AC Milan star praises Tiemoue Bakayoko’s ‘different mentality’

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - JANUARY 16: Tiemoue Bakayoko of AC Milan competes for the ball with Miralem Pjanic of Juventus during the Italian Supercup match between Juventus and AC Milan at King Abdullah Sports City on January 16, 2019 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Marco Rosi/Getty Images for Lega Serie A)

Argentine midfielder Lucas Biglia has been left suitably impressed by Tiemoue Bakayoko’s change in the mentality at AC Milan

The 24-year-old midfielder arrived at the San Siro in the summer on a season-long loan deal from Chelsea after a disastrous debut campaign.

Despite initially struggling at Milan, Bakayoko has managed to turn things around in Italy with 16 starts in the club’s last 18 games across all competitions.

This marks a big turnaround in fortunes for the Frenchman, who had at one point seemed likely to return to Chelsea in January.

But latest reports now indicate Milan have been so impressed by Bakayoko that they are keen to use their buy option at the end of the season for a fee of €35m.

And Biglia believes Bakayoko has gotten mentally stronger since arriving at the San Siro and has helped improve his game.

“Baka and [Franck] Kessie have improved my game”, Biglia told Tutto Mercato.

“Tiemoue was criticised on his arrival, but now he has a different mentality.”

NAPLES, ITALY - APRIL 18: Coach of SSC Napoli Carlo Ancelotti gestures during the UEFA Europa League Quarter Final Second Leg match between S.S.C. Napoli and Arsenal at Stadio San Paolo on April 18, 2019 in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

Ancelotti is disappointed with Napoli

The manager says his team lacked motivation as they were defeated by Atalanta, and doesn't like the way his team is playing in the second half of the season.

Reflecting on his improved circumstances at Milan last month, Bakayoko revealed he would be open to staying in Italy beyond this season.

“I don’t think anything special has changed,” said Bakayoko.

“I’m happy because I’m playing well with the team. The future? I’m happy here but it’s not my decision, it’s Milan and Chelsea’s.

“We’ll talk at the end of the season to see what we can do.”

Bakayoko, who has made a total of 23 appearances for Milan this season in all competitions, will likely start once more in Saturday’s Serie A clash against second-placed Napoli at home.

Gennaro Gattuso’s side returned to the top-four following Monday’s 2-0 win at Genoa and will be determined to claim the win with just a four-point gap separating them from eight-placed Sampdoria.

AS Roma, Lazio and Atalanta are the other teams in the mix for the final Champions League qualification spot in the Serie A.