Belfast Telegraph

It wasn't me who sold Salah, it was Chelsea: Jose Mourinho blasts back at critics

Jose Mourinho has insisted he did not make the decision to sell Moahamed Salah during his time as Chelsea manager, as he snapped back at critics who claim he was to blame for allowing the Egyptian to slip through his fingers at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho's Chelsea signed Salah in January 2014, but he played just 13 Premier League games for the Blues before being loaned out to Fiorentina and Roma and sealing a permanent deal to the second of those Italian clubs.

Salah has returned to English football in the grand manner as he has scored 43 goals and fired Liverpool towards a place in next month's Champions League final, leaving Mourinho with questions to answer over his handling of the winger at Chelsea.

Now the Manchested United manager has told ESPN that the decision to sell the player was made by Chelsea and not by him, as he insisted he should not be blamed for his former club's failure to get the best out of Salah.

"People say that I was the one that sold Salah and it is the opposite. I bought Salah," argued Mourinho. "When they say that I was the one that sold him it is a lie. Chelsea decided to sell him, OK?

"I was the one that told Chelsea to buy Salah. It was with me in charge that Salah came to Chelsea. But he came as a young kid, physically he was not ready, mentally he was not ready, socially and culturally he was lost and everything was tough for him.

"We decided to put him on loan and he asked for that as well. He wanted to play more minutes, to mature, he wanted to go and we sent him on loan to Fiorentina, and at Fiorentina he started to mature.

"I agreed to send him on loan, I thought it was necessary, I thought that Chelsea had wingers... Some of them are still there like Willian, (Eden) Hazard and all those players already in a different level.

"So the decision to send him on loan was a decision we made collectively, but after that, the decision to sell him and to use that money to buy another player wasn't mine. But even if it was, in football we make mistakes a lot of times, so many times some players develop in way we were not expecting, some other don't reach another level like we thought they would, so I don't even think this is a mistake, it is just part of the job.

"But effectively I did buy Salah, I didn't sell Salah, but it doesn't matter. What matters is that he is a fantastic player, and I am really happy for everything that is happening for him and especially because he scores against everyone and he didn't score against us in two games.

"He is a great player that has reached the peak of maturity, he has already lived several other experiences and now has fitted perfectly into the style of play of the team, of the coach and of the club as well. So it doesn't surprise me that much."

Mourinho failed to get the best out of both Salah and Kevin De Bruyne during his time as Chelsea manager, with those two players emerging as the stars of this season's Premier League as they claimed the top two positions at the PFA Player of the Year awards last weekend.

Independent.ie

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