ICYMI: Gennaro Gattuso and Tiemoue Bakayoko in row over substitution in latest AC Milan match
Written by: Atrayo Bhattacharya
Both individuals expressed their views on the fiasco that took place in Milan's 2-1 win over Bologna.
AC Milan were victorious over Bologna in their latest Serie A game, as the Rossoneri clawed their way back to the fifth position in the league table after the 2-1 win. But the result took a backseat on the night to the drama that unfolded between Tiemoue Bakayoko and coach Gennaro Gattuso in the first half.
The duo got involved in a verbal argument and things did turn ugly soon after that. The issue started when Lucas Biglia got injured in the game and could not carry on any further. Gattuso immediately insisted Bakayoko to replace him, to which the French midfielder shockingly denied and it led to an ugly argument. Gattuso eventually had to sub in Jose Mauri instead of the on-loan midfielder.
The former Italy international and current coach of Milan complained that the midfielder was very slow to react when he was told to go on warm up and eventual replace Biglia in the game. Gattuso was simply unhappy with the attitude and later on calling him down Bakayoko simply abused his manager making things worse.
Speaking to Football Italia Gattuso said, "I asked Bakayoko to get ready, he took a while, so I called up Jose Mauri. [...] I waited seven or eight minutes and he hadn’t even put his shin-pads on.
“I’ve told many Coaches to get stuffed in my career, it ended there. We’ll see, it’s all about respect. The players can say anything to me, but the main thing is that they don’t lack respect for their teammates and the dressing room atmosphere. [...] Anyone can insult me on the touchline, but we’ll meet in a room eye-to-eye and see. I want to sort this out in the dressing room and talk in my language, which I cannot do on television. So we have to focus on the victory and not waste time on other issues.”
However, the Frenchmen who is on loan from Chelsea countered his manger's assessment and came up with a tweet expressing his feeling on the whole incident.
— T.Bakayoko14 (@TimoeB08) May 7, 2019
The Tweet read, "It has been several weeks since I was spoken about the press but I decided to say nothing and to continue working. On the other hand, what happened tonight the interpretation we are trying to give me oblige me to react immediately because I do not accept that I be considered as a player who refuses to enter the field when his coach asks him and who does not respect his club and his teammates."
“By starting on the bench I was ready to give myself 200% even if I only had to play 5 minutes tonight. When Lucas started to suffer on the ground, I was asked to prepare myself in case there was a change. So I prepared myself immediately and I went to warm up for 2/3 minutes maximum."
“Then I am asked to return to the bench. Everything passes I think between 23‘ and 26’ [minutes]. It’s when I sit down on the bench that the coach talks to me in unexpected terms and I just repeat his words. Nothing more. [So] that things are clear, I never refused to come into play and I did not drag to go to warm up. It seems to me that the images speak for themselves. I had only one desire, to enter the field and help my teammates as I have always done and as I will do until the end of the season."
It has been a tough phase for the Frenchman, who was once considered a top talent in AS Monaco. His tenure at Milan this season has been worse with every passing day. The midfielder started out well for the Rossoneri but things slowly changed as he was subject to racial abuse during matches and it happened repeatedly. He also came late to training last week and was fined for it with his teammates isolating him.
AC Milan director, Leonardo spoke in support of the midfielder and claims Bakayoko to be targeted too much this season from every side.
"Bakayoko has been targeted too much," Leonardo told reporters.
"There have been too many things highlighted in public. It must not be nice to live what he is experiencing."
Milan, on the other hand, are out of the top four and also lost out in the Cup semifinals and with their season coming to a drab end it is unsure whether Gattuso himself will survive the axe. However, at the start of the season it was certain that Milan are going to trigger Bakayoko's buy option but now months later things have taken a different turn and chances of him staying at Milan are pretty slim.
Published: Tue May 07, 2019 04:41 PM IST