Zlatan Ibrahimovic hardly ever hesitates to harangue his younger AC Milan teammates however “it is higher than if he stated nothing”, says Algeria midfielder Ismael Bennacer.
France-born Bennacer joined Milan from Empoli in 2019 and has, over the previous two seasons, grow to be one of many key members of the group who’re at the moment main Serie A.
“Even when generally we see that he is screaming on the pitch, it is higher than if he did not say something, in any other case it might imply that he would not care,” the 23-year-old informed AFP.
“He brings us so much. With all of the expertise he has acquired, he tries to take us to the very best degree with him, he all the time seeks perfection. He provides us quite a lot of recommendation.”
The 39-year-old Swedish star has been a talismanic determine since returning to Milan in January 2020, reviving the fallen European giants.
Ibrahimovic has grow to be an ordinary bearer amongst a brand new era of younger expertise, with the common age of the seven-time European champions one of many lowest in Serie A.
Enjoying alongside Bennacer is 24-year-old Ivory Coast midfielder Franck Kessie, France’s Theo Hernandez, 23, Portuguese Rafael Leao and Belgian Alexis Saelemaekers, each 21.
Regardless of his expertise, goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma can be solely 21.
Milan had been prime of the league on the midway level in January for the primary time since 2011, the yr they went on to win their 18th and final Scudetto.
The catalyst for the revival was probably their humiliating 5-0 defeat by Atalanta on the finish of 2019.
“After this defeat, there was quite a lot of soul looking,” stated Bennacer, who was born in Arles, within the south of France, to an Algerian mom and a Moroccan father.
Present Milan coach Stefano Pioli arrived a couple of weeks earlier than the Atalanta humiliation.
“(Pioli) is aware of learn how to handle the group, he is near us, he all the time asks us if we’re drained, if we’re nicely and so forth.
“(He introduced) that group spirit that possibly we did not have sufficient of earlier than, learn how to put on this jersey.”
– ‘A great feeling’ –
Milan lead metropolis rivals Inter by two factors earlier than their journey to Spezia on Saturday.
However there’s nonetheless an extended strategy to go if they’re to final the space and deny Juventus a tenth consecutive Serie A title.
“If we do not do one thing this yr, every little thing we have achieved earlier than that, since March, can be forgotten,” Bennacer stated.
“We should, for ourselves, attempt to make Milan the good membership that it was.
“It is also for the followers. It’s extremely, very boring to play behind closed doorways. They don’t seem to be there however they observe us, for them we’ve to present every little thing.”
Bennacer performed for the Arsenal youth group from 2015 earlier than heading for Italy the place he spent two years with Empoli, first in Serie B after which the highest flight.
One of the best participant of the 2019 African Cup of Nations received by Algeria, he has simply returned from a thigh damage that hampered him for nearly two months.
“It is the primary damage which took me off the pitch for therefore lengthy, however I’ve a superb feeling about this restoration,” stated the defensive midfielder, whose self-discipline has improved this season.
Thus far he has picked up only one yellow card in 10 league video games this time period, in comparison with 14 in 31 video games final season.
“I work so much on my faults. I used to be a little bit too aggressive, not considering,” admits Bennacer, who has been studying rapidly below the tutelage of Ibrahimovic.