What Jose Mourinho Said About Mo Salah's Struggles At Chelsea
Jose Mourinho has opened up about how difficult it was for Mohamed Salah to adapt to English football when he signed for Chelsea.
After tearing it up for Basel in a Champions League game against the Blues, Salah was snapped up by Chelsea for a fee of £11 million in January 2014 but never got going at Stamford Bridge and only managed 13 appearances in the Premier League, scoring two goals.
He was loaned out to Serie A side sides Fiorentina and Roma, the latter side eventually signing him up permanently and seeing him score 15 league goals in his second and final season in the Italian capital.
And Mourinho, speaking in his role as a pundit for beIN Sports, says the Egyptian was “lonely, naive and physically fragile” when playing for Chelsea – a stark contrast to the record-breaker we see before us today.
“He arrived at Chelsea coming from Basel,” Mourinho said, as per London Evening Standard.
“When he comes back to England he has completely adapted to the high level of European football with more understanding of the game and physically much stronger, much more confident.
“When the player is obviously talented, years can change the player for the better.”
Salah returned to England as a completely different player following his £36.9 million move, scoring 44 goals in 52 games in his first season with Liverpool.
He won the Premier League Golden Boot after scoring 32 goals, deservedly picked up both PFA Player of the Year awards as well as the FWA Footballer of the Year. He also came third in the FIFA Best Men’s Player vote.
The 26-year old has dispelled the “one-season wonder” myth with 20 goals and counting this term, but Mourinho has regularly rejected the idea that he was responsible for selling him.
“Lots of things have been said that are not true,” he told beIN Sports in January.
“People try to identify me as the coach that sold Salah, I am the coach that bought Salah. We played Basel when he was a kid and I fell in love with him.
“I pushed the club to buy him. At the time, we had fantastic attacking players, [Eden] Hazard and Willian, but I told them to buy that kid.
“We decided to loan him out to Italy where the football is tactical and physical. Fiorentina are a good team without the pressure of the title. But when the club decided to sell him it was not me.”