Fikayo Tomori opens up on ‘frustrating’ Chelsea exit saying Frank Lampard’s decision to axe him felt ‘personal and hard to understand’… with the AC Milan defender still clueless as to why he lost his starting place at Stamford Bridge
- Fikayo Tomori has opened up on his ‘frustrating’ loan to AC Milan from Chelsea
- Tomori, 23, said Frank Lampard’s decision to axe him felt ‘hard to understand’
- The defender was a regular first-team starter before suddenly being dropped
- Tomori said he still does not know why he lost his starting place under Lampard
- He is at Milan until the end of the season with an option to make it permanent
Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori has lifted the lid on his loan move to AC Milan, saying being axed by then-manager Frank Lampard felt ‘frustrating’ and ‘personal’ given their history.
Tomori joined the Serie A giants in January until the end of the season, with an option for Milan to make the switch permanent for £25million.
But speaking about what took place behind the scenes for a player who began the season as a first-team regular under Lampard, Tomori said he still does not know why he was dropped.
Fikayo Tomori (left) said Frank Lampard’s (right) decision to axe him at Chelsea felt ‘personal’
Tomori, 23, said his history with Lampard at Derby made his axing ‘harder to understand’
‘I will always be grateful for the opportunities he (Lampard) gave me,’ Tomori told the Telegraph. ‘Maybe because of our history he thought I would accept it, but from my perspective, with that history, it felt more personal and harder to understand.
‘I don’t know what happened, it wasn’t really explained to me. I was suddenly out of the squad and I don’t really know why.
‘I was trying to do extra and push myself more but, at that time, nothing seemed to work and nothing was explained to me.’
Tomori’s dramatic slide down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge saw him go from starting 14 of Chelsea’s first 20 Premier League games in 2019, to making just two further league appearances in the whole of 2020 before heading to Italy.
The 23-year-old’s association with Lampard precedes his Chelsea tenure as Tomori spent the 2018-19 season on loan at Derby under the Blues legend, playing almost every game.
Tomori said being dropped was ‘so frustrating’ because he didn’t know why it had happened
Tomori has joined AC Milan on loan until the end of the season and could make it permanent
‘It was so frustrating,’ Tomori said.
‘2020, football-wise, was very, very difficult, especially after the way 2019 had gone for me playing games. From being at 100 to literally going down to zero and then not knowing the reason why it had gone to zero, it was very challenging.’
Regarding the Milan move, Tomori said it was all very last-minute, with the defender initially blocked from leaving after being told he was part of Lampard’s plan, to suddenly being informed just hours before the transfer deadline that he could go to London rivals West Ham.
‘It was a shock because this hadn’t been in the conversation at all,’ he said.
Tomori (left) revealed that Lampard contacted him soon after he made the move to AC Milan
Eventually Milan swooped in and Tomori made the switch. He has played four games for the Rossoneri so far, and revealed that he is still in contact with Lampard.
‘Soon after joining Milan, the manager sent me a positive message,’ Tomori said. ‘It was an unusual situation – I wasn’t at Chelsea any more and he wasn’t the manager. With all he had going on, it was a nice thing to take the time to do.
‘I appreciated that. I wouldn’t say there is a bad feeling, it just is what it is. I’ve learned to look forward and I’m stronger for the experience.
‘I’m not saying I’m never going to be at Chelsea again. But at this time I’m not a Chelsea player, I’m at Milan and I have to be focused on here.’