AC Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso has criticised loan signing Tiemoue Bakayoko following the Chelsea player’s failure to acclimatise to life in Serie A in their loss to title rivals Napoli, with the coach describing the player as having "defects".
The Rossoneri blew a two-goal lead against their opponents to fall to a 3-2 defeat in their opening game of the new campaign.
Frenchman Bakayoko started the game on the bench and was introduced early in the second half when Milan led 2-1 to shore up the defence for the visitors.
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Instead, however, the 24-year-old failed to ensure a watertight effort at the back, allowing strikes from Piotr Zielinski and Dries Mertens to rescue three points for the hosts.
Bakayoko also missed with a close-range header from a corner with the scores tied at 2-2 and Gattuso made his displeasure known with the season-long loanee, stating that he would have rather been able to call on a more experienced player.
"Bakayoko has to learn how to get the ball," the 40-year-old told his post-match press conference. "We must work correctly. It will not be easy.
"One week is not enough to remove the defects of a player. I would have preferred to be managing older, more experienced club players."
Bakayoko arrived at Milan in August following a lacklustre first season at Stamford Bridge, having originally signed for Chelsea last year from Monaco on a five-year deal for a fee around £40m (€44m/$51m).
The Serie A outfit have the option to turn their €5m loan buy into a permanent deal for an additional €35m if the defensive midfielder ultimately impresses at San Siro.
Gattuso has seen a host of players exit during the transfer window, including Italy international Leonardo Bonucci, who has departed for Serie A rivals Juventus, and Croatian forward Nikola Kalinic, who has joined La Liga outfit Atletico Madrid.
They have, however, brought in defender Mattia Caldara from Juve as well as Uruguay left-back Diego Laxalt from Genoa and Villarreal striker Samu Castillejo.
Milan play their first home game of the season on August 31 when they face Roma, before they travel to Cagliari over a fortnight later on September 16 following the international break.