Jose Mourinho defends management of Mohamed Salah during Chelsea tenure
Jose Mourinho claims the decision to sell Mohamed Salah was Chelsea’s rather than his own – and defended his management of the Egyptian at Stamford Bridge.
Salah joined Chelsea for £11m from Basel in January 2014 after he impressed Mourinho in two Champions League matches against the Blues, but was limited to only 19 appearances before loans at Fiorentina and Roma, which eventually became a permanent switch.
Since arriving at Liverpool for £34m in June 2017, Salah has established himself as one of Europe’s leading forward players, reaching the Champions League final last year and spearheading the Reds’ league title charge this term.
Lots of things have been told that are not true. People try to identify me with the coach that sold Salah; I am the coach that bought Salah. It’s completely the wrong idea.
Jose Mourinho on Mohammed Salah
“When the club decided to sell him, it was not me. I bought him, I didn’t sell him, and my relationship with him was good, is good,” he told beIN SPORTS.
“I think that he doesn’t regret that move because everything went well. Everything went well for him and the progression went well for him but, at that moment, he was just a kid with a huge desire to play every week, every minute and we couldn’t give him it.”
Mourinho believes the notion that he failed to get the best out of Salah is flawed and added he “fell in love” with the player before his arrival.
He added: “Lots of things have been told that are not true. People try to identify me with the coach that sold Salah; I am the coach that bought Salah. It’s completely the wrong idea.
“I played against Basel in the Champions League. Salah was a kid in Basel. When I play against a certain team, I analyse the team and the players for quite a long time and I fell in love with that kid. I bought the kid.
“I pushed the club to buy him and, at the time, we already had fantastic attacking players – [Eden] Hazard, Willian – we had top talent there. But I told [Chelsea] to buy that kid.
“He was more a winger coming inside more than a striker like he is now.”
Mourinho, who is out of management following his sacking as Manchester United boss last month, cited Salah’s desire for greater game time, amid competition for places, as a fundamental factor for his short-lived stay in London.
“He was just a lost kid in London. He was a lost kid in a new world and we wanted to work him to become better and better and better but he was more in the idea that he wanted to play and not to wait.
“So we decided to put him on loan. To put him on loan in a culture that I knew well – Italy, tactical football, physical football, good place to play. Fiorentina is a good team, without being a team with huge pressure playing for the title and we decided that move there.”