and where I need to pass the ball for example and where I need to position myself, and I don’t know think there are many better places – as I said – to do that. I think the help that I’ll receive and the advice that I can get this season from Maldini and the manager is going to be very valuable for myself and I just want to try to listen and to put it on the pitch.
“The fact that there have been many young English players leaving to play abroad lately? I think that a lot more people are realizing that there is a lot more to football than the Premier League and England. I speak to a lot English players and they all say how come players from Brazil and Argentina come out at 16 or 17 and English players don’t seem to come out of England a lot, so I think that it’s definitely a positive that many young players are willing to leave England and try something new, and learn new languages and style of playing. And that’s only going to benefit them and the national team as well. Players go abroad to play and it kind of gives you a different view on football as a whole rather than just the Premier League and England and the comfort zone. Being out of your comfort zone definitely can help you develop as a player as well.
“How did I feel from a tactical and technical point of view to train alongside big players like Ibrahimović and Mandžukić? It’s good, as you said, playing with players like Ibrahimović and Mandžukić, players that have played at the highest levels in football, is great. The fact that you see them not only on the pitch but off the pitch, you see how they act and the things they say in the changing room, to kind of motivate the team. It’s important to watch that, to try and learn from them and seeing that personality is something I can learn from. And playing against them, of course, you learn new things and you see ways to defend against the top, top players. So yes, it’s something that I’m looking forward to doing more and to help me improve myself. Obviously I’m happy that they are on my team during the match on the weekend and that’s good.
“How did I feel joining Milan that was founded by Herbert Kilpin who was coming from Nottingham? [Smiles] I didn’t actually know that, so it’s a nice fact. I didn’t know that Milan was started by a guy from Nottingham.
“How did I feel playing next to Romagnoli and if I believe we can be the couple of best defenders in the future? I hope to play a lot of games with Milan, I hope I can have the manager’s trust so he can play me so that I can carve my name in Milan history somewhere. But I’m trying not to think too far ahead, I just want to be here and give my best for the club and play as best as I can. And hopefully the future will take care of itself. Playing with Alessio in the derby was great and even though he can’t speak a lot of English and I can’t speak a lot of Italian, he was helping me a lot and as I said before – it’s unfortunate that we’ve lost the game but from that game I learned a lot and hopefully we can play some more games together and I can play more games for this club.
“What did Thiago Silva tell me about Milan before coming here? When I knew that it would a possibility that I’d come to Milan, I didn’t just speak to him, I spoke a lot of players who’ve been to Italy: Jorginho, Emerson, Rüdiger, Kovačić who played for Inter and I asked him how Milano was. I spoke to Thiago very briefly because his English isn’t that great [smiles] but everyone had no bad words to say about Italy or the Serie A. And he only had positive things to say about Milan and they were all very helpful and made me feel a lot more comfortable and ready, prepared to come here. Not that I needed any more convincing, but it was good to talk to him and obviously he played for Milan pretty recently so hearing what he had to say was very reassuring.
“How did I build such a good relationship with the Chelsea fans and how I can conquer also the Milan fans? I think the first thing that comes to my head first is that I just try to do my best, to have a good attitude and to do what I need to do on the pitch. I think that obviously these messages [from Chelsea fans] and stuff like that is great and makes me happy and fills me more confidence. But I think it’s just me giving my best for the team and trying to stay focused and trying to make the team win games. And as I said, at Chelsea that was my goal and here it’s going to be the exact same thing. I put a lot of pressure on myself to play well and to do the right thing and to be the best I can be. It’s not going to change here and I’m very hungry to do the same here, and more.
“Which other clubs Milan will challenge for the Scudetto this season? We are focused on trying to win the Scudetto, we can’t be afraid or nervous in this situation. We are Milan so this is what the club is built on. But there are many, many teams that are very much looking for the same thing that we are and we have to be focused on ourselves and we have to be positive and try to go out there every game and try to win. Just like every other team that is going for the Scudetto is trying to do. So I don’t think that we can say only Inter or only Juve or only Roma or only any team [can challenge Milan]. I think every team wants the same thing and I think that in this situation we have to focus on ourselves and we have to be strong mentally to deal with the pressure and with the expectation and hopefully at the end, if we give our best, I’m sure we’ll have a very good season.
“Which position do I prefer to play in defense and if I like the formation? I think for me it’s not really important about whether I want to play on the left or on the right, or I prefer this or I prefer that. I think wherever I must play I do my best. I try to listen to what the Mister wants from me, whether it’s on the left or on the right… goalkeeper, striker, whatever. I think I just try to give my best and I think that if I do that then I’ll have a good time here and I think that that’s the most important thing. So that’s it.”