AC Milan centre-back Fikayo Tomori has reflected on a very memorable season for him on the day he became a permanent signing for the Rossoneri.
Tomori’s permanent signing was announced earlier today and it is certainly a very fitting example of the concept that hard work pays off. The English defender not only proved to be a great professional during his loan spell, but also became an immovable member of the starting XI.
Milan agreed a €28m option to buy as part of the deal that saw him join from Chelsea and he repaid that faith with some outstanding defensive statistics: 99 balls recovered, 20 clearances, 28 tackles, 60 blocks, 63 duels won and not a single booking. Then, of course, there is the memorable first goal away against Juventus.
Tomori spoke to Milan’s official Twitch channel to discuss his move while currently away on his summer holiday, with his comments transcribed by MilanNews and translated below.
How would you judge your first few months with the Rossoneri?
“I loved every minute, I arrived when the team was leading. Everyone helped me, the season was very good, returning to the Champions League is very important, it was our goal. I’m happy to be a Milan player.”
What are Milan’s targets and what are your personal goals next year?
“We arrived in the Champions League and we are happy, we want to give continuity to this. But we are at Milan, we have to fight for the trophies. We finished the season in second place, now we want to see if we can close the gap and try to win the championship. We will try to have a good Champions League. We came close to winning the Scudetto, now we will try to do it. We also want to make a good run in the Coppa Italia.”
In January, did you think everything would go so well and that you would fit so well into the team?
“Since I talked to Maldini and Massara I knew that expectations would be high, so I should have done my best. Everyone helped me, since I arrived here I understood that I would only have the opportunity to be a starter if I gave my all.”
What do you think was the quality you improved the most this year?
“Reading the game. Everyone knows that defense is very important in Italy. Mister Pioli immediately told me what to do and where he wanted me on the pitch. I feel I have improved a lot as a player, and that has encouraged me even more to come back here and improve. Now I’m here, I’m officially a Milan player, I want to give continuity to what has been shown and demonstrate even more.”
You are a fundamental pivot in Stefano Pioli’s quick transition, which is present in the club at all levels…
“Thanks for the compliment. I believe these are my qualities, since I have been here I have learned a lot, I have learned not to rely only on my speed but also to improve my positioning. I thank the club for believing in me, for giving me the opportunity to play and improve. I want to improve further, the way the team plays is good for everyone.”
On the match against Juventus, his goal and the send-off from the fans in Milano…
“Young and brave is the best way to describe us. I knew that it would be an important match against Juventus. In the morning at Milanello I saw a lot of fans, I’ve never seen such a thing. Deep inside I thought we should have gone to Turin to win. We were all supposed to be lions and we were.
“Going to Turin, scoring 3 goals, not conceding… it was very important for our journey towards the Champions League. It was a memorable match. It was a really nice day, again regarding the video with Mauro Suma’s commentary (laughs).”
How are you in Italy, and how is life in Milan?
“At the beginning it was difficult for the pandemic, to get from London where everything is super fast. Here everything seemed much calmer. The passion of the fans on the other hand is incredible, I like it a lot. In London there are 6-7 teams, here in Milan only two and you understand that. When there is this passion it pushes you to play better and win for them.”
On Simon Kjaer’s words this morning about what happened to Eriksen…
“From those phrases we understand that he is a leader. You see from what happened to Eriksen and how he behaved, you can see what kind of person he is. When there is something to say he says it, he is calm and always tries to help everyone. He is a leader, on and off the pitch. Playing with him is great, we are happy to have him. All the teams would need like him, it is very important to have him side by side on and off the pitch.”
Finally, a message to the fans: “Hello Milan fans, I’m very happy to be a Milan player. Thank you very much for all the messages, I hope to see you again at San Siro soon.”