EUROPEAN FOOTBALL

Pundits slams Fikayo Tomori over his poor performance against Inter

AC Milan were defeated 2-0 in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Inter, with Fikayo Tomori struggling to make an impact. Rio Ferdinand felt Fikayo Tomori failed to demonstrate his status as a “top player” in AC Milan’s Champions League derby loss to Inter. Last season, the former Chelsea player won Serie A and was outstanding in the last-16 victory over Tottenham. However, Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate has given the Canadian-born 25-year-old only one England start since 2019 – and Wednesday night in the San Siro demonstrated why.

Pundits disappointed by Tomori’s performance

Inter Milan netted twice in the first 11 minutes of the semi-final first leg, and Tomori and his centre-back partner Simon Kjaer had been beaten by Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez’s class.

The AC Milan defence were given little cover by their midfield but ex-England defender Ferdinand told BT Sport: “I said before the game, in the big showcase games you have to perform if you want to be propelled into being a top player. And unfortunately it wasn’t one of those today.”

“One thing I would say is that individual duels, I don’t think he won enough of them. I don’t think he impacted the two centre-forwards with any type of aggressiveness, challenges to really put a marker down at any point. They kind of dominated.”

“One thing they did have was really good balls into them. They had time to get their heads up from either defensive positions in midfield or run with the ball freely to get balls into the forwards.”

“If you are playing good balls into the right sides of the forwards to benefit them, players of Martinez’s and Dzeko’s standards, they are going to make it difficult for any defender to get near them. It was a little bit of that. But you have got to assert yourself in these games. You have to put your marker down early in these games and at no point did he do that.”

Fellow BT pundit Steven Gerrard added:-

“We obviously gave the big build-up to Tomori before the game – all eyes would have been on him tonight. Gareth Southgate was watching him as well. We were slightly disappointed. We wanted him to perform and really step forward tonight and take the opportunity but we thought he struggled at times.”

The second leg will take place on Tuesday at the San Siro, with the the winners facing either Manchester City or Real Madrid in Istanbul on June 10.

AC milan defender reflects on AC Milan’s poor performance

Tomori said: “Obviously we are disappointed. Just the way we started the game, conceding two goals early on like that. First one from a corner was obviously disappointing. And then to concede straight after.”

“To go two goals down is difficult. It was a kick in the teeth. In the first half it took us a while to get back into the game. I think there was a bit of anxiety in the team. In a game like this, you can’t give them a millimetre. First 15 minutes they were good with their pressure.”

“It was difficult but it is only the first leg and we can’t let our heads drop. We know if we play with the right intensity we can put them in a bit of bother. In the second half we were better. With a bit more determination, a bit more anger, we could have scored. Obviously disappointed but we have to move onto the next game.”

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