Monday 11 November 2019

Bulgaria taunts difficult to take but we were offered expert help - Tomori

Tomori: ‘The manager spoke to us after and said there was help there if needed. It’s just one of those things’. Photo: Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith
Tomori: ‘The manager spoke to us after and said there was help there if needed. It’s just one of those things’. Photo: Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

Matt Law

Fikayo Tomori has confirmed that he and his new England team-mates have been offered expert support to try to ensure there are no lasting effects from the racist abuse they suffered in Bulgaria last week.

The Chelsea defender was called up to the England squad for the first time for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, and witnessed the racist abuse in Sofia from the substitutes' bench.

It was a difficult introduction to senior international football for Tomori, but the 21-year-old is confident that the right provisions are in place for him and the rest of the England squad.

Speaking for the first time since he was part of the squad who almost abandoned their game against Bulgaria because of racism, Tomori said: "Obviously it was a difficult experience. What we wanted to do was just play our football, to win the game, and that's what we did. When stuff like that happens you have to try to block it out.

"We just wanted to play our game and win. The manager spoke to us after and said there was help there if needed. It's just one of those things that happened."

Tomori is one of the group of Chelsea academy graduates who have drawn comparisons to the Ajax talent factory ahead of tonight's Champions League Group H game between the clubs.

But Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard has warned that the club are still a long way behind their Dutch hosts in terms of bringing through their own players.

"We've got a long way to go to claim the similarities, but I think we can take pride in the short term," said Lampard, who is without N'Golo Kante, Ross Barkley, Antonio Rudiger and Pedro in Amsterdam tonight.

Lampard is one of a number of successful former players who have returned to Chelsea in coaching or technical roles. Ajax have a history of bringing back their former stars and Lampard believes ex-players can be beneficial - providing they have earned their positions.

"I think it is a good model in terms of the fact that, with ex-players, you would hope there is a feeling for the club, a feeling from the fans who like to see players who care about their careers at the club," said Lampard. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Ajax v Chelsea, live BT Sport 3/Virgin Media 2, 5.55

Telegraph.co.uk

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