Fikayo Tomori has admitted he found 2020 “so frustrating” at Chelsea after losing his place in the Blues side and not being told why.
After spending 2018-19 on loan at Derby, Tomori followed Frank Lampard back to Stamford Bridge and was initially a key player for him, starting 14 of the first 20 games in the Premier League.
However, the young defender then dropped out of the starting XI and made just two league appearances in 2020 – prompting him to leave for AC Milan in January.
What has Tomori said?
“I was suddenly out of the squad and I don’t really know why,” Tomori explained to the Telegraph.
“I just thought I needed to work hard. Then I went to speak to the manager and he said you’ve just got to train harder, so I took that on the chin and thought that’s what I had to do.
“Mentally, it was difficult because you just want to be playing and on the pitch, and feel part of the team. And it was difficult for me because I wasn’t really feeling part of the team and I was wondering what had happened.
“I was trying to do extra and push myself more but, at that time, nothing seemed to work and nothing was explained to me.
“It was so frustrating. 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.”
How is Tomori doing at AC Milan?
Tomori was thrown in at the deep end at Milan, coming on for the injured Simon Kjaer in January's blockbuster Coppa Italia quarter-final defeat to city rivals Inter.
The 23-year-old has played four times since, registering two wins, a draw and a defeat.
He was singled out for praise by Milan boss Stefano Pioli after his debut against Inter.
“He can defend very well and he is a smart lad, very focused and eager to learn," Pioli said.
“He arrived in great shape, mentally, physically and technically, and he wants to learn our football as soon as possible.”
Milan play Inter again on Sunday in Serie A, looking to reclaim top spot from their rivals after falling a point behind in the race for the Scudetto.