On-loan Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko has opened up on the impact of Gennaro Gattuso after a shaky start to his AC Milan career.
Bakayoko,24, completed a loan move to the Rossoneri last summer but failed to stake a claim in the starting XI of the Serie A giants.
The former Monaco man was under intense scrutiny and suffered a lot of criticism after his first outing with the club.
But he has since become one of the club’s standout performers and formed a strong bond with the former Italy international.
“The first weeks didn’t go so well,” Bakayoko revealed via FourFourTwo.
“Everyone welcomed me well, the conditions were good to express myself.
“Sometimes you think adaptation is going to be quick and that you’ll be able to give 100 per cent right away.
“But it didn’t go like that unfortunately and the fans weren’t so nice to me. My relationship with the manager? I didn’t like what he said.
Bakayoko on Gattuso: "He wanted to pass me this fighting spirit that I probably didn't have. I have now built a fighting spirit here. He's like a father figure. He and I talk about everything – it's great to have a relationship like this with the coach."
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“I’m not going to repeat it, but they were harsh words. Especially after I played 20 minutes in my first game, being tough right away…
“I didn’t like it, I told him and things are better now. I know his character. Gattuso is a warrior-type of manager and man. He wanted to pass this spirit to me, which I probably didn’t have before.
“This fighting spirit, I got it here. He’s like a father figure now. Our relationship is excellent. We talk about everything. Having such a kind of relationship with the manager is great.”