Jose Mourinho has opened up on the exits of Mohamed Salah and Kevin De Bruyne from Chelsea during his time as the club’s manager.
Salah and De Bruyne signed for the West Londoners as youngsters, but failed to make a significant impact at Stamford Bridge. The two have since established themselves among the greatest Premier League players of the modern era, during decorated careers at Liverpool and Manchester City respectively.
Mourinho has been criticised for his failure to give the pair enough opportunities at Chelsea, but the Portuguese has refused to shoulder blame for their exits.
The 60-year-old, who won three league titles across his two spells with the Blues, said it was the decision of the club and the players that led to their departures.
“They left because they wanted to leave. They left because they didn’t want to wait,” Mourinho told The Obi One podcast, hosted by ex-Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel.
“Their history proves that their option was good, because they did the careers they did. They reached a high standard. But sometimes, kids do decisions like that because they cannot wait, they do not have the patience to be calm and to wait for the right moment.
“When people tell me you let Salah go, I say exactly the opposite. I bought Salah. I was the one who said ‘buy that guy’. He was going from Basel to Liverpool and I made a war, a fight, to make him come to Chelsea.
“Then comes the time when to be a Chelsea player you have to perform, or you have to wait. He didn’t want to wait, he wanted to go on loan and then Chelsea decided to sell. That was not me deciding to sell. I was saying, let him go on loan if he feels he needs to play every minute of every game.
“With Kevin, it was very similar. We went to pre-season in Asia, and Kevin was to go on loan to a German club. I said no, I want him with me. He stayed with me and he started the Premier League playing in the starting XI.
“After that game, we played Bayern in the UEFA Super Cup and he didn’t play. The next day, he wanted to leave. The next game we played Manchester United at Old Trafford and he came off the bench, it wasn’t enough for him.
“So, he wanted to leave. When you are at Chelsea and you want to leave, go. Another one comes. They were just kids that couldn’t wait. Their careers say they were right.”