X

Jose Mourinho: Chelsea Sold Mohamed Salah to Roma, Not Me

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2018

Chelsea's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho (R) gives instructions to Chelsea's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (L) during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge in west London on February 8, 2014. Chelsea won the game 3-0. AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK

RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or live services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.        (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)
GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

Jose Mourinho has insisted it was not his decision to let Mohamed Salah leave Chelsea when he was in charge at Stamford Bridge and said he deserves some credit for spotting the Egyptian's talent in the first place. 

Salah's superlative form in his debut season with Liverpool in 2017-18 has left many questioning why he only lasted a year at Chelsea under Mourinho before being loaned out, first to Fiorentina then to Roma.

He eventually joined Roma on a permanent deal in August 2016, some time after Mourinho had been sacked by the Blues.

In an interview with ESPN Brazil (via ESPN FC), the Manchester United manager said he is not overly surprised with how brilliant Salah, 25, has been at Liverpool since his move to Anfield last summer as he now has experience behind him and is playing in the perfect system.

However, Mourinho rejected the idea he is somehow to blame for Chelsea losing out on such a phenomenal player: 

"It is the first time that I am going to say this, but it is another injustice that has been talked about me. People say that I was the one that sold Salah and it is the opposite. I bought Salah. 

"It is the opposite. I was the one that bought Salah. 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...

"Chelsea decided to sell him, OK? And when they say that I was the one that sold him it is a lie. I bought him. 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."

Salah is not the only player adjudged to have slipped through Mourinho's fingers while he was in charge of Chelsea.

Per Tim Lewis in the Guardian, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku were both offloaded by Mourinho.

Between them this season Salah, De Bruyne and Lukaku have netted 55 goals and provided 31 assists in the Premier League, with Salah returning 31 goals and nine assists alone.

B/R Football @brfootball

Mo Salah becomes the eighth player to score 30 Premier League goals in a single season 🔥 https://t.co/4uTozFMueL

Lukaku, of course, is now back playing under Mourinho at Old Trafford, but he was never afforded any real chance by the Portuguese at Stamford Bridge.

The accusation that he wasted Salah and never really gave him a chance—the Egypt international only ever played 13 Premier League games for Chelsea—irks Mourinho.

He may have a point that Salah was not ready to perform at his current level when he first arrived in west London.

But there are likely to be few prepared to give Mourinho a free pass for failing to get the best out of a player who has scored 43 goals so far this season, won the PFA Player of the Year award and is likely to be a serious contender to break Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's 10-year hold on the Ballon d'Or come December. 

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.