Corentin Tolisso didn’t play anywhere near as much as he would’ve liked last season, and in a recent interview with Canal Plus (via Goal), the French World Cup winner said he really thought hard about his future at the club.
The cruciate ligament tear he suffered in the beginning of the 2018/19 season put him on the sidelines for a considerable spell and he had difficulty breaking into the team last season under both Niko Kovac and Hansi Flick. Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, and Thiago Alcantara were the preferred central midfielders, and Tolisso was primarily used as a sub even when he had worked his way back to full fitness. He admitted that both he and his representatives were seriously debating a move away from Munich last winter: “It’s true that we were asking questions, especially in January when I hardly played at all. It was the transfer period, the Euro was supposed to be played in June, a lot of questions were in my head. Afterwards, as I said, it was difficult at the beginning, I had this injury and after this injury, I had a discussion with the coach. As for the transfer period in June, July, August, September, I was not wondering, I knew I wanted to stay at this wonderful club.”
It’s always difficult for players to adapt to different managerial styles when coaches that signed them wind up leaving the club. This was the case for Tolisso because he was signed when Carlo Ancelotti was still Bayern’s manager, but then had to adjust to life under Kovac, and then Flick. Of course, he also had to deal with an ankle injury towards the end of this past season after the coronavirus pandemic had caused the two-month break in play.
Tolisso said his relationship is strong with Flick, though, despite not playing as much as he would like to: “It’s going very well, when the coach took the lead of Bayern I played at the start and afterwards I got injured. After January and February were more complicated for me. He made a ‘team’, we played once a week, we won every game by four or five goals, so it’s hard to change a team that wins so easily. After there was the confinement, I had a big injury on leaving this confinement which prevented me from playing at the end of the championship.”
Tolisso worked hard to return to fitness for the Champions League knockout tournament in Portugal and he was pleased to have received some minutes, understanding how well Flick’s starting lineups had been performing since the Bundesliga restart: “I came back with good intentions, I worked a lot, I was able to play all the Champions League matches afterwards even if it was only bits of matches, it still did me good. I was also able to speak with the coach who told me that he had confidence in me so for me, everything is fine with him, with the club.”
This season’s schedule is perfectly poised for Tolisso to make an impact at Bayern. The matches are packed into a significantly truncated schedule, much like the Bundesliga restart, so Flick will have to make a lot of rotations to avoid injuries. Hopefully the French international will be able to stay fit and make the most of the opportunities that Flick gives him, especially now that Thiago is gone and there’s one less central midfielder in the ranks.