As a player, Gennaro Gattuso made much of his fame as a hard-working, tough-as-nails midfielder who demanded the same kind of dedication from his teammates. As a manager, Gattuso did not change one bit.
He is now commanding AC Milan, with whom he collected most of his many playing career laurels, in a mission to return the Italian side to their former glory. The team added Chelsea midfielder Tiémoué Bakayoko to their fold this summer on a loan move with an option to buy, and Gattuso did not mince his words when speaking of the player’s initial struggles with the new team.
One international break later, and Gattuso remains unimpressed by his new player. He believes Bakayoko has to work not just on the pitch to get up to speed with his role at Milan as a playmaker, but also off of it as the language barrier is giving him some trouble in adapting to the new country.
“[...] I think it’ll take a while to get Bakayoko up to speed as a playmaker. When you come from a completely different league, you need to learn the cross-field passing, to double up on marking and not to just chase the ball. If you’re not organised, the whole team can struggle.”
“He can do it with some hard work, although he needs to learn Italian faster, as it’s not helping him in the locker room.”
-Gennaro Gattuso; Source: Football Italia
At Chelsea, Bakayoko was deemed surplus to a midfield sector suddenly crammed with too many options for three spots on the field just one year after his arrival. From the looks of it, he may be the protagonist of a similar tale in Italy unless he finds a way to turn himself around in these initial predicaments.