Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has said he only twice spoke to Jose Mourinho during his six-month spell under the Portuguese at Chelsea.
In a revealing interview with The Premier League Show (via Chris Burton for Goal), De Bruyne described his relationship with the now-Manchester United manager as "distant" and said both times he spoke to Mourinho were requests to switch clubs.
"I only spoke with him twice," he said. "That's when I wanted to leave to [move to Borussia] Dortmund at the beginning of the summer, and the second meeting I just said: 'For me, it's better to go. I want to play football.'"
De Bruyne started only two Premier League matches for Chelsea between August and January in the 2013-14 campaign despite Mourinho's reassurances to the Belgium international over the previous summer that he had a future at the club, per the Press Association (h/t ESPN FC).
Chelsea missed out on the Premier League title that season by just four points, and De Bruyne, sold to Wolfsburg for £18 million in the January 2014 transfer window, bagged three goals and six assists in the second half of the Bundesliga season. No Chelsea player recorded as many assists in that time.
The lack of communication between De Bruyne and Mourinho at Chelsea is likely to raise further question marks over the latter's man-management of players he does not favour.
The 55-year-old has come under fire for his repeated criticism of left-back Luke Shaw this season, with some United players believing their team-mate is being "bullied," per John Percy and Ian Whittell for the Daily Telegraph.
What's more, Mourinho's decision to let De Bruyne—one of the favourites to be named this year's PFA Players' Player of the Year—leave for a relatively cheap fee along with Mohamed Salah and Romelu Lukaku while at Chelsea has also been widely criticised. The Belgian joined City for £55 million in August 2015, having created 20 goals in the 2014-15 campaign.
De Bruyne has been the linchpin of Pep Guardiola's brilliant team this season, creating 15 goals in the Premier League and scoring seven times. In the same interview with The Premier League Show, the Belgium international revealed consistency has been the crucial factor in 2017-18.
"My feeling is that I've constantly been playing good," he said. "In my feeling, this year there's not been a lot of games where I've been a little bit down. It's always been a seven out of 10 or sometimes a little bit better."
De Bruyne and Mourinho go head-to-head in the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, with United needing at least a draw to prevent their archrivals from lifting the Premier League trophy in front of them.
Regardless of what happens, one would imagine De Bruyne and Mourinho won't exchange many words.